FOCUS

Dear Robertson Wine Tour's Client,

Firstly thank you for trusting us with your vacation time. I am thrilled I am going to get to travel with you both in what I would consider the most exciting region for food and wine in Italy and I am going to look forward to showing you the best of the island. As I have said I will certainly be giving you plenty of your own time to enjoy lunches and dinners and not get in your way as traveling intensely over nine days I do not want you to get fatigued of Tim. The tour will have me as the tour director and we will have specialist guides jump on and off the tour as we need them. We will visit the city of Syracuse and its amazing island of Ortigia. We then move on to the famed late baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa, the mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale and Palermo.

Taormina, where we will base ourselves for the first four nights, has one of the most privileged views over the bay of Naxos and Etna. You can just lose yourself in the view with a wine for hours. The hotel we have chosen is the best going: Grand Hotel Timeo by Belmond (ex Orient Express). It is a once in a lifetime stay. I have purposely left the first day light as you will not be arriving into the Taormina until past 11 PM. So I think it is important for the first day to be able to acclimatize so we are just going to have a wine tasting lunch at Benanti and a short walking tour of Taormina for you to be able to understand its importance and history. Please do not let Taormina's fame put you off. Day-trippers hardly leave the main drag and like Venice you are just one turn away from the maddening crowd. We will taste many wines of Etna. As these are generally tiny wineries, they are apt to make last minute changes and/or cancellations so please keep the list of the wineries of Etna included in the itinerary as a good representation of where we will be going, but subject to change. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to taste any other winery throughout the tour. We will meet the winemakers or owners in many cases that is of course one of the joys of visiting smaller more personal wineries. The tour is a confident mix of winery visits, informal tastings, great meals, relaxation and incredible sightseeing.

Now, let's talk about the food. Well it is simply one of the most interesting cuisines of Italy as it has so many influences due to the massive amount of invasions and immigrations Sicily has enjoyed through its history. Expect deserts from Middle East, cous cous, wonderful fish and raw seafood, haute cuisine in some world-class restaurants: simply you are going to eat extraordinarily well. When tasting wines it is important to have a sufficiently large lunch and we have a couple of world-class restaurants that we will be booking a la carte as non-included dinners. I will generally set you up in the restaurants and then leave you to it.

Eremo della Giubiliana, our second accommodation, is a small intimate Knights of Malta keep. It is totally isolated, a very quiet and relaxing stay. There are small but gorgeous gardens and it really is a place to contemplate. English is spoken everywhere and the chef is young and very talented. The room we have chosen for you has a terrace and is a wonderful place to read or just enjoy a glass of wine. We will have a great introduction to the wines of this area and hopefully we can convince you that Etna is not the only exciting wine region of Sicily. In Ragusa you will have the chance to eat in Sicily's most premiered restaurant (Duomo) that is exquisite.

Once we have enjoyed the southeast of Sicily, on Day 7 we pack up and move to Palermo via the mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale. It will be a longer journey today (about four hours in the transport in total), but the journey is broken at the Tasca d'Almerita Winery at the Regaleali Estate. This is the oldest and most definitive of the large wineries with estates in the most important zones of Sicily. It will be an epic tasting. Then we move into Palermo, Sicily's capital. It is a bustling and frenetic city, a veritable melting pot of cultures, decadent and fun. We do not have a lot of time, but we will make the most of it. The hotel is not five star luxury. There is no such thing in Palermo, but Palazzo Brunaccini is newly renovated, well run and you will have their top suite that is large and peaceful. On our last day we rise up to Monte Caputo to the beautiful village of Monreale with is spectacular cathedral and cloisters. Our final winery visit is Ceuso, where we will enjoy a vertical of their top wine and a light lunch. Then we will return to Palermo for a guided walking tour (if you feel you would like transport on hand just let us know). A final tasting of a wonderful small and relatively unknown winery (Di Giovanna) and a farewell meal.

It is fair to say that you will have a fantastic overview of Sicily and were you not to ever return you will have enjoyed some of the main attractions and will have left Sicily with a superb understanding of local wines and you will have eaten incredible and typical food all the way through the tour.

I look forward to your comments and hope this pace and tour sounds exciting.

