Bouncing over the bumps and dips between the narrow rows of vines in a 2,000 year-old vineyard, perched on a futuristic ecologically-powered vehicle, is a thrilling and unique experience to be had only at the Monte Vibiano estate in the heart of Umbria.
The Eco Tour, launched in June 2010, is the latest addition to the innovations introduced by the Fasola Bologna family on their totally organically-run farm some 20 km south of Perugia. Visitors to the winery are allotted a little electric jeep so that they can drive up to the ancient vineyard under the family castle, a 16th-century mansion built on second century BC foundations overlooking the Mercatello valley, on the ancient way that connected the Tiber valley to Rome. The route climbs up a country track through centuries-old olive groves to the Vigna Lorenzo, named after Count Lorenzo Fasola Bologna, the 39-year-old head of the Castel Monte Vibiano company. According to documentation, a vineyard already existed on this spot at the time of the Roman republic. You can still see, in fact, the remains of a surrounding wall that dates back to the second century BC. The peaceful view from the vineyard, sloping down over typical Umbrian rolling countryside, fields and stretches of woodland, is worth the trip alone.
Returning to the winery, the tour includes a visit to the state-of-the-art cellar with its 36 gleaming stainless steel tanks (with computerised temperature control). The roof of the building is coated with a special energy seal that deflects the sun