ITALY 2019

Eleven Days in Piedmont, Italy

The 4B’s: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Billy!

September 2 (arriving in Italy September 3) to September 13, 2019 SOLD OUT
September 12 (arriving in Italy September 13) to September 23, 2019 SOLD OUT

Escort Services of Billy Munnelly and Kato Wake • 10 Nights at 4-star Accommodation (spa services available) • 10 Hearty Buffet Breakfasts • 8 Wonderful Dinners with Wines from the Langhe Region • One Very Special 5-course Barolo Wine Pairing Dinner • 5 Fabulous Lunches with Wine • Several Wine Tastings with Billy • Private 3-Course Italian Cooking Class • Visits to, and VIP Tastings at Wineries • First Evening Introductory Wine Tasting in Turin • Private Chocolate & Vermouth Tasting • Guided History Walk • Italian Language Lesson • Truffle Hunt • Bocce Tournament • Sparkling Wine Reception upon Arrival • Day Trip to the Mediterranean • Private Coach Travel in Piedmont • Private Coach Transfer to Milan (Malpensa airport) for Non-stop Return flight … and a few surprises! 

“An exceptional all-round gastronomical, cultural and just plain fun tour!”


This will be our 9th tour to the Barolo region in Piedmont – where beautiful scenery, food and wine seems to be everywhere. Everyday! When we first decided to offer Piedmont – as opposed to the more popular Tuscany – it felt risky, but we wanted a less touristy experience, and we’ve always ‘gone our own way’. Plus I wanted to share my love of Barbera, the best everyday red on the planet.

Half a dozen years later we’re delighted with our decision to select the Piedmont region, and with our luck at finding the perfect small hotel, in the perfect hill-top town. The area has managed to remain peaceful and relatively un-crowded – small towns and wineries are as charming as they were decades ago. ‘Going your way’ often has its rewards!

Our stable of Piedmont restaurants and wineries now treat us like family, and make us feel special. With a twinkle in the eye that says “welcome back, let’s have a great time”. Visiting in September we feel the buzz of the harvest with little tractor loads of grapes being hauled in all directions, plus it’s warm enough to relax by the pool or in the sunny courtyard.

Our tour starts with two nights in the classical city of Turin – the country’s former capital, and often described as the ‘Paris of Italy’.


“What a great way to explore the Barolo region in Italy!  From the moment we arrived, we were treated to first class food, accommodation and hospitality. Every day was a new adventure from hiking through a vineyard to dining in a winemaker’s cellar.  This was by far the best organized trip that we’ve been on – well-paced and the perfect group size.” B & H Purvis, New Hamburg, Ontario


You’ll to see the sights, palaces and an amazing hill-top monastery west of the city. Of course there will be an enoteca (wine bar) visit or two, a private chocolate & vermouth tasting, and the first of many delicious Italian dinners (feasts!). On day three we’ll move to the just mentioned hotel in the prettiest hilltop village of the Barolo region. Expect classical elegance with a bright modern feeling – our kind of place! All rooms overlook the garden or pool, breakfasts are a treat, and the bar never closes. From here we’ll experience the wine, food, culture and heartbeat of one of the world’s most beautiful and unspoiled wine regions – recently declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.


“What a wonderful experience – numerous and varied vineyard and winery tours, great food, very interesting country trips and an outstanding cooking class. ‘Our’ wonderful little town had fantastic views of the Barolo valley, and the residents were friendly and inviting. Everyday we had wonderful experiences that one would not get if on a large commercial tour.  We saw, learned, and tried so much, in such a relatively short time, but never felt rushed. Another success story. This was our 3rd trip with Billy & Kato, and each one just as great as the others. Everyone should experience at least one of their tours.” The Wellings, Ottawa


Expect VIP winemaker’s dinners, rustic vineyard lunches and picnics, a hands-on cooking class, cheese tasting and truffle hunt. Also a tour of a former king’s hunting lodge – now a winery, country walks with jaw-dropping vistas, and of course, there will be bocce games and café carousing. Yes my friends, expect lots of sips and lots of fun. Barolo is just one of the delicious wines of the province of Piedmont, and you’ll also meet other characters such as the rustic and heartwarming Barbera, and the charming Barbaresco – which you’ll meet early one evening in a charming village square. For white wine, you’re sure to fall in love with the delicious Arneis – perfect refreshment. Your introduction to Dolcetto will take place at a creative wine blending class. Red wine and pizza never tasted so good. Rest assured, you will not miss your favourite Cabernet!

We’ve added an extra day to our 2019 tour in order to visit a beach town on the Mediterranean. See and smell the deep blue ocean, and walk in the sand. Seafood and pesto pasta to die for.