As soon as you give us the go-ahead. We will start pricing this very quickly. We are also thrilled that the dollar has strengthened so much with the EURO meaning our clients from US are getting a 35% discount just with the exchange rate difference from two months ago.


WHY CHOOSE RWT?


The reason for choosing us is simple: we are wine lovers and want to share with you our insights and the things we love most: outstanding wines with excellent food, great company and stunning landscapes. Our main objective is for you to gain a great understanding of Italy and its people while tasting amazing wines and superb cuisine in the time you have available. RWT has over 10 years of experience and excellence. Italy is a country you can return to often, so let us try to show it to you from a new perspective: through its foods and wines. Many of our guests have been to other great wine regions in the world. Italy sometimes surprises our guests with what appears to be backward technology and time tested winemaking techniques, which seem to be in big contradiction to all the New World's winemaking bells and whistles. It is fascinating to speak to winemakers about their perspective on the wines of Italy, the wine industry and global markets.


Table of contents


Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina

 

Quite simply the pinnacle of Belmond’s Italian hotel portfolio. This is the ex Orient Express Grande Dame cannot be touched for views and the outstanding grounds. Needless to say reassuringly expensive. Gardens and pools all very special. You can use the sister hotel Villa San Andrea should you want some beach and sea action. If there was a negative it would be that the guests tend to be a little snooty.

Website Grand Hotel Timeo

Grand Hotel Timeo Tripadvisor comments

Eremo della Giubiliana, Ragusa

EREMO DELLA GIUBILIANA

Eremo della Giubiliana is set in the gorgeous countryside of Ragusa. The property is a very beautifully restored 12th/16th-century retreat of the Knights of Malta. It is like a mini castle with some wonderful touches. A monastic feeling is set throughout with the famous knights peering out for ancient lithographs. The owner’s son, a renowned architect, has painstakingly remodelled his home into a hotel. One thing to note is that this does really feel like a home (and not just saying it) that has been made into an exclusive hotel. We and our clients have stayed here with great success. The garden and the pool are just like something out of a secret garden. Water is thermal with restorative properties. Some rooms are spacious and full of character, but all differ, each with their own something: antique furniture, woven rugs and dark-beamed ceilings. The style and elegance of the place equally match the kindness of the reserved staff. Food is superb. The chef is young and ambitious. Dinners are a truly wonderful experience. This place does not lend itself to excessiveness.

Website Eremo della Giubiliana

Eremo della Giubiliana Tripadvisor Comments

Palazzo Brunaccini, Palermo

PALAZZO BRUNACCINI

Located in one of most historic and interesting areas of Palermo with the ancient market of Ballarò and the Quattro Canti Square just a stone’s throw away, we think this is the perfect place to enjoy Palermo up-close. Also staying in the centre of Palermo is the only way to understand and feel the city. The hotel enjoys eighteen rooms and suites in the heart of the old town of Palermo. This ancient historic mansion, originally owned by the Peeress Lucrezia Brunaccini, has been restored and offers all modern luxuries a well-travelled and demanding client may require with soft neutral tones, exposed wooden beam ceilings, romantic poster beds, furnished patios. Most rooms enjoy a great mix of antique period furniture coupled with modern bathrooms and amenities. We like the rooms and suites on the top floor that enjoy the most favourable views and sound insulation. Wi-Fi is free but it is by no means perfect in all of rooms. The only five star hotels of note in Palermo are outside of the city with an almost resort feeling that we don’t want for you. The breakfast is the only food service here and is a superb buffet spread of sweet and savoury delights of Sicily. Palazzo Brunaccini is our choice for Palermo.

