With massive vineyards covering an area even greater than the vineyards of Bordeaux and Chile, experiencing life on a vineyard in Sicily is a must for wine-lovers.
But if your gap year has long passed you by and grape picking is not an option this autumn, you can still find out about wine-making, take tours of cellars and vineyards and indulge in wine tastings during a stay at Cantine Virzì, a working winery producing high-quality wine on the Spadafora estate in the important wine-growing area of western Sicily.
Still on the wine front, this week sees the start of the Bardolino wine festival (4-8 October), and with it the opportunity to sample the new harvest. Check out the very lovely 12-room boutique style Villa Cordevigo, set in a 500-acre estate close to Lake Garda, where you can indulge in private wine tastings of the villa’s own wines and some great regional vintages.
For more ideas, take a look at the Independent’s traveller’s guide to great wine holidays, including details of Cantine Virzi.