Italy is one of the oldest wine making countries in the world, with some of the finest and widest selections of wines. Vineyards and wineries are just about everywhere in Italy. So if you want to visit the country for some wine tasting holiday, here are tips for you.

Italian wines (from Turin to Palermo) come from one or a combination of more than 350 wine grape varieties. The wine bottle label contains helpful information about the wine’s production – producer, wine type (grape variety or wine blend), region or location, and vintage.


There are 20 wine regions in Italy, and are categorized into four major groups: Northwest, Northeast, Central and Southern Italy. The most common Italian wines consumed in the US include: Toscana, Abruzzi and Emilia-Romagna (Central); Piemonte (NW); Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli (NE), Puglia (Southern).

Sangiovese is the most popular Italian wine, but it comes in different varieties and regional names. The primary clonal variants of Sangiovese include Sangiovese Grosso (big grapes) and Sangiovese Piccolo (little grapes). Prugnolo Gentile is a variant of Sangiovese Grosso used in making pure Sangiovese wines.

Italian red wine usually come from any or a blend of nine common red wine grapes such as:


Sangiovese – available throughout Italy

Nebbiolo – age-worthy wine grape

Barbera – dark-skinned variety

Lambrusco – produces bubbly light red wine

Montepulciano -dark, rustic wine

Amarone -high alcohol wine with sweet finish

Valpolicella -rich wine from three grape variants

Primitivo – southern Italian grape

Negroamaro – southern Italian wine grape blended with Primitivo

Italian white wine, on the other hand, come from any or a blend of nine white wine variants:


Pinot Grigio – of French origin, aka Oltrepò Pavese

Trebbiano – aka Ugni Blanc, same variant for making Cognac and Balsamic vinegar

Garganega – used primarily for Soave

Cortese – makes light citrus white wine, like Chablis in France

Verdicchio – slightly bitter white wine

Fiano – floral, citrus and nutty notes

Arneis – famous for the Roero DOC regional wine

Vermentino – crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc

Moscato – aka Muscat, sweet and bubbly white wine

The number of wineries and vineyards all over Italy can be overwhelming. A guided wine tasting tour that focuses on a particular region maximizes one’s vacation time.

Photos by: Udo SchröterMichela SimonciniBlue moon in her eyesTaz

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