is the home of Rina Vargas and Tim Brewer.
Tim was originally from Africa (South Africa & Kenya) and has
lived all over the world including California where he planted his
first vineyard before moving to Asia in 1984 (Hong Kong, Singapore,
Philippines, Indonesia), first pioneering setting up satellite-television
stations, then marketing satellites and related business ventures,
eventually ending his satellite career in Moscow as consultant for
the Russian Satellite Organization.
Rina was originally from Bicol in the Philippines (renown for its
beautiful ladies!), we met in Manila and started a business running
a restaurant and a hotel on a motor yacht anchored off Boracay Island,
one of the world's premiere paradise locations (featured on Windows
2000 "Paradise" wall paper).
In 1996 we moved to London from Moscow and lived in Hampstead and
Totteridge. Three years later Tim's work moved him in to Taiwan,
and after spending a a year in Taipei, we decided to change our
lives and move to Northern Italy to find a vineyard property which
we could convert into a small hotel.
Why Italy? We had friends in Piedmont and when we visited we fell
in love with the ambience, the climate, the lifestyle and the perfect
location, not to mention some of the best wines and foods in the
We arrived on Easter of 2001, and spend three months searching
for the ideal place for us to convert into our dream. It was quite
an experience and one day we will write a book. We looked over 25
properties, some of which we fell in love with, but always something
came up, either the price wasn't right, the location wasn't suitable,
the vines were sick, the reconstruction was too difficult, the neighbours
wanted to claim part of the land and so on and so forth. Some notable
places included an old convent complete with chapel, bell tower
and crypt; a landmark castle vineyard with a 300 year old manor
house, an old stone mill and an entire valley of vines.
Finally we came across Cascina Barone at Bricco Cravera, which
had virtually everything we were looking for to create a really
special place for people to come and stay and explore this wonderful
part of the world.
We have renamed the property Villa Sampaguita after the national
flower of the Philippines, and we have planted some of these vines
to remind us of Asia.
We opened for guests in 2003 and both the response and the numbers
of new friends we have made have more then justified our decision
to move here.
In 2009 we were blessed with the birth of Rina's grandaughter HARRIET
who works with us in the baby and young children's entertainment
And how can we not mention Mr Bean, our very friendly cat, who
came with us from England and serves as a substitute for cat-lovers
missing their pets at home.
Site Design by Erin Brewer