Italy still supplies over 20% of the world’s wine and somehow, every region in the country produces great wine which is why ecotourism is so popular in the country. The great wine is all thanks to the perfection of viticulture in all the wine regions over the years. However, most people only think of Tuscany when they hear of vineyards in Italy which is not the case. There are hundreds of little-known wine villages in Italy that will give you a taste of those warm and chilled Proseccos, chiantis, Brunellos and other Sparkling Italian wines you won’t find easily everywhere else. Here is a look at the 10 Must-visit Italian towns for the best vineyard experience and wine tasting. We advise that you search and contact local wineries via websites before visiting to reserve your stay, tours and tasting.
If you want to visit the foothills of the Italian Alps while also enjoying wine heaven, then this is the wine region to visit first. It is home to some of the most famous Italian wines you will also find outside Italy including Pinot Giorgio, Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc among other rare local blends. The region is located in the Northeastern corner of Italy bordered by Slovenia and Austria so you can expect a rich variety of wine culture and foods when visiting the region. Most wines there are white sparkling and frizzante but you have to visit to explore all the available options.
Montefalco is less than 30 minutes drive from Umbria, the capital of Perugia and it is also home to some of the most beautiful vineyards you will find in Italy. Montefalco doesn’t receive that many tourists because most people go to neighbouring Tuscany but it is in Montefalco that you will find the great Sagrantino reds which have become popular outside Italy in recent years. Sagrantino can be a little expensive but you can get a glass in the region cheaply from most local wineries and restaurants. You can also take a tour of the vineyards and have a taste of the sweet reds right from the source.
Pantelleria is the largest island off the coast of Sicily and is actually closer to Tunisia than it is to Italy so you will be closer to Africa than Europe when you go there. It is the home of Passitto wine which is harvested from Zibbibo grapes that are the only variety of grapes grown on the island. Its harsh winds and dry black volcanic soils won’t give you the perception of a wine paradise at first but once you start travelling through the island, you will realize that the grapes ripen through those tough conditions. The harsh conditions the grapes grow in add the flavour to Passitto which is why it is called the true taste of the sun, salt, sea and wind.
This is Italy’s smallest wine-producing region in terms of quantity but one of the best if you are planning to visit a scenic getaway and enjoy some wine in isolation. It is home to the most elevated vineyards in Europe located at the border of Italy, Switzerland and France so you can expect a little bit of French and Swiss influence there as well. The region has a broad variety of grapes that you can choose from but the most popular ones are Pinot Noir and Gamay which give red wine but you can also find the traditional white made from prie blanc which is the indigenous grape of the region. You can enjoy the vineyards and drive along the popular Route des Vins (wine route) or go to Cave Valdotaine wine store for a taste of a large variety of wines.
Many visitors to this wine region agree that it is one of the best wine regions you can drive through in Italy despite being far less visited than the Southwest lying Tuscany. Piedmont is a vast region of rural medieval villages and rolling hills full of green vines that will give you the most beautiful road trips you will ever see. The South-Eastern part has the highest concentration of vineyards and wineries, most of which are family-owned so you can expect a warm welcome whenever you visit. It is home to some of the most popular red wines in Italy including Barbaresco, Barolo, Astis, Gavi and the sweet Moscato.
Northern Italy, especially Lombardy produces lots of great wines but none of those wine regions are as tourist-friendly as Franciacorta. This wine is overwhelmingly popular in Italy but most people outside the country haven’t embraced it as much. Prosecco is the sparkling wine that most people think of whenever they hear of sparkling wine from Italy. Franciacorta wine which is made in almost all of the 117 wineries in the region is one of the best sparkling wines you will ever taste though. The area is vast but more accessible by car than the other small wine regions so you can be sure to enjoy the sparkle of the country as well as the wine in Franciacorta.
You have probably heard of Lambrusco di Modena which is the most famous still wine from this region. It is also home to other varieties of sparkling, chilled and foaming wines that you can enjoy all made from the popular Lambrusco grapes grown in the region. Modena is an ancient town with a long history of winemaking dating back to the days of the Romans. You can enjoy the coastal experience in the neighbouring towns while also restocking your wine cellars with a wide variety of Lambruscos while visiting Modena and also enjoy some of the richest culinary cultures in the world.
This is the heart of Prosecco wine country in Veneto and once there, everything you get will be DOCG branded so you can be sure that you are enjoying one of the world’s best bubbly wines. It is just 50KM from Venice so you can reach there with much ease. It has 15 main hills where the grapes are grown and wine tasting is offered in almost all the wineries in the region. You can drive through the rolling hills and enjoy the sunbathed hillsides as you go from one winery to another for your wine prosecco experience.
Now to central Italy off the coast of the Adriatic Sea where you can enjoy a blend of Italian cultures in one place. You also get to enjoy the sweet breeze and the warm taste of still and sparkling wine treated to the sun and salt of the Adriatic. Viniculture in this region traces back to the fourth century, and the dominant grape in the region is the Montepulciano which is used to make the DOCG approved Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Tamarane which is the most popular red wine from the region. Other DOC wines also come from the region with the dominant white being Trebbiano d’Abruzzo which makes a small percentage of the total wine production in the region.
Colli Di Luni
If you want to enjoy the perfect blend of Tuscany and Liguria wines, then some Vermentino to wash down your seafoods and light meals will work perfectly. The region is equally shared by both Tuscany and Liguria so its wine and culinary culture is a blend of both regions. Colli Di Luni is a DOC accredited region that produces a wide range of wine blends but the biggest percentage of the wines in the region are Red Vermentino.
Have you visited any of these places? Maybe you have drunk the wine from them! Do let us know in the comments below.