The Romans laid formidable foundations for what has evolved into perhaps the most exciting wine culture on the planet – one based on hundreds, if not thousands, of indigenous grape varieties grown in a huge range of exciting terroirs set amid spectacular scenery.
Italy can do it all when it comes to wine: from the pure mountain wines of Alto Adige, and crispy whites of Friuli Venezia Giulia in the north, to the great variety of the Veneto, to the sun-drenched fruit-bombs of Puglia and Sicily, with a huge array of outstanding wines in between. Depending on the given vintage, Italy can be the world’s biggest wine producer as it was in the 2015 vintage and serves up countless opportunities for Italian wine tours.
The best wine tours in Italy combine unique wines with local gastronomic specialties and stunning sights. Our guides show you how to match the best wine with delicious local cuisine. Some of the best Italian wine tours take in some of Italy’s most widely known wines in areas such as Tuscany and Piedmont, although there are countless other opportunities. When it comes to wine tours, Italy truly has it all. Our local travel expert will set you up with a guide that will take you on walking tours through the wondrous vineyards and help you to learn how to taste the differences between these sites and the grape varieties they give life to.
From the superbly structured Super Tuscans made from the Bordeaux varietals in the Bolgheri DOC next to the Mediterranean, to various inland takes on the Sangiovese grape of Chianti DOCG, including the Chianti Classico DOCG heartland, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany offers one of the great wine tours of Italy. Tuscany is not only about red wines thanks to the vibrant high-altitude whites from Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG from around the town of San Gimignano, often dubbed the ‘Medieval Manhattan’ thanks to its many magical towers.
The region is most renowned for its medieval hilltop villages, many of which have been well preserved and are situated in magnificent settings. From Orvieto's vast Gothic cathedral to Assisi's fresco-covered basilica, history has left its mark. The natural splendor of the Monti Sibillini is contrasted with the gradual fall and rise of verdant slopes and wildflower-flecked meadows. The region offers amazing luxury accommodations such as Aethos Saragano, an entire village turned into a luxury resort.
Home to the Nebbiolo grape, which is synonymous with the intense, concentrated and complex wines of Barolo DOCG and the slightly more restrained Barbaresco DOCG. However, there are also some excellent Nebbiolo bargains to be had coming from Langhe DOC, Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC, Roero DOCG and Gattinara DOCG. A magnificently noble grape as the Nebbiolo is, Piedmont also has a plethora of other exciting grapes to tempt wine lovers’ palates, which makes it one of the best regions in Italy for wine tours.
The Barbera grape has firmly shaken off its reputation as the ‘poor man’s Barolo’, making some uniquely complex wines of its own. Dolcetto is the fruity and fragrant side of Piemontese red, while sea food dishes are washed down by the mouth-watering, linear whites of Gavi DOCG.
Producing more wine than the medium-sized wine countries of Austria and Hungary put together, Sicily serves up a scintillating selection of one-of-a-kind wines. Nero d’Avola excels in cooler spots, while Frapatto makes a fine lighter bodied red wine. White Catarrato is Sicily’s most widely planted grape, while another grape beginning with ‘C’ – Carricante – is harnessing the volcanic power of Mount Etna. Made from Moscato grapes, the sumptuously sweet Passito di Pantelleria is one of Italy’s greatest stickies. Join a wine tour in Italy and let yourself be seduced by Sicilian vini!
There has been a recent surge in the quality of Italian sparkling wine. The metodo classico (traditional method) sparklers of Franciacorta and Trentodoc of Trentino contrast with the fruity, floral and fresh tank method bubblies of Prosecco, usually at it best from the slopes that lie between the town of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano in the DOCG hotspot. If you are a sparkling wines lover, remember Italy wine tours can be customized by our local travel agents to only cover “bubbly” regions so you can enjoy a tailor-made holiday sipping on them.
An example of a wine tour in Italy that’s off the beaten track would be of the Marche, breathtakingly located between the Apennines and the Adriatic, in Central Italy, with its versatile and vivacious Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi and underrated Rosso Conero.
Take a look below to find the best wine tours in Italy and contact our local travel experts for a bespoke luxury experience.