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Longboat Key Chamber promotes Tuscany trip with a wine tasting

Gabriele Salvatori traveled from his winery in San Gimignano to provide an authentic wine-tasting experience to Longboaters considering traveling to Italy.

Carl Monticelli, Angelo Monticelli, Gabriele Salvatori, Kim Verreault, Lois Hefflefinger and Brian Harmon
Carl Monticelli, Angelo Monticelli, Gabriele Salvatori, Kim Verreault, Lois Hefflefinger and Brian Harmon
Photo by Petra Rivera
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Longboaters were transported to Italy with a wine tasting hosted by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce.

The event was an information session for residents to learn about the chamber’s trip to Tuscany that it is taking in the fall. It was held the afternoon of April 17 in the garden of the Longboat Island Chapel. 

From his hometown of San Gimignano, Italy, Gabriele Salvatori flew to Florida to provide an authentic Italian wine-tasting experience from his family’s winery estate, Tenuta Torciano, which attendees will be visiting on the Tuscany trip.

“I don’t just sell wine,” said Salvatori. “I sell a little bit of passion, poetry and love. I sell love.”

Most of the guests at the wine tasting weren’t yet signed up for the trip, but after an afternoon of Italian wine and bites their interests were piqued.

Gabriele Salvatori
Photo by Petra Rivera

“When we heard about the wine tasting, we did not expect this,” said Longboat resident Michele De Luce. “We really thought we try maybe three wines and hear about the trip. Sort of like a quick thing, but this completely blew me away. Gabriele is so fun and the wines are absolutely amazing. We are truly considering the trip now.”

Salvatori led guests through a tasting of about seven wines with commentary on when they are to be drank, and what they are best paired with. Along with the wine, attendees had charcuterie bites with cheese, salami, and bread to dip in different types of olive oil that were also made in Tenuta Torcino. Zota Beach Resort’s Chef Brian Harmon also attended the event to make chorizo, spinach and Boursin cheese ravioli to pair with the wine. 

The trip is organized through Jet Vacations led by the father-son duo, Carl and Angelo Monticello, who attended the wine tasting and mingled with guests. 

“Discover Tuscany with the Chamber" will be a nine-day, seven-night trip from October 12-20. The trip spans the Italian cities of Montecatini, Siena, San Gimignano, Florence, Chianti and Lucca. Tours of Pisa and Cinque Terre are options for guests as well. 

Myra Hegmann, Nancy Richards, Deborah Frankel and Patricia Hurd
Photo by Petra Rivera

For those who seek a longer Italian adventure, Jet Vacations is offering a two-night pre-trip tour of Rome and a four-night post-tour of the biggest lake in Italy, Lake Garda.

The $3,479 price includes a round-trip flight, first-class hotel accommodations in Montecatini, deluxe air-conditioned transportation, guided tours and admissions to tourist spots. Daily breakfast, four dinners and one lunch will also be included. Guests will also attend a wine tasting and a cooking class while on the trip.

“As you can already tell, food and drinks are a very important aspect of this trip,” said Carl Monticello. “We're very focused on making sure the experience is highlighted in the culture and meeting local people. We want everyone to get the full sense of the region of Tuscany that we are going to. People have no problem going back to Italy seven or eight times because you go to different regions and each has a different energy about them. It's just a very fascinating place that everyone will find something to enjoy.”

Correction: This story has been updated with the correct phone number.



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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