My trip to the birthplace of Slimline Wine in Italy

We all know the expression – do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot?  Well I certainly remember where I was when I heard I was one of the lucky few invited by Slimline Wine, to see where and how their amazing wine was produced!   The date was 5 March 2018 in the Novotel Hotel in Leeds!

A few weeks before, Slimline had announced 5 lucky winners who were going to be taken on a trip of a lifetime to Italy.  I waited in anticipation as the names were called out!  I was away with work in Darlington, so was sat on my bed praying it would be me!  As the names came out one by one, Stu, Jac, Gaynor, Lisa and Sue, my heart sank.  I was pleased for the winners but disappointed for me.

I still loved the wine and believed in the company, so continued to follow and support them.

They had now started doing a cooking show live of Facebook with Chef Andy.  I loved this as it paired the wine up with some amazing meals.  I would set my alarm on my phone each week to make sure I tuned in.

I was away with work again on 5 March.  The Wi-Fi in my room was breaking up, so I was having difficulty in getting to watch that weeks cooking show properly.  Eventually I managed to watch it back on catch up.  To my complete surprise and joy, Miriam announced live that they wanted me to go too.    If I said I was excited I would be underestimating how I felt!

A group chat was set up with all the winners, and over the next few weeks we would message each other daily.  We were a group of strangers with one important thing in common.  We all loved Slimline Wine!

We were all given the option to bring along a plus 1 on the trip.  Sadly 1 of the group couldn’t make it.  Another winner, Julia, though was added to the happy band of Slimline friends.

If you want to know more about the wine, check out my previous blog ‘Slimline Wine – So what is the fuss really all about!’  (https://bit.ly/2IfbP0A)

The Trip

On Friday 15 June 2018 11 complete strangers met at Gatwick Airport along with 2 of Slimline Wines staff – Matthew Tanner and Simon Palmer.  The only thing in common was the wine.  We could absolutely hate each other or become lifelong friends!

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Matthew Tanner & Simon Palmer

One by one we arrived and introduced ourselves to each other.  Straight away there was an ease about us all.  It was like we had known each other for years!

We had time in the airport so took the opportunity of visiting the shops, before having a drink in the bar together.

We all boarded our 1 hour 45 minute flight, and travelled the 546 miles to Turin Airport.  There, we boarded a large minibus and embarked on the 1 hour 30 minute drive to our Hotel in Calamandrana – the home of Slimline Wine.

Our hotel – Le Corte was absolutely beautiful.  An old farm house, it oozed rustic charm.  As I stepped off the bus, the views took my breath away!    We walked into the courtyard to be greeted by a voice in the distance, inviting us to drop our bags off and to have a drink!  None of us needed asking twice!  The voice was from the one and only Paul Anthony Gidley.  The man on the back of the bottle!   The man who started the company and after a conversation with his partner Miriam, came up with the idea of a wine with lower calories.

Paul & Dan

We were greeted by Sam the waiter serving us a Slim Aperol Spritz.  I’d never tried this before, but I will certainly be having it again.  It’s a mix of Aperol, Slim white fizz and sparkling water.  Perfect for a hot Italian evening and so much better than Pimms.  This is the new summer drink!

Sam
Aperol

This was our first chance to really sit down together as a group and get to know each other.  More Slim followed until it was time to check into our rooms and change ready for dinner at 8 pm.

Our room was 204, the junior suite.  It was absolutely stunning, with amazing views.


Dinner was a set menu, with of course Slimline Wine.  The restaurant had, just like the whole of the hotel, dramatic views.  We watched the sun set over the vineyards whilst sipping our Slimline Wine.  The food was really tasty and plenty of it!

The staff at the hotel were so friendly.  It was like everyone was part of the family.

It was a perfect first evening, and by the end of the night (ok early hours of the morning!), we were all truly good friends!

Day 1

Considering it was a late night, we were all up early the next morning ready to start our tour of Slimline.  Well ok, all except one of the group, who had forgotten to move her clock forward!

The first stop was the factory where the wine is made and bottled, in Calamandrana.  There we met the other important man behind Slimline Wine, Dan Cusmano.  (Photo above).  Dan gave us a tour of the factory explaining how it was made, from the moment it leaves the vines, to when it is bottled.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some videos of our tour on my Youtube channel so make sure you subscribe to it, so you don’t miss them!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOMdWgPgwbfW8MvZonlVbw

What was evident was the passion both Dan and Paul had for their product.  They had spent many months making sure they had the perfect grape, the perfect combination and conditions, to give us what we have today.

