Italy is a country that is deeply passionate about its wine, and it shows: approximately one-third of the world’s wine comes from Italy, making it the globe’s largest producer by volume. Italian wine is known and respected around the world, and it’s famed vineyards are visited by millions of tourists each year. If you’re planning to head to Italy and want to sip wine from some of its top producers, here are seven vineyards and wineries you should visit.
- Ceretto Aziende Vitivinicole
The Ceretto family has been making wine for several generations, and their vast estate itself is worth a tour. After taking in the beautiful Piedmont countryside and the beautiful art in the family’s collection, visitors to Ceretto Aziende Vitivinicole can sample some of their truly fine wines. Stand-outs include their Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d’Alba. The Ceretto wineries offer many tour packages, including some which pair wine and local food.
- Antinori Chianti Classico
Antinori Chianti Classico is a relatively new winery, but the family behind it has been passing down the art of winemaking for centuries. It’s something of a hidden gem in Florence, and it sits in a picturesque grove of olive trees. Tignanello and Solaia are two of the remarkable wines found here, as is a restaurant which features fresh, authentic Italian dishes.
Capezzana is another winery near the Florence region of Italy with an impressive wine library. Those looking for a fresh take on Italian wine will delight in Capezzana’s La Vinsantaia wine bar, which serves up great food and excellent wines, including vintages from the 1930s.
- Villa Vignamaggio
In the quaint town of Greve near Chianti, Tuscany lies a magnificent 14th century villa: Villa Vignamaggio. The story goes that a descendant of the Gherardini family which built the estate centuries ago — Lisa Gherardini — was the inspiration for the world famous Mona Lisa painting. Whether or not that’s true, what is fact is that some of Italy’s most esteemed wines come from this historic estate. Sangiovese grapes dominate the vineyard, and Villa Vignamaggio largely produces Chianti Classico, Vinsanto, and Chianti Classico Riserva. The latter includes a reserve named Castello di Monna Lisa, or Mona Lisa’s Castle. In addition to tasting these wonderful wines, visitors can buy olive oil and other treats that are made locally, and have a stop at the estate’s gorgeous formal gardens.
- Badia a Coltibuono
If you want to see historic landmarks, Italy’s famed architecture, expansive gardens, and taste world-class wine, Badia a Coltibuono is the perfect destination. This winery is set in an 11th century monastery amid an amazing, lush backdrop and centuries-old frescoes. Chianti Classico is the star here, and Badia a Coltibuono ages theirs in massive oak casks. In addition to Badia a Coltibuono’s restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the estate also contains a bed and breakfast inn.
- Planeta’s Cantina dell’Ulmo
Sicilian wine really shines at Planeta’s Cantina dell’Ulmo, which is one of the region’s most successful producers. Sicily’s native Nero D’Avola is prominent in Planeta’s wines, as the vineyard’s owners have an affinity for the grape variety. Planeta’s Cantina dell’Ulmo’s estate may not have grand castles or enormous grounds, but it does have masterfully crafted wines, including Chardonnay, regional blends, Cometa, and Alastro. Visitors to this winery can take a guided tour of the estate, which includes a wine tasting, and buy bottles of wine to enjoy at home.
Salcheto, located near Montepulciano, is a winery dedicated to being environmentally conscious. It’s the first European winery certified to place carbon footprint tags on its bottles, and Salcheto makes wide use of the latest technology to ensure that its production facilities are eco-friendly. This certified organic estate produces some wonderful, quality wines, and the setting is also ideal for touring. Salcheto offers new-release wines, such as its very fruity Obvius. This winery has a restaurant on-site which serves light lunches, simple, classic Italian dishes, artisan cold cuts, and fine cheeses.
Touring the Vineyards
Call to confirm that the winery you want to visit will be open during your stay, and if necessary, make reservations for a tour ahead of time. Some of these vineyards are not open for tours year-round, but most do sell their wines to visitors during all months of the year. The opportunity to taste Italy’s finest wines doesn’t come often, so if you get a chance to tour these vineyards, be sure to savor the experience.