“The vacation of a lifetime. The accommodations and meals were first class but what made the holiday so special was Billy and Kato’s intimate knowledge of the Piedmont area. At virtually every locale we visited they were greeted like old friends and we were treated like valued guests rather than tourists. This allowed us to experience the region in a way that the average person could never duplicate on their own. Highly recommended.”
The Seybolds, Prince Edward County


This tour is in keeping with our rule of travelling less, but doing more. We will be immersed in all that’s wonderful about Italian history, art, culture and beauty – simply by visiting just one city, and one region. Both of which are delightfully free of tourist mobs. While food and wine are the focus – it is Italy, we also include fun, recreational, and cultural activities between meals. It’s an action packed trip, but at a leisurely pace – wine in hand. Italian style.


Maximum 18 participants

September 2 to September 13, 2019 SOLD OUT
September 12 to September 23, 2019 SOLD OUT

COST $4,695 per person, based on double occupancy, including all taxes
SINGLE OCCUPANCY: $5,975, including all taxes
LIMITED UPGRADED ROOMS: add $590 per room ($295pp) or $930 per room ($460 pp)
TICO #2392471


Escort services of Billy Munnelly and Kato Wake
10 nights at 4 star accommodation (spa services available)
10 hearty breakfasts
8 dinners with wines from the Langhe region, including one special 5 course Barolo wine pairing dinner
5 lunches with wine
Several wine tastings with Billy
4 course Italian cooking class
Visits to, and VIP tastings at wineries
First evening introductory wine tasting in Turin
Private chocolate & vermouth tasting
Guided history walk
Truffle hunt
Bocce tournament
Sparkling wine reception upon arrival
Day trip to the Mediterranean
All private coach travel in Piedmont
Private coach to Milan (Malpensa airport) for non-stop return ‘official’ flight
… and a few surprises!

A few meals not mentioned above
Arrival transportation from Turin airport to hotel
Some gratuities
Personal items and drinks
Travel and medical insurance

This is a LAND ONLY TOUR beginning in Turin  SEPTEMBER 3 (departing Toronto Sept 2), and departing from MILAN September 13
GETTING THERE: 02SEP AC # 872 Depart Toronto 4:45pm Arrive Frankfurt 6:20am
03SEP AC # 9528 Depart Frankfurt 8:20am Arrive Turin 9:35am
RETURNING: 13SEP AC # 895 Depart Milan/Malpensa 1:40pm Arrive Toronto 4:35 pm (direct flight!)

This is a LAND ONLY TOUR beginning in Turin  SEPTEMBER 13 (departing Toronto Sept 12), and departing from MILAN September 23
12SEP AC # 872 Depart Toronto 4:45pm Arrive Frankfurt 6:20am
13SEP AC # 9528 Depart Frankfurt 8:20am Arrive Turin 9:35am
RETURNING: 23SEP AC # 895 Depart Milan/Malpensa 1:40pm Arrive Toronto 4:35 pm (direct flight!)


Up to 6 months before departure, full refund of your deposit, minus $56.50 admin fee for Ellison Travel.
91-179 days prior to departure – 50% refund less the deposit. However, should we can find someone to fill your spot, we’ll issue a full refund less your deposit and admin fee.
90 days prior to departure – no refund. However, should we can find someone to fill your spot, we’ll issue a full refund less your deposit and admin fee.

1. Email with ITALY 2019 in the subject headline. (Please do this even if you have, or think you have, done this before. Thank you.) Please mention THE DATES of the tour you are interested in, (Early September or Mid-September).
2. Kato will email you back to confirm, and then send you a direct link to fill out a form with Ellison Travel and Tours.
3. To confirm your spot, you will need to complete this form, and send a cheque deposit of $500 per person. (We will email you full mailing details.)
• Your deposit will be deducted from your invoice but will not be refunded should you cancel. (See cancellation policy above.)
• A non-refundable administration fee of $50 per person (plus any applicable taxes) will be charged by CWT Ellison Travel & Tours separate from Billy’s Best Bottles cancellation policy.
• Billy’s Best Bottles reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary.
FYI: Due to uncertain future currency rates, your invoice for this tour will permit a price increase of no more than 7%. Once your tour is paid in full, the price advertised is locked in, and no further price increase will be allowed.


If you were ever hesitant about taking a ‘tour’ – rest assured that this is the most ‘NON-TOUR’ you could sign up for! Think instead of being on an ‘insider’ trip – going to interesting places, doing exciting things, and meeting locals – all orchestrated by a couple who know and love the region. Think also of the shared enjoyment and FUN that happens in a group – ‘adult camp’ as Kato calls it. There is some free time (mainly in the cities), but very little of the usual tourist sight-seeing.

