Course Trips for the Business and Economics of Italian Food and Wine Program

Grace Wolf headshot
Grace Wolf
April 9, 2024

Part of both the Business and Economics of Italian Wine and Food program and the Study in Tuscany program are numerous course-related trips to different areas in Italy. While some trips may not pertain exactly to a course you’re enrolled in, anyone is welcome to attend all of the excursions! 


I have particularly loved the day trips because I am studying wine and food, so getting to visit businesses, meet owners, try products, and more has been invaluable to my learning. I also really enjoyed the trip with my renaissance art class to Florence, and getting to see the incredible artists and techniques we talk about in class in real life. 


The first trip we took this semester was to Chianti to visit the Antica Pasticceria Mansoni and Fattoria Montecchio. Mansoni produces panforte and ricciarelli, both traditional foods from Siena that are protected under law as originating from the area. They follow all of the medieval production methods to produce the fruit cake and cookies, respectively. Mansoni also runs an Easter egg making business in the spring that can be specially ordered with someone’s name. The business is small, and it’s run by a handful of Mansoni family members in multiple generations. We got to learn all about what it means to produce local products with  medieval  methods, and how they have been marketed outside of Tuscany at grocery stores and other companies. 


At Fattoria Montecchio, we learned about the process of making Chianti Classico and Chianti, wines that originate from the Chianti region in Tuscany and are also protected under numerous laws and labels. We toured the cellar, and learned what kind of grapes go into each blend of wine as well as how each type is aged. We had a great tasting of the wines, parmigiano reggiano, and local balsamic vinegar! It was a great opportunity to learn about the wine business and grape farming. 


Our next trip was to Bologna, and it was two days. During the first day, we had a walking tour of the city. It was so incredible to see Europe’s first university! Also, the duomo was beautiful. That night, we had dinner with traditional foods from Bologna, and it was incredible- it’s the home of bolognese!


The next day, we toured two factories. The first was a producer of Parmigiano Reggiano, the world-famous cheese, called Caseificio Quattro Madonne. We watched the whole process and learned how detailed the inspection is of the cheese wheels and how the leftover curd is used to make ricotta. We also had a tasting, and got to see how different the cheese tastes after different aging periods. I personally liked the less aged better! 


We ate lunch at our next stop, a balsamic vinegar production called Acetaia Leonardi. They have a restaurant that makes meals serving all local foods, and the homemade pasta was delicious. We then got a tour of their facilities, and got to try different kinds of balsamic, aged at all different years. The longer the vinegar is aged, the sweeter and thicker it is! The store also sold little bursting balsamic balls to put as a garnish on all kinds of food- those were a must for ice cream! 


Overall it was an incredible weekend, and so fun to put what I’ve been learning in my classes about the food industry and wine industries in Tuscany and Italy and see actual businesses in practice and ask the guides questions. I’m so thankful IES does these trips! 


More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Grace Wolf headshot

Grace Wolf

Hi! I’m Grace. I'm a first-generation, Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying Economics and Environmental Science. I was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, and I am an active scuba diver, yogi, and gardener. 

2024 Spring
Home University:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Explore Blogs