Italy Roundtable: Wine Tastings in Italy

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? ‘http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

We’ve had a busy summer at the Italy Roundtable so we decided to take last month off of our regular blogging schedule. We decided to adopt the same “pausa” as August, which is Italy’s vacation month. This month we are back with a topic we all adore, and it fits in well with September’s WINE.

I won’t share my inexplicable love for Valpolicella, Ripasso or the mnemonic that I used on my first trip to Italy to remember how to pronounce Cinque Terre’s Sciacchetra (although it still makes me laugh). Instead, I am driving down the super-practical road with all the information you need if you are interested in wine tasting in Italy.

I’ve been wanting to write an article about Italy Explained for a while now, so this month’s Italy Roundtable gave the perfect excuse. It’s almost as if I’m being rewarded because I procrastinate.

In any case, pour a glass of wine you love while we toast Italian vino Cin cin!


Italian wine is big business.

This is something I don’t need to say. You’re likely aware of the world-famousness of Italian wines, regardless if you are a wine enthusiast. Many people travel to Italy to buy and taste wine. Others enjoy wine tasting during their Italian vacations. Why not? It’s a wonderful place to wine-taste in Italy – beautiful scenery, excellent wines, and sometimes delicious food.

Problem is, wineries in Italy are not set up in the same way as wineries in the United States. It is rare to find tasting rooms that are open every day in Italy. This means it takes a lot of planning before you go wine tasting.

Here are the facts.

Plan a DIY Wine Tour to Italy

It is rare for most vineyards in Italy to have fancy tasting rooms or posted hours. They don’t mind visitors but it isn’t that they don’t want them. Making wine is one example. Most require that you contact them beforehand to arrange a visit. This will usually mean a phone call. However, some people have email addresses. You’ll also need a car rental and a GPS unit. (Or, as an alternative, a detailed driving map, since some of these locations are notoriously difficult to find).

Then, of course you have to decide which wineries you want to visit.

It’s good to know that there is an Italian organization that allows visitors to book tastings ahead of time. The Movimento Turismo del Vino is the name of the organization. It has a lot of useful information.

The MTV website has a lot of information broken down by region, including recommended wine-tasting itineraries. There is also an English version. To receive information about wine-related events, sign up for the MTV email newsletter. These events may also coincide with your travels.

Although it is more difficult to plan your route through wine country and make visits with wineries, it is quite satisfying. You can also visit the wineries that you choose. Make sure you have a designated driver.

It’s the one time of year that DIY wine tasting in Italy is easier. Cantine Aperte is a day when participating vineyards open their doors to the public. It is held every year on the last weekend of May. There’s an special section of the MTV website that is dedicated to this annual event.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Take a Wine Tour Organized in Italy

If wine tasting in Italy is something you want to do, the logistics of a DIY trip may not be appealing. That’s understandable. It’s true that many tour companies in Italy can do the same.

You have many choices for wine tours to Italy. Some wine tours visit just a few vineyards while others include a lunch and a detailed tour. Others allow you to sample wines from all over Italy and not have to leave the city. (Heads up, some of these links are affiliate links which means that I earn a small commission if you book one or more of these tours. However, it won’t cost any extra.

Context travel offers a family-friendly “Tuscan Taste Adventure”, which allows parents to try local wines and the children to learn about the farm. There’s also an introduction to Italian wines led by a Rome-based sommelier, as well as a class on wines from the Veneto and other wine-centric tours.

Walks of Italy offers private wine tours through Tuscany, and a wine- and cicchetti-tasting tour through Venice, among other things.

Viator offers winery and wine-tasting tours throughout the country. This includes wine tastings in private Tuscan villas and wine tours in the Valpolicella region. Vesuvius wine tasting.

This is just a small selection of the many wine tours that Italy has to offer.

My friend Katie Parla organizes private wine tours in Rome. Hande Leimer, my friend, runs a wine education company in Rome called Vino Rome. Both Katie as well as Hande are available on the Eye On Italy Podcast.

If you are new to Italian wines, pick a tour that interests you. A private tour is more for you if you are a novice wine snob. You can customize the experience to your liking.

Additional Information for Italian Wine Tasting

  • Many people mistakenly believe that Italian wine is synonymous to red wine. Some places have wines that are predominantly white or just a small amount of red. Ask for the local wine if you are unsure at a restaurant. It is not necessary to ask for red wines.
  • Although I don’t usually like to order the house wine in most American restaurants, it is often a great option and very affordable.
  • Wineries and shops that sell wine will ship your purchases to you. This is really convenient, as no wine bottle can fit in a 3-oz glass.
  • Perhaps you’ve heard about Chianti and Barolo. But there are many vineyards in Italy that produce great wines. You don’t have to try all the wines, not all of them are world-famous.
  • Hande shared a wonderful observation on the Eye on Italy podcast, which you should listen to (which is chock-full of great Italian wine information). It stated that ingredients used in a dish are best paired with wines from the same region. This is another way to say that you should eat and drink local.

Do you have a favorite Italian Wine? What about one that you found while on vacation in Italy?

Italy Roundtable: Other Voices

I cannot wait to enjoy a glass of wine and to hear what my fellow Italy Roundtable oenophiles have had to say. Follow me to each of the links and leave comments. Please share your thoughts with others and check back next month for another topic on Italy Blogging Roundtable!

Are we connected?

Have you LIKED us on Facebook? Are you following our Twitter? We’re very friendly, so please drop by to say hello. We are always open to suggestions for future topics for the Italy Blogger Roundtable. Drop us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or comment on any of our posts.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? ‘http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

8 Responses to “Italy Roundtable Wine Tasting in Italy”

  • Alexandra says:

    This is a great post! This is a great post! This month’s post about Barone Ricasoli was one of them. It is a rare opportunity to take a wine tour and taste the wines in a formal setting. Although you will need to call ahead to book, they are large enough that they have the staff and space to do this type of thing.

  • Gloria has the following:

    Jessica, this is great information. It is always a good idea to ask the hotel concierge or hosts for recommendations. There are often small wineries that are available for tasting tours or visits. These are worth the effort, even if they are not on the most popular circuits.

  • Niccolo says:

    This is a great post!

    Gotto – The Wine Tour App was used to book a tasting at Col d’Orcia, Montalcino. It’s surprisingly simple to use and provides lots of information. It’s only for iPhones, though…

    • Jess has the following:

      That app sounds interesting. It would make it easier to enjoy wine tasting in Italy, but I doubt that most wineries will be able to connect.

  • Jennifer Eidam:

    Are you more satisfied with wine from Tuscany or Cinque Terre than in other regions?

    • Jessica says:

      It is not uncommon to experience a wine tasting in Italy that is quite different from what you would expect in the United States. Is it really about the wines?