To be able to acquire an unexpected home and winery in Tuscany is truly a fantasy come true. It’s a story that follows the “rags to riches” life of an American with an Italian heritage.


My guest is Gudrun Cuillo, an Austrian woman who was working for an opera company when she met Robert, the American. The incredible part of the story is not that they ended up in Tuscany, but had the good fortune to turn their newly purchased property into a winery that sits near a long abandoned medieval village. What they were able to do with each property is remarkable.

The Novel

After 20 years of exasperating work and the loss of her husband, what does Gudrun do? She writes a fictional novel inspired by what she experienced with her unexpected home and winery in Tuscany, Casalvento, House of the Wind. 

I recorded this interview on June 7th, the day after her book was released. She was thrilled with how well it was selling. It almost makes me wonder what she’ll do next. She actually answers that question at the end of the interview. I found this dynamic woman quite entertaining to talk with, and hope you’ll find her entertaining to listen to.

Here are some links with images that will add to the story: (the village)

Casalvento property tour

Inspired Italy

The Interview


The Unexpected Home and Winery in Tuscany

               Gudrun’s novel



In Ocotber I was invited to a media luncheon that was served with Valdo Numero 10 sparkling wine. I couldn’t resist attending as it took place in one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Sens. It also included a vertical tasting of 4 Valdo vintages.

Matteo Bolla hosted the event. Yes, the same Italian name behind a number of varietals including Bolla Valpolicella. The family split a century ago but Matteo’s family lineage concentrated on prosecco under the name Valdo, which pays homeage to the region in which the wine is made, Valdobeadenne. What’s special about Valdo Numero 10? It’s made in the same style as Champagne. That’s unusual for processeco.

In my interview with Matteo, you’ll hear about the Bolla family, and what makes Valdo 10 so special.

Valdo Numero 10

Click on the photo to see a larger image of the incredible menu Sens Restuarant prepared for the luncheon to accompany the Valdo vertical tasting.