A Friend of Guido is a Friend of Mine

If unrivaled Italian authenticity is what you are looking for in a bike tour, look no further than Guido Rapetti. Born and raised in Piedmont, Guido is as local as it gets for a man about town. He and his family operate their own agriturismo hotel and vineyard in the heart of Acqui Terme, treating guests to unbeatable Italian hospitality and producing exceptional Barbera d’Asti and Dolcetto d’Acqui wines.

As you explore Piedmont on your DuVine bike tour, Guido welcomes you into the fold of his community. A friend of Guido’s becomes your friend, too. From the town watchmaker to the fruit seller on the side of the road, the depth and breadth of Guido’s local connections will emerge wherever you go.

As soon as we set foot on Piedmontese soil, Guido whisked us off into the countryside to meet his friend and fellow winemaker, Graziella. On the drive over, Guido told us stories about the many generations of his family who have lived in Piedmont. He pointed out Napolean’s headquarters and told us how his great-grandfather lost his ear to Napolean’s troops after refusing to pay them off. The very land that Guido and his ancestors were raised on has had a huge impact on shaping their lives. It quickly became evident that the land, its wine, and its culture have seeped into Guido’s very bones.

On our arrival at the winery, Graziella graciously welcomed us in. We learned that Graziella only opens Villa Delfini for two occasions: weddings and DuVine tours. After a quick orientation to the winemaking facilities and cellar, Guido shared that he partners with Graziella to consolidate their harvest and wine-making knowledge. We were quite appreciative that Guido had sought to cultivate this relationship. As we sat down for lunch, our table was filled with countless glasses of local wines, each paired with a different course, including mouthwatering piles of eggplant parmigiana. We finished the meal completely satisfied and fully convinced that Guido was the best-connected guide in Italy.

After lunch we hopped on our bikes to cycle through the vineyard-clad ridges of the Piedmont countryside, finishing the day with a climb up to Guido’s own farmhouse. Heavenly smells wafted out of the kitchen as Guido’s family came to greet us, his dad stepping off a small ladder in the onsite fruit orchards. We wandered through the Rapetti’s vineyards, admired the view from the gorgeous infinity pool, and watched as Guido’s adorable toddler played with his grandfather. That night, we joined Guido’s charismatic mother, Clara, in her family kitchen to learn generations-old tricks for Italian cooking. We truly felt like part of the family.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Guido introduced us to his friend who owns the Morasco Castlea—a private castle atop a hill overlooking vast stretches of Piedmontese vineyards. After touring the magnificent building (which, again, is only open for weddings and friends of Guido), Guido led us into the castle’s courtyard where a lavish lunch spread was waiting for us. The table was laden with local delicacies like Robiola cheese, smoky cured meats, and plump piles of figs paired—of course—with more bottles of Graziella’s wine.

As much as we all enjoyed these connections and many more as the week progressed, what stood out was the reason why Guido was beloved by all these people who valued his friendship.

Although Guido grew up drinking, living, and breathing wine, he is not one to look down on those whose lives have not been blessed by a rich, wine-centric heritage. From knowing when a grape is ready to harvest to drinking a bottle of his finest vintage, there is no question that Guido is happy to share a glass, a bottle, or the breadth of his vast wine knowledge.

It’s because of this that his friends welcome the opportunity to open their doors to him and, in turn, DuVine. Serving as somewhat of an ambassador to Piedmont, he encourages those around him to be proud of their home and creates opportunities to see the region at its best. As the week continued and Guido recognized our reactions whenever he said the word  “friend,” he would smile and say, “Yes, yes. We are all friends.” It is hard to imagine that anyone has the number of personal connections that Guido does—not just in his own village, but across the entire region.

Instead of a group of tourists following our maps and asking for help at unmarked roads, we were welcomed into—even expected at—private homes, restaurants, and castles. We even rode along Guido’s “secret roads,” known only to the locals and completely devoid of traffic. Although we can’t tell from which side of the valley a wine originated at a single sniff, we’re proud to call ourselves friends of Guido’s (along with everyone else in Piedmont).

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