A journey to the land of plenty.

A vaulted cellar in Piedmont, oak barrels from France, a charismatic winemaker, a marchioness from Monaco and a hotelier from Switzerland with a mission. He knows the winemakers and their wines and tells his guests all about the fascinating world of wine.

MARIO — He comes out of his office in the castle and pulls on his leather jacket. It is cold in the wine cellar. We clamber down past steel tanks into his kingdom. There, in hundreds of barrels – nearly all made of French oak by many different manufacturers – lie about 90,000 litres of wine. Mario Olivero, the master oenologist, is an innovator and a perfectionist and a winemaker through and through. He studies the effect of different slopes on the grapes and of different barrels on the wine. He regards making wine as a challenge, almost like solving a mathematical equation. Asking this maestro one simple question often leads to a complex monologue. Unfortunately, neither my knowledge of wine nor my Italian are good enough to understand the finer ramifications and nuances of his speculations, theories and explanations. But then, in the Orangery, we taste them: the best-selling wine, Alfiera, the La Tota and also the very drinkable Blanc de Noir, a sparkling white wine made from red grapes. Even though I didn't understand every last detail of the how and why, the what impressed me right away: that's what's such fun about wine!

"To judge a vineyard, you have to taste its bestseller,
not a speciality wine."


There is still no end in sight - except perhaps when it comes to the wine itself. Word has spread about the quality and unfortunately Alfieri wines are no longer an insider's secret.

Even though the vineyard now produces 130,000 bottles a year, some kinds, such as the best-selling "Alfiera", are only available in limited numbers. I manage to secure six bottles of the 2015 vintage for myself, as a reminder of my visit to the castle and as a treat in store for special occasions...

PETER — They have been looking forward to it all day. Now the hotel guests are standing expectantly around the large table in the wine cellar at the Sunstar hotel. Host Peter Müller has invited them to a tasting and has already lined up a few bottles. Of course, they include "the usual suspects", the two typical Piedmontese Nebbiolos, Barolo and Barbaresco, and the Barbera that is found everywhere around the Villa. But of course, the hotel director also surprises his guests with a few less everyday, not to say rather audacious, choices.

"Barbera is my friend. It's ready from the very first sip."


The atmosphere is informal and relaxed. The time goes far too quickly. But that's not so bad, because out on the hotel terrace, another treat awaits us: dinner with a view of the Piedmontese vineyards. But which wine should we have with it? After our enlightening tasting session, that should no longer be a problem. I confidently open the wine list, like a connoisseur. The list of about 300 wines promptly brings me back down to earth. Despite the tasting, I am no cleverer than I was before. Peter asks me two questions, then says, try that one. Of course, it's spot on.

Now all I have to do is enjoy it. Drinking, eating and enjoying life. That's what it's all about in Piedmont, it's at the heart of everything. Including on the hotel terrace, where the conversation continues until late in the evening...

Sunstar Hotel Piedmont

Everything you could wish for!

At the Sunstar Hotel Piedmont, you soon feel at home: an amazing location, beautiful rooms, obliging service and a range of activities that caters for everyone: culinary delights on the terrace by the pool, Wine & Dine events, wine-tastings, visits to local vineyards and wineries, excursions to the wine-growing villages of Barolo and Barbaresco.