Azienda Il Rifugio dei sogni Review – Getting Closer to Wine with a Mom & Pop Vintner


The name tells you a lot of the story. 



Il Rifugio dei sogni” translates roughly as “refuge of dreams”.  It’s what one-time electrical engineer from Italy, Mario Busato, and his Belgian-born wife, Patricia Busato, chose to name their dream-come-true vineyard not far from Volterra’s center. Actually, they have seven vineyards, each devoted to a different type grape, plus an agriturismo hotel open to all, including those who similarly want to get their hands dirty and their spirits high making wine happen. 



In 1997, after 24 years of working in Belgium, Mario who hails from Veneto in the North of Italy, decided it was time to return home.  This was his wife Patricia’s dream too. Their dream was to not just make any wine, but very specifically red organic wines. 



Like many producers we met in Tuscany their operation is totally pesticide-free but they choose not to waste time jumping the many bureaucratic hurdles to get the official organic label. 



Mario is no stranger to wine.  His grandfather had taught him how to squeeze grapes when he was a little boy.  He grew up with all things wine. 



Unlike big wine producers, Mario is proud that he does it the old-fashioned way, meaning he keeps track of the moon and how the lunar calendar is affecting the grapes, among other old countryside traditions. 



Today, he not only loves to make wine but to share his knowledge.  Interns come to Il Refugio dei sogni as do sommeliers, or just wine lovers looking to have some fun. 



(February and March are the only months when visitors to their small hotel or from town will need to be hands-off on the wine production.  That’s when more technically-based pruning of the vines happens.)



Or you can do as we did and just pop in for a few hours to tour the cellars and learn about how wine is made, step-by-step.  The fun continues at a wine tasting in their pleasant yard out back. 



Patricia chooses the wines’ names, and with her art skills makes the labels too. 




Hands down, she also put together the best spread we experienced in all of Tuscany of food goodies to pair with the wines we were sampling.  From May onwards Mario and Patricia expect to host these delicious wine tastings.  You can call ahead to schedule these or make inquiries re: getting hands-on experience with wine making.


Visit the Azienda Il Rifugio dei sogni website and call Mario Busato at (+39) 347 0307450




Photos:  Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated 




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