Wine tours in Tuscany: A journey through the senses
Tuscany is famous for its fine wines, from robust reds to fragrant whites. One of the most fascinating experiences you can try in the area is a wine tour across the iconic Tuscan valleys. In this article, we will explore the best Tuscany wine tourism destinations, which will certainly help you discover local traditions alongside the distinct culinary specialties from the region unique for its wine selection (but not only!).
Tips for a perfect wine tour
Most wine tours are led by an expert, a true wine fan who can best tell the natural, physical, and chemical attributes of a given area. They define the terroir of a vineyard as well as the key characteristics of each wine depending on the winemaking and aging techniques.
Tuscany has a rich winemaking tradition with quite a few production areas that significantly differ from one another: the morphology of the soils, the grapevine variety that is being grown, or the choices of a winemaker can often change the flavor even between wineries standing close to one another. For this reason, following an expert guide who knows the area is essential to understanding the similarities and differences between the wines produced in the region.
Chianti Senese, the land of wine tours
Each winery of Chianti Senese (the subzone of Chianti in the south of the region near Siena) offers a unique food and wine experience. Surrounded by rolling hills full of vines and olive trees, visitors can taste local wines and discover the history and tradition of the ancient art of winemaking.
The wineries of Chianti are located in picturesque settings, oftentimes in skillfully renovated historic buildings. Rustic chic architecture and bucolic vibes make them excellent examples of how a successful renovation can breathe new life into the surroundings without betraying their original spirit. No wonder the wineries of Siena are also a great place to discover Tuscan wine culture and the evolution of winemaking processes. While savoring a Chianti wine blend, travelers can dig deeper into its production process, from harvesting to bottling, and learn all the secrets of wine aging techniques.
Five must-visit wine destinations
Need a tip for an unforgettable wine tour? Combine your wine tasting with a visit to one of the charming medieval villages in and around Chianti:
- San Gimignano: famous for its historic center adorned with dozens of medieval towers and included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, San Gimignano is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. To get the most out of your visit, you should definitely taste its renowned white wine – Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
- Castellina in Chianti: situated on a hill in the northernmost part of the Chianti Senese, Castellina in Chianti boasts some fascinating sights, such as the Archeological Museum of Chianti and the Romanesque church of Santa Maria. At the end of your visit, you have to visit one of the many farmhouses in the area to taste some of the typical Tuscan dishes accompanied, of course, by a Chianti Classico DOCG.
- Montepulciano: a Renaissance town in the heart of the Valdichiana region, Montepulciano is world-famous for its fine wine. The town is rich in monuments and tourist attractions, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Punchinello Tower, and the Medici Fortress. You will also come across many family-run wineries that have been handing down the cultivation and production techniques of the renowned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for generations.
- Pievasciata: Located in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, the small quaint village of Pievasciata is home to the Chianti Sculpture Park and a number of high-quality wineries. Some impressive sights like the Abbey of San Galgano, the Castle of Brolio, and the Baths of Rapolano are a few minutes drive of Pievasciata. It boasts many wineries with the unforgettable Chianti DOCG, Chianti Colli Senesi, and more food experiences.
- Montalcino: Montalcino is a medieval village surrounded by vineyards and is known for Italy's most famous and prized wine, Brunello di Montalcino. While taking a walk around the town’s historic center, you should definitely stop by the medieval fortress of Rocca overlooking Montalcino. Both the town and its surroundings have many farmhouses that offer Brunello di Montalcino wine tours and tastings. This varietal will be a perfect fit for the intense flavors of the deli meats and cheeses from the Siena region.
More than a wine tour: An immersive experience
Wine tours are one of the few experiences that the rolling hills of Chianti can offer: many estates and luxury residences, for example, offer their guests olive oil tasting tours or honey and beekeeping classes.
In fact, oil and honey are two of the greatest expressions of the local spirit, showcasing the biological features of the area. You can take a tour through olive groves to learn more about the life cycle of an olive tree, the characteristics of their most common varieties in Tuscany, as well as harvest and milling techniques for extra virgin olive oil (EVO).
Beekeeping farm tours are another must-try experience that will allow you to both explore the area and pay extra attention to the environment. During these short meetings, you will get to know what tasks and responsibilities honeybees have to the hive, why bees are vital to the local and global ecosystem, and how a beehive functions. You can also taste some varieties of honey paired with the most popular Tuscan cheeses.