Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing countries, and today, it is the largest producer of wine in the world. Italian culture is saturated with wine, from the antiquated varieties produced by the Etruscans to the vast number of types made today.
There's a lot more to Italian wine growing regions than Tuscany, and while it's a good place to start, beginner wine connoisseurs can boost their knowledge of Italian wine by visiting any of Italy's 20 wine regions. With over one million vineyards growing grapes, you know Italy won't disappoint even the toughest of critics, and if you're not well-versed in wine culture, you'll still love sipping a glass in these amazing wineries.
Ca' del Bosco winery is located in Lombardy, in a small commune called Erbusco. It's a tiny community, and if you need some serious downtime and a glass of excellent wine, it's the perfect getaway.
Since its founding in the 1960s, Ca' del Bosco has maintained its reputation for producing some of Italy's best wine. It's known for its usual reds and whites, but its most famous variety is its Franciacorta, a regional sparkling wine from the province of Brescia.
Vietti wines are some of the best coming out of Barolo in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. They are common enough to find outside the county if you haven't quite made the trip yet, but tasting it fresh in its native region is an unparalleled experience.
The Vietti winery's history can be traced back to the 19th century, but it was in the early 20th century when Vietti started bottling its own wine, creating a name and influence for itself. If you want to tour the winery, make sure to book in advance, because the winery does tastings by appointment only.
Not far from the Vietti Winery is Marchesi di Barolo, a winery whose history spans more than 200 years. The cellar is located in a building overlooking the gorgeous Castle of Marquis Falletti.
Marchesi di Barolo began producing Barolo wine in the early 19th century, a red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape, a name wine lovers will easily recognize. Barolo wine is named after its native region and has long been considered one of Italy's best red wines. At Marchesi di Barolo, you can taste authentic, fresh Barolo wine.
The island of Sicily off Italy's southwest coast also has its own unique wine culture, differing from those on the Italian peninsula. On the lower slopes of Mount Etna, an active volcano, sits Barone di Villagrande.
Famous for its Passito wine, also known as raisin or straw wine, Barone di Villagrande's vineyards have the exact amount of sunlight necessary for drying the grapes to perfection. If you're visiting Sicily or Etna, stop at the winery for a taste of its Malvasia delle Lipari. You can even rent a room on the vineyard's estate if you can't get enough of the wine.
Cantina Scacciadiavoli's name derives from a famous 14th-century exorcist who used wine in his arsenal of exorcism tools. Scacciadiavoli literally translates to "to banish devils," and a glass of wine certainly seems to help cast out the devil.
The winery was founded in 1884 and is one of the oldest operating in the Montefalco area. Producing a wide variety of wines, you can't go wrong with a tasting at Cantina Scacciadiavoli, and they even produce their own grappa, a pomace brandy made of grapes. Book complete tastings in advance, exorcism not included in the package.
Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero is more than just a mouthful of a name. Grape growing and winemaking has been an intricate craft in Vezza d'Alba for hundreds of years, and it grew famous for it in the 18th century.
The winery now uses slightly more modern winemaking techniques while retaining the integrity of its centuries-old traditions. Established as a farm in the 1950s, Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero has been exclusively cultivating grapes since the 1970s. In its relatively short winemaking history, the winery has won a dozen awards.
Marchesi de' Frescobaldi is the quintessential Tuscan winery and is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Its art of winemaking dates back 700 years, and today the estate owns seven properties across Tuscany in Pomino, Nipozzano, Remole, Castiglioni, Perano, Castelgiocondo, and Ammiraglia, making its wines highly accessible to anyone in the region.
Good luck counting all of the awards won by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi wines. With so many centuries of perfecting their winemaking process, you can be assured you're tasting the best Tuscan wine at any of its wineries.
Mastroberardino is located in southern Italy and makes a perfect day trip from Naples. While not one of the largest producers of Italian wines, the Mastroberardino family are committed to preserving the historic practices of winemaking.
Mastroberardino uses many ancient grape varieties that would have been used hundreds or even thousands of years ago, like Greco and Fiano. They also run the Villa dei Misteri project at Pompeii, which is currently attempting to reproduce contemporary Pompeiian wine. That process involves replanting vineyards destroyed by Mount Vesuvius to winemaking according to ancient techniques.
Located on the shores of serene Lake Garda, not far from Verona, Redaelli de Zinis produces eco-friendly wine. They don't use any modern machinery in their winemaking process, nor do they use chemical pesticides on their grapes.
Redaelli de Zinis has been making wine since the 18th century, and they are committed to preserving the vineyards and other natural landscapes nearby so that future generations can admire the land in the condition it was when they began growing grapes. And the De Zinis family ensures that their wines are still of the highest quality, proving that you can have the best of both worlds.
Not your typical winery by any means, Tenuta Castelbuono stands out for its distinctive dome-shaped architecture, known as the Carapace. The estate seamlessly blends art and wine so that visitors can kill two birds with one stone, and who doesn't want to appreciate some fine art with their fine wine?
A branch of Tenute Lunelli, which owns other wineries in Tuscany and Trentino, Tenuta Castelbuono might just be the most unique. But the Carapace structure itself is not the only hidden gem of Umbria, as the wine that is made here is unmatched.