Welcome to Betty's Wine Musings, where you'll get fabulous wine tasting tips and wine tasting notes, discover personalized wines, and more! Whether you are a wine veteran or just getting started, there’s always something more to explore about the wonderful world of wine.

Exploring Trentino-Alto Adige Wines

Trentino-Alto Adige

Trentino-Alto Adige

Nestled in northern Italy, at the “boot’s” upper cuff, right below the Austrian and Swiss borders, lies the Italian wine region Trentino-Alto Adige. Trentino-Alto Adige is one of the three northeastern regions of Italy. The other two regions are Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto. The three regions combined are called Tre Venezie, which means Three Venices. According to Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, Tre Venezie is known for making “Italy’s most stylish, highest quality white wines, including some of the raciest sparkling wines,…[along with] a slew of fascinating reds.” Continue reading

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Exciting Wine Consultant News

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The Fun Life of a Wine Consultant

As many of you know, I’m a long-time independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, a small Napa winery that sells its wines through in-home wine tastings. While I now have a full-time job to complement my wine business, my wine business continues to be my passion. Here are just a few of the reasons I love being a wine consultant: Continue reading

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Exploring Two Tuscan Wines: Vernaccia and Abrusco


Wine Tasting at Tenuta Torciano in San Gimignano

In this current series on Italian wine regions, we are highlighting a single red and white wine that are most distinct to each wine region. In this sixth installment, we stop in Tuscany, or Toscana, one of Italy’s larger wine regions, and perhaps the most romantic area in all of Italy. Books and movies abound featuring Tuscan escapes, and the countryside is truly luscious. It is not surprising, therefore, to find a vast variety of wine varietals that grow and thrive in this verdant region. Bound on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the east by Emilia-Romagna, another huge wine region, Toscana is also home to Firenze (Florence), arguably the birthplace of the world’s leading art.

So, I invite you to sit back, imagine the tall towers of the local hilltop villages, and enjoy a virtual glass of Tuscan wine with me. First on the menu is Vernaccia, considered one of Italy’s finest white wines.


Vernaccia is the name of the grape varietal and the wine (90% Vernaccia grape), which has been famous since the Renaissance. It holds the distinction of being the first Italian wine to be awarded the coveted DOC status (1966), and 27 years later the even more coveted DOCG status.

Vernaccia thrives best in vineyards based on soils of stone (flint, sandstone). If you detect the word “vernacular” in this grape’s name, you are right; that means ‘local,’ and Vernaccia is enjoyed most locally in its area of origin, San Gimigniano. It is a full-bodied white, with a full floral nose yet dry, crisp flavors tending to end on a characteristically bitter tone. To widen its appeal by increasing its complexity (and possibly toning down the bitter after-tone), it is also processed with oak barrel aging.

I got to try Vernaccia at a wonderful winery in San Gimigniano called Tenuta Torciano. If you have an opportunity to visit this winery, do so. You will love it.


For our Tuscan red, I decided to choose an obscure, little produced, almost extinct grape called Abrusco. Abrusco has been claimed to be synonymous related to the grapes Colorino, Abrostine and Lambrusco. Abrusco historically was used primarily as a coloring agent in Chianti, with her flavor characteristics considered as an afterthought, or not at all.

That is, until recently, when a couple of Tuscan wineries took up the cause of this grape, producing wines made entirely from the Abrusco grape:

    • Ferlaino describes their Abrusco, which they sell under their Tuscan Sun brand, like this: “To the nose it is refined and elegant with hints of humid bark, moss, berries and black pepper, spicy. The taste evolves around good acidity that is well balanced with the extract and the alcohol. Well-rounded tannins emerge from pleasing aromas of wild red fruits. Closes with lots of energy and a slight nervousness.”

Le Tre Stelle’s Agino Label

  • Le Tre Stelle’s Abrusco, named Agino, is included in the winery’s “Adopt a vine” program, which is “an awareness campaign aimed at restoring and saving an old Tuscan vine red berry” that was discovered on their old vineyard. Apparently, University of Pisa has taken a lot of interest in the finding and has helped them with their production.

If you’ve tried Vernaccia or Abrusco, please let us know.




As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home

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Exploring Wines from Umbria

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In this series on Italian wine regions, we are highlighting a single red and white varietal that are most distinct to each wine region. In this fifth installment, we stop in Umbria, which is nestled in the center of Italy and referred to as “the green heart of Italy.” Continue reading

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