We stay at smaller, non-chain hotels away from the tourist bustle. Lunch is included when we feel it is an integral part of the day’s itinerary, and most evenings we dine together at restaurants where we have arrange something special – for an experience not available to the general public. You can expect everything from gourmet to rustic – always with a generous amount of wine. And seating in small groups for an intimate experience. But we’re not opposed to a little rowdiness! We create the mood of a good dinner party where conversation and mood play off the food and wine for memorable times.

Instead of taking you to all the ‘guide book sights’ we like to show you something better, and less crowded. It is impossible to catch the ‘feeling’ of a place when you’re lost in a sea of fellow travellers. We spend hundreds of hours travelling in search of genuine and exciting experiences that are not in the ‘guides’. For sure we won’t let you miss the best main attractions, but most of our days are off the grid.


Those with a love of adventure and social interaction are obvious candidates. On the physical side, good walking ability and drinking stamina are not only essential, but mandatory. Meals are on the European clock– starting late and finishing late – celebrating time at the table. Basically we invite people who are interested in stepping outside their comfort zone and embracing a European experience. Filling the eyes, bellies and imagination with things unfamiliar. We welcome people who come hungry for activity and participation – ‘adult camp’ as Kato calls it – and FUN. While we are certain that you will enjoy our many activities, we do allow ‘free time’ for exploring self-interests. The more you know about our destinations before heading-out, the more fulfilling your trip will be. Do NOT come with us if you want a conventional ‘sightseeing’ tour with no participation on your part.

Finally a word on why we do not publish daily itineraries. One reason is we like to remain flexible and work around weather and local events. But more importantly, we believe that the best travel experiences are built around daily surprises – a trust between the host and the guests. Those who have travelled with us have said that they enjoyed the surprise element as it kept them ‘in the moment’. We ask that you greet us with enthusiasm, a trusting open mind, good health, and an empty wine glass (not for long!).



“Had been to Italy several times. But this was my first small group travelling ever. Piemonte came vividly alive with Kato and Billy. Relationships, food, wine, learning, and conversation– all rooted in local ambience and warm personalities. Did someone say there’s a Portugal trip too?”
Bill Roberts, Prince Edward County

“Doesn’t matter which tour you choose, they are all unforgettable!  Just returned from our 4th trip with Billy and Kato, our 2nd to Piemonte! If you want to really experience food, wine (and other assorted libations), first rate accommodations, people, territory, history and downright fun, then join one of their adventures.”
Wendy & Wayne Rider, Stratford

“Absolutely fantastic trip. Billy and Kato are the perfect hosts ensuring unforgettable wine tastings, meals and local experiences. The element of “surprise” around the daily activities added to the fun. Great way to meet and make new friends. After 2 months we are still raving to friends and family about how wonderful everything was from start to finish. Would highly recommend this trip.” The Culhanes, Ottawa

“I can say without qualification, that my experience of your Italian Wine tour far exceeded anything I could have imagined. Just outstanding in every way. Congratulations!” Wally Anderson, Simcoe

“This was our 15th professionally conducted wine trip, and while the previous ones were all fabulous, none were better than our Piedmont trip with Billy and Kato. They are a fun and caring couple who do everything to ensure you have a good time. We would highly recommend them.” The Chapmans, Oakville

“Kato and Billy took us to parts of Italy in the Piedmont wine country which I would never have discovered on my own. We stayed in top-notch accommodation, and the beautiful rolling hills of vineyards topped by ancient castles were a sight to behold! We saw it all – including grape harvesting, VIP winery visits, and a fantastic 3 course cooking class. I had a superb time with a wonderful group of people. Thanks to Billy and Kato – our imaginative, inclusive and generous hosts!” D Troop, Prince Edward County

“Again, what a wonderful trip – the Barolo Tour was our second trip with Billy and Kato. Travelling with B&K is not a tourist trip, but an experience that you don’t forget – great food, great wine, and you see and do things that tourists don’t get to do. Most of all, have lots of fun with new found friends.”
Don and Sue Scott, Ottawa

“The Italian Wine Tour was FIRST CLASS! Billy & Kato thought of everything. It was interesting & fun filled. I’d go again in a heartbeat.” Mary Anne Perkins, Milford, Ontario

“Exceptional all round gastronomical, cultural and just plain fun tour. I can’t think of a better way to experience the Piedmont wine country than joining Kato and Billy. The variety of wine tastings and daily activities are a testament to their thorough advance research and genuine desire to assure a wonderful memory for all. ‘La dolce vitae’ indeed.” Brenda Smith, Ottawa


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