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Exploring the Wine of the Hills of Bologna


Wine of the Hills of Bologna

Since we are into wine tourism (as you can tell from our blog 😊) a trip to Emilia-Romagna for us would not be complete without at least one foray dedicated to the local wine. We ventured to the wine region of the Colli Bolognesi (the “Hills of Bologna”) with a driver from Bologna Tour.


We visited only two wineries because we spent extensive time touring and tasting at both of them. However, as they were so different from each other I believe they were great representative examples of the wineries in the area.


Many of the wines in this region are slightly fizzy, including the famous red Lambrusco and the white Pignoletto, which both go well with the hearty fare of the region. Here’s what we learned about the wines of the hills of Bologna.


1. Le Casette


The first winery we visited was Le Casette in Castelvetro Modena, owned by the Spaggiari family for five generations. The winery was originally a local dairy farm and produced wine only for internal use. The winery now also runs a four-room bed and breakfast, produces a small amount of balsamic vinegar, offers cooking demonstrations for groups, and operates a small restaurant.


One of my favorite things about wine and travel is that sometimes a trip takes an unexpected turn and creates a more unique and memorable experience. That's what happened here. The winemaker’s son, who was supposed to conduct our tour and tasting, was ill, so the winemaker – who did not speak English – popped into his house and enlisted his 25-year-old daughter Carlotta to step in and translate for him. There she was, hoodie and all (her father kept on adjusting it) as we toured the winery and 100-year-old farmhouse. That was delightful in and of itself.


Then Carlotta asked us if we wanted to learn how to make tortellini. Ooh!


Of course we said yes, so she took us into the kitchen to try our hands at it. Bobby and Jessie were much better than I was!

Wine of the Hills of Bologna

Wine of the Hills of Bologna

Wine of the Hills of Bologna

Photos show: learning how to add filling and roll tortellini, a tray of completed tortellini created by the kitchen staff, and what a finished product looks like with sauce and toppings.


Carlotta then led us through a generous, private wine tasting in the winery’s old, converted cow shed and hay holder. We sampled:


A typical Lambrusco, naturally fizzy 😊+

A semi-dry Lambrusco Reserve, with softer bubbles 😊++

An Italian dry Riesling, which was also slightly fizzy (we bought a case) 😊😊


The wine was accompanied by an elaborate array of food, including tigelle, cheeses, prosciutto, mortadella, balsamic vinegar, and salami.

Wine of the Hills of Bologna

2. Opera02


The second winery, Opera02, also located in Castelvetro Modena was established in 2002 and is more modern both in wine production and in design. The owner, Mattia Montanari, gave us an extensive tour of the premises, including the winery and the vinegar vault. The winery produces Lambrusco using newer concepts, such as fermenting it as one does champagne, turning the bottles every few days and aging them for years. The winery also has a wellness center, a pool, and several suites to stay in.


We enjoyed our wine tasting over a three-course lunch of regional specialties in the winery’s gourmet restaurant: flan with Parmigiano-Reggiano; grilled cotechino, a kind of pork unique to Modena (there was also a vegetarian pasta option); and custard ice cream with the winery’s balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Wine of the Hills of Bologna

We sampled:


A dry Rosé 😊+

A Lambrusco bottled just a few days before we drank it 😊+

A Malbo Gentile, a less common varietal (one of the few still wines we tasted in Emilia-Romana) 😊😊


Wine of the Hills of Bologna

We hope that our experience exploring the wine of the hills of Bologna inspires you to sample the wines of this region. Have you tried these wines? If so what was your impression of them? Please share! We’re at info@winewithourfamily.com.


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