Voted one of the top wine countries in the world, each part of Italy has its own distinct style of wine. With grapes grown in varying climates, the variety and depth of flavours in Italian wines are second-to-none. The only way to the heart of Italy is with food and wine, making an Italy wine tour an essential part of any trip to the country.
Whether you are looking for the best winery in Italy, want to delve into the many wine tours in Tuscany, Italy or go on day trips hopping between vineyards; the options and experiences that are available will both entice and overwhelm you.
To begin deciding what wine region you want to explore, it’s important to know the basic characteristics of each wine region of Italy. A little research will help you to get the most out of your wine experience, and the culinary experience that goes along with it.
Tips for Planning an Italy Wine Tour
Get to know Italian wines by organising a tasting party
If you don’t have your heart set on one particular region in Italy, you could let your taste buds guide you. Before arriving in the country, set up your own remote Italy wine tour by visiting the local wine shop with some regions in mind.
A whole new kind of Russian roulette to add to your travel experience before take-off; why not have some friends round to help you decide where you are going to next?
Match your budget
One of Tripfuser’s Local Suppliers can do this for you. The length and quality of your wine tour may change based on what your budget is for your Italy tour. The price of a wine tour will also vary based on the number of wines you wish to taste and quality of the vineyard that you want to explore.
Make your reservation in advance
To avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you book your tour in advance to avoid the inflated peak season prices or booked up tours.
Take your time
To discover the best of Italian wine, do as locals do and take time to savour the flavours that your palette is about to be exposed to. Whether you want to hop between many vineyards in one day or throughout your trip, taking things easy is one of the joys of travelling in Italy.
Hire a driver for your wine tour in Italy
To avoid drinking and driving, which is strictly illegal in Italy, hire a driver to take you between vineyards. A wine tour in Italy is an alcohol-filled day, so stay safe and enjoy it with someone else in the front seat.
Wine Tasting in Tuscany: The Chianti Region
About the region
The Chianti region is home to some of the best vineyards in Tuscany. A household wine name across the world, Chianti wines are as smooth and full-bodied as the Tuscan countryside.
When visiting a vineyard in the Chianti region, you’ll be whisked away by the amber hue of the countryside and the resounding sense of peace that it creates. There are many vineyards to choose from for your wine tasting in Tuscany; deciding which one to go for depends on how much time you have.
There are many towns and wine cellars that you can get to on a Chianti wine tour from Florence. The most famous places to visit on a Tuscany wine tour are Montalcino and Montepulciano, considered to be the classic Chianti producers and offer the best Tuscany wine tours with the highest quality products in the region.
A Tuscany wine tour to Montalcino and Montepulciano will take you to the two towns on a slow and easy-going tour. You’ll visit both of the towns and explore at a leisurely pace, taking time to visit wine cellars and bars and eat a little along the way – you’ll be enticed by the charming air of history that lingers in the streets.
Travelling from Florence to Chianti, this tour will be a full and delicious day trip; however, if you are staying in the Chianti region, you could visit the towns on a half-day tour. If you have a little more time, you could go on a vineyard tour of Tuscany to hone your wine knowledge.
Sicily Wine Tour in Marsala
About the region
Created in and around the town of the same name, Marsala wines were once some of the world’s finest fortified wines such as port, sherry and Madeira. The region became famous because of the ageing process that is known as Perpetuum. In light of the idea of recycling barrels, Perpetuum takes the last of the former year’s wine barrel to age the new years.
Despite a deep decline in the popularity of fortified wines, Marsala is making a slow comeback into the modern wine world using the Sicilian grapes that can only be found in Nevo d’Avola, giving the wine a sweet yet peppery flavour.
Marsala is home to many wine cellars that extend to a great length. The cellars offer a variety of wine ages in the tastings that you will discover as you explore the town. There are also vineyards on the outskirts of Marsala, where you can get straight to the grape to see where it all starts.
The more exploring you do, the more you find that despite its reputation, Marsala has some of the best wineries in Sicily with both the oldest and newest techniques for winemaking.
Your wine tasting in Sicily will take you into the historic cellars of Marsala. While wandering between the vats, you’ll learn about the different characteristics of the fortified wine that distinguish it from the rest. You’ll see thousands of kegs used for different ageings and witness the winemaking process before trying them yourself.
Alternatively, by travelling out in the countryside, you’ll see all of the processes from grape to glass. Some wineries, such as Baglio Donna Franca, still embrace the old Perpetuum of Marsala wine, while others focus and develop new techniques and tasting notes.
