Whether you are planning an escorted tour or are doing a self-guided tour, here are some resources on how to tour wineries in Italy.
Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world. With 19 different wine producing regions located throughout the country you are never far from a vineyard, no matter where you are in Italy.
It is useful to know the names and regions of the top wine destinations
Pisa or Florence: Tuscany
Buy the book – or App
Wine guides such as the ones published by Slow Food and Gambero Rosso and Apps like the one by The Wine Traveller are packed with information on locations and hours of vineyards and cantinas that are open to visitors. It is recommended that you plan your visit in advance.
Hit the Road
If you are not doing an escorted tour, you will need to rent a car to explore the hills and valleys where Italy’s best wine is grown and produced.
The Strade del Vino, or Wine Roads are official routes located in wine regions all over the country. Look out for the brown signs along the road that mark the vineyards. Each region is in charge of their own routes. There are websites for each of the different regions that have maps, opening hours and event information. You can also check with the local tourist office in cities and towns. Make sure you know the opening hours and many places close n the middle of the day for a few hours.
The Movimento Turismo del Vino (Wine Tourism Movement) is a non-profit organization that has as it’s aim to to increase the national wine tourism industry in Italy. The website has cellar information, itineraries and news about wine related events.
Festivals and Wine Events
There are events throughout the year that make it very easy to try many different wines in one place. These are some of our favorites.
Cantine Aperto - For over a decade, on the last Sunday in May each year, many wineries in Italy open their doors to visitors. This is a very popular event with over a million visitors to almost a 1,000 wineries. In addition to tasting the wines and purchasing them directly from the farm, you can visit cellars usually not open to the public and discover some of the secrets of wine making.
Calici di Stelle – Held on the 5-11 August 2013 in honor of San Lorenzo, and the time when many shooting stars can be spotted in the night sky, is the Calice di Stelle. A wine tasting festival that happens in piazzas all over Italy.
Benvenuta Vendemmia – The grape harvest -Vendemmia – happens in early autumn. This year on 8 September 2013 there is a harvest festival where you can visit vineyards and cellars and witness the earliest stage in the winemaking process. There are often art exhibitions and concerts organized around this event.
If you are visiting the Piedimonte region of Italy in the spring, the don’t miss wine event is Vinum. The annual Vinum wine festival event takes place in the last week of April in the city of Alba. This small festival highlights some of the big names in the wine world, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as Barbera d’Alba. There are also medieval festival events and the chance to experience the fabled truffles found in the area during this event.
Vinitaly. This is probably the largest wine event in Italy. It is held in early spring in the city of Verona in the Veneto region and over 4,000 exhibitors attend. There are four days of tastings, workshops and events with winemakers and professions from around the world.
Stay in Town
Don’t have time to tour the countryside in search of Italy’s great wines? Don’t despair, Just look for an Enoteca. You will find an Enoteca – Wine shop – in every large city and just about any small town in Italy. They serve wine and light meals and are very knowledgeable about wines and regions and happy to share their wealth of knowledge with you.