I have been very fortunate to be able to stay at Castello Sonnino twice in the last 4 years. I first visited in 2017 during a 3 week GoGlobal Course on Food, Tourism, and Wine in Central Italy, taught by Dr. Donna Senese through the University of British Columbia Okanagan. I was lucky to be able to return later on and spend 4 months working for Castello Sonnino and learn about all aspects of their beautiful winery and the entire winemaking process.
I lived on the Sonnino property, waking up to the stunning Tuscan hills in the small town of Montespertoli. Everyday was a new adventure, as I spent some days out in the vineyards pruning vines, or picking grapes and olives during harvest season. Other days I was able to work alongside the educational team at Sonnino, which introduced an International Education Center in recent years. The Education Center offers a wide range of courses with both in-classroom learning and hands-on experiences out in the field. During my time at Sonnino, I helped assist in a course that brought 18 students from the US to the winery to focus on sustainable agriculture. I had so much fun, learning alongside the students and helping the professors out wherever I could as the students studied in classrooms, took field trips, and had hands on experiences through their internships.
A lot of my time at Sonnino was also spent working with their great hospitality team located in the Enoteca, the wine shop and restaurant. We served guests coursed meals, gave them wine tastings, and took them on tours of the property. The Enoteca taught me new skills about inventory management, guest experiences, and even fostered my knowledge about wine and the hospitality industry. I loved meeting new people from all over the world and exploring the vineyards and various historic locations on the property, while also learning about their winemaking practices, seeing it unfold right in front of me.
My whole experience at Castello Sonnino was one of growth, awe, and gratitude. I still cannot believe that I had the opportunity to live and work at an Italian winery, all while gaining so much new knowledge and life skills that have helped carry me over to a career in the wine and hospitality industry back home.
My thanks go out to Baron Alessandro and Baroness Caterina de Renzis Sonnino, Jessica Shepherd, and the whole Sonnino team for making my experience there absolutely amazing and unforgettable. Wishing you all the best during these unprecedented times,