Discover Italian Wine with Eleanor Shannon, founder of Uncorked in Italy

This four-day residential course will be held in a stunning, medieval castle, Castello di Potentino, on the slopes of an extinct volcano in the wildest part of Tuscany. 

Learn what makes Italy unique in the world of wine, which wines and grape varieties define different areas, and why organic, biodynamic and “natural” wines* are the fast becoming the choice of new wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike.

The course begins with a brief overview of Italian wine fundamentals, then, delves into learning about the diverse terroir of Italy’s twenty regions with photos, videos and wine tastings*. 

Leading the course will be Eleanor Shannon, who has lived primarily in Italy since 2004, is fluent in Italian, was certified as a sommelier at AIS Milan, and writes her own blog, 

Meals from the Castle’s kitchen or with Michelin starred chef, Roberto Rossi, will be opportunities to enjoy local specialties and to practice pairing wine with food. Workshops will be offered in making risotto and pasta, making cheese, tasting olive oil, and the art of Tuscan pork butchery. There will be an offsite visit to a Brunello di Montalcino winery.

Enjoy optional yoga classes by the pool, morning walks in the ancient olive groves or relaxing with a glass of wine under the Loggia in the castle’s courtyard. 

Visit the Castle’s vineyards and cellar as well as the Etruscan wine basins on the estate, used to make wine 2,500 years ago (Fall course will include foot pressing grapes in the basin).

*All wines for the course will be outstanding selections from wine made without industrial methods/chemicals so that the wine is truly characteristic of the terroir it comes from.

Fees include:
- Full board including wine, food and lodging at the castle for four nights
- Dinner by Michelin Starred Chef, Roberto Rossi of Il Silene
- Daily yoga practice 
- Daily course sessions and wine tastings (maximum of 15 participants)
- Custom course materials
- Tuscan Butchery demonstration with courtyard BBQ
- Cheese Making presentation
- Hands On Class in Pasta Making
- Visit to Brunello di Montalcino winery
- Airport transfers from and to Pisa Airport

Helena Attlee’s latest book Lev’s Violin: An Italian adventure was published last year and broadcast as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’. Her bestselling The Land Where Lemons Grow: The story of Italy and its citrus fruit has been translated into several languages and won the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year 2015.

Julian Evans is the author of the acclaimed biography Semi-Invisible Man: The life of Norman Lewis and Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific. He has presented radio and TV documentaries, reported from central Europe and written about the war in Ukraine from the frontline.

Saturday 10 September

Arrive in good time to settle in before meeting the tutors and other writers for an aperitivo followed by dinner

Sunday 11 September

Using our senses as a way of expressing experiences and connecting to readers, we explore rooting our writing in the physical
world to bring it alive

Activity: Walking the Potentino valley with a local botanist

Sensory writing Aperitivo and dinner at castle

Monday 12 September

Today is about building skills to commit real people to the page, using their appearance, body language, behaviour and other closely observed details

Activity: Visit to the local market

Free time for lunch in local town

Workshop: Writing people, their settings and voices

Aperitivo and dinner at castle

Tuesday 13 September

We focus on framing a process or an event to make it interesting to anyone, even to those not specifically interested in it

Activity: Local shepherds making ricotta cheese, followed by cheese tasting

Workshop: Finding the universal strand

Tasting the wines of Potentino with Charlotte Horton, followed by dinner with Rachel Roddy

Wednesday 14 September

Today is led by Rachel Roddy, acclaimed author, Italian food expert and Guardian columnist

Activity: Learning to make pasta with Rachel in Potentino’s 13th-century kitchen

Lunch is home-made pasta –
of course!

Workshop: Armed with our
flour-covered notes and thoughts, we will talk and do three generative
exercises. We’ll also look at strategies for writing about food and practical tips for recipe writing, and to conclude will talk about how to find a sustainable, enjoyable writing process and how to balance messy creativity with structure, form – and dinner

Feedback session with Rachel, Helena and Julian

Aperitivo and ‘Getting published’, a question-and-answer session with Derek Johns, drawing on his career as an editor, publisher and leading
literary agent

Dinner at castle

Thursday 15 September

On the final day we take you through a series of invaluable techniques for revising and polishing your work

Workshop: Ultimate editing: putting it all together


Free time to work on your writing

Celebration and sharing of your work

Dinner at a local restaurant

Friday 16 September


[We reserve the right to make changes to this timetable if necessary]

“Julian and Helena worked beautifully together in creating a transformative learning experience. Taking part has raised my standard of what I expect from my writing dramatically”

“I came to Potentino without an agenda, but I leave Potentino inspired to share my stories”

“Thank you both so much for a wonderful experience. I appreciate all your knowledge, generosity and hard work”

Board and lodging at Castello di Potentino

All sessions with Julian and Helena

Pasta-making Workshop and talk with Rachel Roddy

"Behind the scenes in publishing" discussion with Derek Johns

Trips for planned excursions

Last night's dinner at a local restaurant

What's not included


Transfers to and from Potentino (can be booked as an extra)

Meals on planned excursions


Prices vary by room choice and number of guests sharing the room.

A single person is € 2315.

Two people sharing a room is € 2000 per person.

Three people sharing a room is €1895 per person.

Please note

If you would like to pay a deposit

The payment system asks for payment in full. If you would rather pay a non-refundable 25% deposit at the time of booking, please enter the code DEPOSIT25 at checkout. The final payment will be due one month before the start of the course.

If you have any issues booking

Sometimes, it takes a few attempts to clear the cart if you need to make any changes to your room selection etc.

If you have any issues at all, please contact Alexander Greene

Discover Italian Wine with Eleanor Shannon, founder of Uncorked in Italy

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