Wine tasting in Venice, Italy, is a fabulous way to explore this most mysterious of cities. The city of the Doges, Goldoni, merchants bringing spices and silks from the East, Casanova and Carnevale provides a bewitching backdrop to taste the wines of the Venetian hinterland, the Veneto
Touring the historic locande, osterie and bacari is a good way to explore the Venetian cuisine and structure your wine tasting in Venice. Most bacari, i.e. wine bars, will offer a selection of cichetti, bar snacks, for you to nibble as you sip your Prosecco or Aperol Spritz. You might even head to Harry’s Bar on Piazza San Marco to try a Bellini – a blend of fresh peach juice and Prosecco. Make sure you take in the Basilica San Marco while you’re there, with its shimmering golden mosaic domes. Gaze up at the campanile, which has been rebuilt twice since its initial construction in the ninth century. The neighbouring Ducal Palace also housed Casanova, the renowned womaniser, in one of its attic prisons.
Head to the Rialto, the ancient bridge spanning the Grand Canal, and the market at its foot, where you can explore the typical ingredients of this city whose cuisine is a fusion of the best of the land with the best of the sea. The bacari around the market are an ideal location for some wine tasting. Venice is famous for its seafood, such as fried soft-shelled crabs or fritto misto. You might also try grilled cuttlefish, risotto di seppie (cuttlefish ink risotto) or sardines in saòr, that is marinated in vinegar, onions, raisins and pine nuts. A fresh glass of Soave, or an international variety like Pinot Grigio, will be perfect to wash these down.
Another Venetian favourite, liver and onions, demands a glass of Valpolicella or fruity Bardolino, whereas some beef Carpaccio, allegedly invented in Venice cries out for one of the Bordeaux blends being produced in Colli Berici and Colli Euganei, traditional zones for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot since the times of Austrian rule.
Although risotto and polenta are popular in Venice, it would not be Italy without some pasta, the local bigoli, similar to bucatini, but often made from buckwheat flour, is served with an anchovy and onion sauce.
If you crave a less watery venue for your wine tasting, Venice, Italy, is not far from Verona, Veneto’s wine capital and the location of the huge annual Vinitaly wine fair. Here you can also try some dishes featuring Amarone – brasato all’Amarone and risotto all’Amorone, which you should also pair with Amarone. Amarone also makes a wonderful partner for the region’s cheeses.
The sweeter toothed will be enticed by the Veneto’s range of sweet wines, for which it was historically famous, such as the red Recioto della Valpolicella or Breganze Torcolato made from the native Vespaiola, where whole bunches of grapes are air-dried to concentrate their flavours and sugars. Recioto di Soave or Recioto di Gambellara can be enjoyed with a portion of Tiramisù, one of Italy’s most popular desserts, allegedly invented in Treviso in the sixties.
Finally, if you are in search of some tranquility, you might head out to the northern part of the lagoon which surrounds Venice. Wine tasting at Venissa on the island of Mazzorbo provides a unique experience. The walled vineyard and bell tower dating from the fifteenth century are home to Venice’s only vineyard, where about a decade ago, a prominent Veneto winemaker planted 4000 vines in the former garden of the old monastery. The variety is Dorona, closely related to Garganega but distinct from it, which he had discovered growing on nearby Torcello and Sant’Erasmo. You can also enjoy delicious cuisine at the Michelin-starred restaurant here.
If you're interested in one of our Veneto Wine Tours, please visit this link.
Get all our exclusive travel inspiration and tour packages straight to your inbox!