If we’re being honest, there’s a lot to know about wine. There are even more places to visit to learn more about wine. So, when people ask for the best travel destination to try wine, learn more about wine, and fall deeper in love with wine—there are a lot of answers we could provide. It all depends on who we’re talking to, what kind of wines they like, and what sort of experience they want to have.
People who want a bit more low-key of a wine vacation may enjoy Chile’s wine regions. Friends who want to hit Paris on their trip should stick to the French wineries. Younger folk may enjoy Napa more than older wine connoisseurs, and the reasoning and the places can go on and on from there. But today, we’re going to discuss all the beauty and elegance that’s found in Italy.
You could taste a new Italian red wine each week, and it would still take you decades to taste your way through Italy. In hopes to help you with your wine vacation planning, we’ve created a guide to Italy’s wine regions. These aren’t all of them, but they are the ones we suggest you don’t miss. Check it out and get planning!
Mmm, Prosecco. We love it, we yearn for it, we celebrate with it. The most famous sparkling wine from Italy is grown mostly in this region—Veneto. When you visit this region, we suggest starting just north of Venice and get your fill of bubbles. If you’re more of a red wine drinker, then head to the wineries in this region for some Corvina and Merlot. Though Merlot is planted basically all over Italy, it has a significant presence in Veneto.
Where Should I Visit?
Plan a trip to Villa Sandi for some delicious Prosecco and Damoli Vini for a family-run, calm ambiance full of great Italian red wines.
You know about Tuscany—everyone thinks about Tuscany when it comes to Italy and wine. It’s filled with rolling hills, home to three powerful grapes (Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano), and many other superb choices. When you visit here, think of Super Tuscans, Sangiovese, and all the other red wines that pair perfectly with meat. This region is not for the faint of heart—their wines offer bold flavors and stunning aromas.
What Should I Try?
The region’s most famous reds are the Sangiovese-based Chianti and Chianti Classico. Notice that most wines are labeled as Toscano IGT because they conform to typical Italian production rules.
If you love food and wine, then this is the Italian wine region for you. Considered the country’s food capital, Emilia-Romagna produces a superb Lambrusco. A sometimes sweet and always delicious sparkling red wine, it pairs beautifully with a lot of the star dishes of the region. And if you’re not a red wine person, then you can always try out their delicious Trebbiano. Come for the wine, and stay for the beautiful, rich historical cities and seaside resorts.
Casa Vinicola Battistini, Manaresi Agricoltura e Vini, and Cantina II Poogo are all great, picturesque options.
Found in the far northeast corner of the country, Friuli-Venezia Giulia has both the Alps and the Adriatic’s coastal flatlands. The landscape means unique, yet optimal conditions for a wide variety of both white and red grapes. That said, the high majority of wine production in this region is white—focusing heavily on Pinot Grigio, Friulano, and Ribolla Gialla. In fact, this is one of the top two regions that make the best Pinot Grigio in the country; they’re dry, lean, and mineral-y, with beautiful notes of white peach and lemon-lime.
But if you’d prefer a red wine from Italy, you can always opt for a Merlot or a Refosco—both of which are excellent options.
Other Wine Varieties To Try
Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Picolit, and Verduzzo.
Transversely, on the northwestern border of Italy that’s shared with both France and Switzerland, you’ll find this smaller wine region. Though not as well-known as others on this list, it still produces some delicious wine for the country. That said, very little of the wine from this region makes it to the US, so if you want to try it, then you’ll need to book a flight. You won’t regret it, as the region’s main focus is red wines, giving you a look at some of the little-know Petit Rouge and Prié Blanc.
Another wine region that you might already know fairly well is that of Piedmont. Located in northwest Italy, Piedmont is right at the bottom of the western Alps, which means the climate is influenced by chilly mountains and the balmy Mediterranean. Because of this, Piedmont has the perfect growing conditions for Nebbiolo, the black grape that produces the region’s most famous Italian red wines—Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCG.
The two other red grapes, Barbera and Dolcetto, are also very well known, and are enjoyed by more simply because of their accessible pricing and drinkability. On the other hand, Piedmont white wines aren’t as common, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. Cortese grapes are the sole producer in Gavi DOCG—a wine you should try as soon as possible.
Where Should I Go?
Visit Michele Taliano, Paolo Manzone, and Ca del Baio.
If you need some water and wine, head to Lombardy. It’s not the same coastal views as some other destinations in the country, but there are plenty of beautiful lakes to explore here instead. Close to the Alps, the cooling influence makes this region a sparkling wine haven. Start out in the Franciacorta sparkling wine region, which sits between Brescia and Lake Iseo. There are 40 miles of wine trails, so get ready! The next day, head to Lake Como and the Valtellina Valley for more picturesque views and tantalizing wines.
Top Wines To Try
Franciacorta DOCG, Valtellina Rosso DOC, Barbera, and Croatina.
The last area we’ll discuss in our guide to Italy’s wine regions is that of the enchanting Sicily. As the largest island in the Mediterranean, the dry, warm climate, and constant sunshine make it the perfect spot for viticulture. There are so many varieties that burst forth from this location—fruity, medium-bodied red wines, juicy white wines, and so much more. In fact, once you arrive, it doesn’t really matter where you go; most wineries on the island will have their own take on Grillo and Nero d’Avola wines. Both will pair perfectly with whatever fresh seafood or scrumptious dish you choose.
What Should You Drink?
Nero d’Aola, Etna DOC, Marsala DOC, and Grillo.
You may not be able to get to Italy now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t taste some unbelievable wines. Shop with Wines ‘Til Sold Out to get wine mailed straight to your door. Or you could send a friend one of our wine by mail gifts so that everyone gets to experience the joy of wine. Shop now!