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If any of you have tried the white fizz, you may have experienced problems getting some of the corks out!  This was a great opportunity for me to ask Dan about this.  He explained that in the early days, the focus was on creating the perfect wine.  The cork wasn’t one of the main priorities.  On learning our difficulties, they realised they needed to fix this, so new corks were produced.  The new ones come out a lot easier!

The next stop was one of the vineyards.  As you walk through the straight lines of vines, you can feel the love that has gone into planting them and making sure they grow into the perfect grape.

The grapes won’t be ready for picking until September.  We were invited to go back to help with this.  I’d love to do this, however as I already have a holiday booked at this time, I sadly may have to decline this offer!

Lunch was at a beautiful family run restaurant in Loazzolo.  The views from this place were amazing, as was the food.   The lunch consisted of 5 courses!   We weren’t expecting that much initially, so filled up on the bread!  Big mistake!  It was absolutely delicious.  No Slimline wine was served, but we did get to try some other white and red wines of the region.  Equally as good however with more calories!

After 5 courses, a walk was required, so we did a visit to a lovely town called Acqui Terme.  In the square there was a fountain where natural hot spring water flowed.

It was then time to return to our hotel for quick dip in the pool before dinner!

Tonight’s dinner was being held at the home of Dan’s father Raymundo.  His villa was just above the hotel.  When I thought our views couldn’t be improved on, Raymundo’s balcony blew me away!

Raymundo personally cooked us a variety of meats and breads on his BBQ, served with fresh salads from his own garden.  It was such a lovely gesture.  We were so relaxed and had a great time.  This was all washed down with Slimline wine and some great company!

We returned to our hotel to have a nightcap or 2, of more Slimline Wine!

Day 3

Today was a going to be a little bit more relaxing!

After breakfast, we had a quick wander into the village of Calamandrana before heading off to Canelli.  Here, we went on a tour of the wine cellars of Bosco who produce Asti Spumante.  At the end of the tour, we got to try 3 of their products.  I have to say, whilst I loved the tour, the wines are not a patch on Slimlines!

We then retired to a lovely bar in the square waiting for a classical concert to start.  Sadly, by the time our transport back arrived, the concert hadn’t started!

On our return to the hotel, we headed to the pool.  Whilst the boys had a dip, the girls relaxed and enjoyed more slimline wine.  A lovely table of cheeses, hams and breads was laid on for us, with yes you guessed it, more Slimline wine.

Day 4

This should have been our last day!  Today we headed back to Turin Airport for our return flight home!

Unfortunately, due to an accident on  route, we were held up in traffic and so we missed our flight home!  Were we cross?  No!  We had had such an amazing time, we were all good friends, it was no-ones fault, so we did the only thing we could do!  We worked together to make arrangements for alternative flights home.

This ended up being another trip to an airport hotel in Milan, with a flight booked for the next day!

That evening, we enjoyed a drink in the hotel bar, before heading off to a local restaurant.  It was a lovely evening.

Day 5

We all said our goodbyes and headed home.

Thank you Slimline Wine

We had the most amazing time thanks to everyone at Slimline Wine.  We wanted for nothing during our time there.

Paul, Matthew and Simon were the perfect hosts.   Slimline Wine was as amazing as ever, and now I know what has gone into making it, I will be enjoying it even more!

If you haven’t tried it yet, please do!  Its only online at the moment, but will be coming to a Tesco store near you, very soon.

We drank a lot of the wine while we were there!   I can promise you, I never woke up with a hangover once!  The reduced sulphur is an added bonus!

Follow them on Facebook.  You never know when they will be having another competition like this one.  It really isn’t something you want to miss.

When I started drinking Slimline Wine, I never realised how it would change my life!  I can now drink wine that doesn’t give me a hangover, is less calories and has helped me make friends with a great group of people!

What is not to like!

What does the future hold?

Slimline is going to keep growing.  With smaller bottles planned already, you know there is more to come.  Seriously, this is a company to keep a watch out for!

Get clicking on their Facebook page, and be one of the first to find out their new products and deals!

Hot off the press

On Sunday 24 June they are offering our first opportunity to buy their vintage fizz for £9.99 a bottle, with free delivery on 6 bottles ! Having the pleasure of being one of the first to try this in Italy, I would highly recommend it !

Get yours while stocks last ! Much better and cheaper than any champagne you will buy!

Check out my YouTube Channel to see more photos of the trip

 

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