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A Guide to Italy’s Top Wine Regions & Tours

Italy-wine-tasting-tour-red-wine

Italy is the home to some of the best wine-producing regions in the world. With its wine-making traditions dating back to the centuries, food and wine play a very integral role in every Italian meal. The country boasts over 500 wine varietals that are grown in every region. The boot-shaped peninsula is a leader in wine consumption and often competes with France who is one of the top producers of wine across the globe. Hence, a wine holiday in Italy is a must. Here are a few resources that will help you to explore Italian wineries like a boss!

Determine what kind of tour you prefer

Before you are planning for a wine tour in Italy, it is important to determine how much time you have and which all regions you are willing to explore. Then you need to look into the budget and what kind of wine tour interests you.

Self-guided tour

A self-guided wine tour is one of the least expensive options that you can opt for. A guide will be there to provide recommendations on all the places where you can eat and drink. However, you will be the one responsible for booking the tasting appointments, driving to the vineyards and communicating with the staff. Kindly note, English is not spoken everywhere especially in the rural areas.

Private, customized tour

With this kind of wine tour, a guide will make all the necessary arrangements for you. From transportation, translation to wine tasting and finally lunch, everything will be taken care of. This kind of tours are expensive but will be based on your taste and preference.

Large group tour
Group Wine Tour | Tour Italy Now
A large group wine tour involves many people and there won’t be customization based on your interest. However, these tours are comparatively cheaper than private tours. In some of the regions, there are limited wine tours. For instance, in Piedmont, you won’t really find large group tours.

Tools and Resources for finding suitable wine tours in Italy

The internet is the best place to find detailed information about the wine tours that suit your requirements. Make sure to read the reviews available on TripAdvisor so that you can make the right choice. Often, hotels have tie-ups with local tourism boards and expert guides who can provide necessary suggestions. This is particularly helpful in smaller wine-producing regions where limited options are available. And if you are visiting Italian bars and restaurants, look around for local contacts that can provide recommendations.

Some Valuable Tips

Divide your Italian wine tour into north and south. Generally, the climatic conditions in the south produce fruitier wines compared to the north. However, some of the finest Italian wines are produced in the north. This includes Tuscany as well as Piedmont.

Most of the wineries in the country are nestled in the rural areas so you have to travel long distances by car. Italy has an extensive road network and the drive is scenic. However, do some research before planning a trip because most of the time prior appointments are necessary and there is limited availability during specific days in a year.

An authentic Italian meal is incomplete without wine. So whenever you are in doubt, order the wine of that particular region and you will be good to go. Italian wine has its own magic and you will keep yearning for more.

Best Wine Regions in Italy

Piedmont

The Piedmont region produces some of Italy’s legendary red wines – Barbaresco and Barolo. These wines are produced from the Nebbiolo grapes that are rich and light in color. Barolo often termed as the ’King of Wines’ develops an ethereal perfume with time and complements Italian delicacies. Piedmont boasts of 59 wine regions and the name of these places are particularly labeled on the wine bottles. Some of the popular wines from Piedmont include Gavi, Asti Spumante, Nebbiolo and Moscato d’Asti.

Tuscany

Grape Vines, Italy

Blessed with picturesque vineyards and vast expanses of rolling hills, Tuscany is a major wine region in Italy. This place has a history dating back to the 8th century BC, making it one of the most ancient wine-producing regions across the globe. Tuscany is known for its iconic wines such as Montepulciano, Chianti, and Brunello di Montalcino. Most of the wines are made from the Sangiovese grapes and the flavor depends on the surrounding. When it comes to white wines, Vernaccia grapes are used for the purpose. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is one of Tuscany’s finest white wines that have a citrusy and crisp flavor.

Sicily

Sicily is regarded as the largest island in the Mediterranean and boasts of the perfect weather condition for producing wine. It is known for the fortified Marsala that is exclusively made in this region. Another aromatic wine that is produced here is Zibibbo that has a lower alcohol content compared o Marsala. The grape varieties that are mostly used in producing these Sicilian wines include d’Avola, Nero and Catarratto.

Lombardy

Lombardy is one of the largest wine-producing regions in Italy. This destination is particularly known for two sparkling wine styles – Franciacorta and Valtellina. Lombardy boasts of its winemaking traditions that go back to centuries during the Greek period. This destination is tucked between the Alps and the Po Basin that makes it highly suitable for the cultivation of wine grapes. Lombardy has a total of 13 wine-producing areas and offers superior quality wine varietals.

Puglia

Widely known for its olive oil, Puglia is one of the most underrated wine destinations in the Italian peninsula. It produces 17% of the country’s wine that is much more when compared to Australia. Snuggled in the south-eastern corner, this region is tightly packed with vineyards and flaunts the Mediterranean’s bluest water. The Negroamaro grapes are grown here that are used for making authentic Puglian wines. Make sure to try the Primitivo wines that are a specialty in Puglia. This wine is produced from grapes of the same name and is slightly rich and fruity.

Emilia-Romagna

The fertile region of Emilia-Romagna is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the country. It is well known for the sparkling red wine named Lambrusco which is made from the grapes of the same name. This wine perfectly complements the exotic delicacies of Emilia-Romagna and aids in digestion. Other popular varieties found here include Sangiovese, Albana and Pignoletto.

Get to know more about different styles of Italian wines here.

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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