The length of the wine tour in Sicily depends on your interests. For those that are looking to become acquainted with Marsala wine, you could do a full-day tour across several vineyards and finish the day in the wine cellars of the town.
For those with slight interest, sticking to wine cellars in Marsala as part of a longer tour of Sicily could be of interest. If you are making your way to Trapani or Agrigento and the Valley of Temples, Marsala is a good option for a quick stop.
Wine and Oil Tasting in Umbria
About the region
Bordering Tuscany and Rome, Umbria is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets, especially when it comes to wines. Umbria is home to two DOCG wines, one of which is said to have more tannins than any other grape in the world, giving it a robust earthy flavour. The most notable of the two is Montefalco – an area that has been producing wines since pre-Roman times. Although not for the faint-hearted, this is undoubtedly one of the best vineyards in Italy.
Umbria is known for its truffle hunting and high-quality oils which are integrated into wine tastings in Italy. The region is landlocked and filled with olive groves and vineyards that are only interspersed by charming medieval towns. For those that are not ready to try the wines in Montefalco, there are still some crisp summery whites and lighter reds to be found in Umbria.
Your wine and oil tour in Umbria will take you to a local farmhouse, where you’ll meet the owners who will tell you a little history behind their home. You’ll learn about the traditional processes that are behind the olive oil and the wine and the modern ecological and biodiversity methods that have been introduced to maintain the farm and preserve the quality of the products.
Lunch on the farm will be served looking out across the rolling hills of Umbria, where you will start with a little bruschetta made using the olive oil from the farm, served with their wine.
This wine and oil tasting in Umbria is a half-day tour that can be arranged as a wine tour from Rome or as a longer tour that goes into Tuscany and Siena.
Piedmont Wine Tours: Barolo and Barbaresco
About the region
Painting the perfect picture of an Italian wine region, Piedmont is home to Barolo and Barbaresco, which, when paired together, makes one of Italy’s best wine tours; the two wineries are renowned internationally.
Both of the wineries are found in Langhe, a mountainous part of the south of Piedmont. Langhe is known for its grape varieties, in particular, Nebbiolo, a grape with floral notes and a hint of cherry, of which Barolo and Barbaresco are made.
The differences in Barolo and Barbaresco wines lie in the soils that they are cultivated in. Barolo and Barbaresco wines are grown in soils with different amounts of clay in them, a scientific fact that is only tasted when the wines are aged.
Since the advancements into international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, the Langhe winemakers have been able to show their creative flair and produce some groundbreaking wines. You’ll learn about this when tasting Barolo and Barbaresco, creating an informative tasting experience on your Piedmont wine tour.
Walking through the villages of Barbaresco and Barolo, you’ll hop between wine cellars while sampling some of the delicacies of the region, such as cheese and cold cuts.
Although one of the newer wineries in Italy, Barbaresco attracts people from across the world to walk their cellars. As you taste your way through the villages and learn more about the famous Nebbiolo grapes, you’ll very quickly understand why.
To make the most out of your wine tour in Piedmont, it is advised that you visit Barolo and Barbaresco on a full-day tour. If you are looking to do a wine tasting from Milan, tours can be arranged to both towns from the city.
Wine Tasting in Puglia’s Fasano
About the region
Puglia produces more wine than any other region of Italy. Where vineyards stop, olive groves begin; an Italian culinary dream, particularly if you are looking to pair your wine tasting with olive oil.
Spread across four areas, each with their distinct wine style, Puglia is known for its impressive 29 DOC wines (DOC or DOCG refers to the Italian government’s control on the production of wine). To help narrow down your choice of wineries, choose one of the four wine-producing areas first, and then go from there. The most famous area in Puglia is Primitivo, which is closely related to the Californian Zinfandel.
While most wine-producing areas in Puglia focus strictly on red wines, Verdeca grapes are found in the region, creating earthy white wines. Interestingly, these same grapes were once used to produce Vermouth; an industry that is now close to non-existent.
The charming town of Fasano has history and romance oozing through the cracks of the stone buildings. This wine tasting in Italy will start in the Olive Oil Museum, a converted oil mill that attests to the endless olive groves that surround the town.
Your wine introduction comes with a tasting of the olive oils before you explore the historic beauty of Fasano while stopping in wine cellars to sample the differences in the four wine areas of Puglia.
Your wine and oil tasting tour in Fasano is a half-day tour that offers a brief introduction to the town and three extra virgin olive oils. You could stop in this charming town while visiting Matera and Ostuni, the latter of which is also a popular wine town.