Website Palazzo Brunaccini

Tripadvisor Comments Palazzo Brunaccini

Tour Outline & Guiding – Sicily – Wine & Food Experience in Southern Italy – 8 Nights


TOUR OUTLINE


DAY 01: Arrival IN / Taormina / Grand Hotel Timeo

DAY 02: Wineries of Etna: Benanti / Taormina

DAY 03: Wineries of Etna: Frank Cornelissen / Anna Martens & Girolamo Russo

DAY 04: Wineries of Etna: Passopisciaro / Destro & Planeta

DAY 05: Siracusa / Noto / Wineries of Noto: Riofavara / Ragusa / Eremo della Giubiliana

DAY 06: Wineries of Vittoria: Arianna Occhipinti & COS / Ragusa

DAY 07: Villa Romana del Casale / Tasca d’Almerita Winery / Palermo / Palazzo Brunaccini

DAY 08: Monreale / Wineries of Trapani: Ceuso / Palermo

DAY 09: Departure OUT


GUIDING


The TOUR LEADER will be Tim Robertson. Tim was born in the UK and is of Scottish descent. Tim was introduced to fine wines in 1988 when he worked for the Sakagura Wine & Liquor … part of Intercontinental Group in Hong Kong. He was responsible for selling their collection of Bordeaux Wines and other top quality new world wines, probably the best collection in Asia at that time. He never quite recovered from tasting the very best at the age of 18. However, he went on to complete his studies in Economics and Business. He was unable to find a suitably well-paid job in wine in London and so embarked on a career in finance. He decided to leave finance in 1998 to refocus on finding a project involving his love: the wine. He inaugurated Robertson Wine Tours in 2003. The business has grown organically over the years and despite efforts to get involved in exporting he has stuck to the tried and tested formula of offering his clients the best the wine countries have to offer. Client base of RWT is rightly demanding of the best, extremely well-travelled and generally with knowledge of wine.


Tour Day by Day – Sicily – Wine & Food Experience in Southern Italy – 8 Nights

 


BREAKFAST / LUNCHES & DINNERS


In this itinerary we make it clear where meals are included:

Þ     (B) Breakfast

Þ     (L) Lunch

Þ     (D) Dinner


TOUR DAY BY DAY


DAY 01 – Arrival IN / Taormina / Grand Hotel Timeo


Arriving at Palermo Airport (PMO) 

From Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Reception at Palermo Airport with Driver of RWT

Private Transfer to Taormina

Arrival & Check IN at Grand Hotel Timeo

Sleep at Grand Hotel Timeo / Room Category: Deluxe with Sea View


DAY 02 – Wineries of Etna: Benanti / Taormina


Reception & Departure from Grand Hotel Timeo with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Viagrande

Visit at Benanti Winery

Light Lunch with Wines at Benanti Winery

Private Transfer to Taormina

Guided City Tour of Taormina with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Arrival at Grand Hotel Timeo

Welcome Wine Tasting at Grand Hotel Timeo with Tim Robertson

Please Note: Focusing on the Wines of Messina

Suggested Dinner Not Included a la Carte at Grand Hotel Timeo Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Roberto Toro

Sleep at Grand Hotel Timeo / Room Category: Deluxe with Sea View


(B) (L)


DAY 03 – Wineries of Etna: Frank Cornelissen / Anna Martens & Girolamo Russo


Departure from Grand Hotel Timeo with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Solicchiata

Visit & Wine Tasting at Frank Cornelissen Winery

Visit & Wine Tasting at Anna Martens Winery

Lunch with Wines at Terra Mia Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Leonardo Cuscona

Private Transfer to Passopisciaro / Castiglione di Sicilia

Visit & Wine Tasting at Girolamo Russo Winery

Private Transfer to Taormina

Arrival at Grand Hotel Timeo

Late Afternoon Free Sightseeing Taormina

Suggested Dinner Not Included a la Carte at Rosso di Vino Restaurant

Please Note: 15-Minute Walk / Chef Fabio Scordo

Sleep at Grand Hotel Timeo / Room Category: Deluxe with Sea View


(B) (L)


DAY 04 – Wineries of Etna: Passopisciaro / Destro & Planeta


Departure from Grand Hotel Timeo with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Contrada Guardiola / Castiglione di Sicilia

Visit & Wine Tasting at Passopisciaro

Private Transfer to Contrada Montelaguardia / Castiglione di Sicilia

Visit & Wine Tasting at Destro Winery

Private Transfer to Linguaglossa

Lunch with Wines at Shalai Resort Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Giovani Santono

Private Transfer to Contrada Sciara Nuova / Castiglione di Sicilia

Visit & Wine Tasting at Planeta Winery

Private Transfer to Taormina

Arrival at Grand Hotel Timeo

Late Afternoon Free Sightseeing Taormina

Suggested Dinner Not Included a la Carte at La Capinera Restaurant

Please Note: 10-Minute Taxi Drive / 1-Star Michelin Restaurant / Chef Pietro D’Agostino

Sleep at Grand Hotel Timeo / Room Category: Deluxe with Sea View


(B) (L)


DAY 05 – Siracusa / Noto / Wineries of Noto: Riofavara / Ragusa / Eremo della Giubiliana


Check OUT & Departure from Grand Hotel Timeo with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Siracusa

Guided City Tour of Siracusa with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Lunch with Wines at Regina Lucia OR Don Camillo Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Salvo Calleri OR Chef Giovanni Guarneri

Private Transfer to Noto

Guided City Tour of Noto with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Private Transfer to Ispica

Visit & Wine Tasting at Riofavara Winery

Private Transfer to Contrada Giubiliana / Ragusa

Arrival & Check IN at Eremo della Giubiliana

Welcome Dinner with Wines at Eremo della Giubiliana Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Vincenzo Santalucia

Sleep at Eremo della Giubiliana / Room Category: Deluxe


(B) (L) (D)


DAY 06 – Wineries of Vittoria: Arianna Occhipinti & COS / Ragusa


Departure from Eremo della Giubiliana with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Contrada Fossa di Lupo / Vittoria

Visit & Wine Tasting at Arianna Occhipinti Winery

Private Transfer to Contrada Fontane / Vittoria

Visit at COS Winery

Lunch with Wines at COS Winery

Private Transfer to Modica

Guided City Tour of Modica with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Private Transfer to Contrada Giubiliana / Ragusa

Arrival at Eremo della Giubiliana

Late Afternoon Enjoying Eremo della Giubiliana

Departure from Eremo della Giubiliana with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Ragusa

Suggested Dinner Not Included a la Carte at Duomo Restaurant

Please Note: 2-Star Michelin Restaurant / Chef Ciccio Sultano

Private Transfer to Contrada Giubiliana / Ragusa

Arrival at Eremo della Giubiliana

Sleep at Eremo della Giubiliana / Room Category: Deluxe


(B) (L)


DAY 07 – Villa Romana del Casale / Tasca d’Almerita Winery / Palermo / Palazzo Brunaccini


Check OUT & Departure from Eremo della Giubiliana with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Piazza Armerina

Guided Visit of Villa Romana del Casale with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Lunch with Wines at Al Fogher Restaurant

Please Note: Chef Angelo Treno

Private Transfer to Contrada Regaleali / Sclafani Bagni

Visit & Wine Tasting at Tasca d’Almerita Winery

Private Transfer to Palermo

Arrival & Check IN at Palazzo Brunaccini

Suggested Dinner Not Included a la Carte at Gagini Restaurant

Please Note: 10-Minute Walk / Chef Gioacchino Gaglio

Sleep at Palazzo Brunaccini / Room Category: Suite


(B) (L)


DAY 08 – Monreale / Wineries of Trapani: Ceuso / Palermo


Departure from Palazzo Brunaccini with Tim Robertson

Private Transfer to Monreale

Guided City Tour of Monreale with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Private Transfer to Contrada Vivignato / Calatafimi Segesta

Visit at Ceuso Winery

Light Lunch with Wines at Ceuso Winery

Private Transfer to Palermo

Guided City Tour of Palermo with Expert Local Guide of RWT

Arrival at Palazzo Brunaccini

Farewell Wine Tasting at Palazzo Brunaccini with Tim Robertson

Please Note: Focusing on the Wines of Di Giovanna Winery

Farewell Dinner with Wines at Castello A Mare Restaurant

Please Note: 15-Minute Walk / Chef Natale Giunta

Sleep at Palazzo Brunaccini / Room Category: Suite


(B) (L) (D)


DAY 09 – Departure OUT


Check OUT & Departure from Palazzo Brunaccini with Driver of RWT

Private Transfer to Palermo Airport

Arrival at Palermo Airport

Departing from Palermo Airport (PMO)

To Zurich Airport (ZRH)


(B)


END of SERVICES


If you are interested in this tour then please email us at [email protected]
or feel free to call us on 
U.S.A + 1 707 927 4167 or our Head Office + 39 0835 197 1596

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