Wine Tasting from Florence: Montecarlo Wines
About the region
Paving the way to the wine valley of Tuscany, Montecarlo dates back to the Roman era, when Emperor Charles named the town after himself – this was when wine production began. The centuries-old legacy of producing classic Tuscan wines attests to the quality that is seen in Montecarlo which makes it a top choice for a wine tasting from Florence.
While you may still be dreaming of the Monacan coastal casino town, Montecarlo in Tuscany is surrounded by nearly 20 vineyards that put Montecarlo on the map. Interestingly, the region was one of the first to receive a DOC accolade and is renowned for its complex processes that produce both Italian and international wine varieties.
Become part of the postcard picture as you arrive in the town of Montecarlo. Your wine tour in Tuscany will take you to the heart of the wine valley as you tour an estate to learn about the DOC wines made there. You’ll visit the vineyard and the wine cellar to learn about the before and after processes of making Tuscan wine before having one of the best wine tastings in Tuscany.
You’ll be given an introduction to all of the wines and their key characteristics before tasting them. A typical wine tasting in Tuscany will be a mix of white and red wines, as well as a dessert wine. All of the wines are paired with some light snacks such as crostini or olives.
An essential Tuscany wine tour from Florence, you can easily spend an afternoon in and around Montecarlo. If you wish to visit more than one vineyard, you could do this over a full day or two days in Montecarlo.
Frascati Vineyard near Rome
About the winery
Just south of the capital, Frascati is your one-stop-shop for a wine tasting in Rome. Known for its white wines, Frascati DOC has been cultivated here since the 5th century. The wine has remained popular in and around Rome ever since; it was one of the first-ever DOC wines in Italy.
Grown in volcanic soil, the vineyards of Frascati sit at altitudes between 200 and 1,000 feet in the hills, just south of Rome. Interestingly, some of the wine cellars found in the Frascati estate were originally in ancient caves; however, more modern techniques were appropriated as the wine continued to grow in popularity.
A wine tour from Rome takes you out into the hills of Frascati, on a wine tasting that goes on a journey back in time. Arriving at a traditional farmhouse, you’ll be shown the old-age processes that are used in Frascati wine production, with some techniques as old as the wine.
Stepping into the wine cellar, you’ll try two DOC Frascati white wines and a red wine, which will be accompanied by the olive oil that is also produced on the farm. You’ll have lunch in a scenic spot that looks out to Rome before you return to Frascati town, where you are free to wander as much or as little as you wish.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting wine tastings in Italy.
This Frascati wine tasting from Rome is a full-day trip that includes a wine tasting and a little exploration of Frascati town. It is possible to make your own way to Frascati; however, for peace of mind, you can arrange a tour guide to take you there and back.
Verona’s Valpolicella Wine
About the region
Covering much of western Veneto, the Valpolicella hills encircle the romantic city of Verona. One of the best wineries in Italy’s north-east, Valpolicella is most famous for Amarone della Valpolicella.
The grapes used to produce Valpolicella wines are a mixture of traditional and more distinct varieties that produce a high-quality range of grapes due to the positioning of Valpantena vineyards, nestled within a valley.
When Valpolicella wines achieved DOC status, production and consumption of the wines peaked, however, this quickly made a downward spiral due to discrepancies around the quality of the grapes. A more modern Valpolicella has been revitalised and has distinct expressions that are associated with northern Italian wines; bright fruity flavours with a slight hint of sour cherry.
Following the Valpolicella wine route, a northern wine tour in Italy shows you the region of Valpolicella with its hills that lead to the mountains. You’ll stop by a winery where you’ll be shown the drying process of the grapes, locally known as Appassimento.
A wine-maker will explain the unique combination of traditional and modern methods that make the flavours of Valpolicella stand out. You’ll take four different wines that unveil what this combination of methods creates including a natural ageing process.
A wine tour in the Valpolicella region starts late morning to include lunch after your tasting, looking out over the hills that surround Verona. As a smaller tour, you could choose Valpolicella for your wine tasting from Venice.
Design Your Own Italy Wine Tour
Whether you are looking for wineries near Florence Italy for a romantic excursion or are looking for the perfect bottle to add to your collection by finding the best winery in Montepulciano; incorporating a wine tour into your trip to Italy will complete La Dolce Vita.
Take the headache out of selecting your perfect wine tour by talking with one of our Local Suppliers in Italy who will do all the research for your trip to Italy so you don’t have to.
When creating your dream trip to Italy, Tripfuser’s Local Suppliers will find guided tours that incorporate wine and food into every aspect of your Italian experience.