We know how it is when you’re close to starting your travel adventure. You dream about it for weeks or months before you’re due to set off. You think about all the sights you want to see, and the places you want to go.
You Google things to do at your destination and get “culture drunk” just thinking about all those museums and art galleries you’re planning to visit.
You dream about all the rich Mediterranean food and brush up on a little Italian or whatever the native tongue is where you’re headed. You pack your suitcase full of clothes for every weather and comfy shoes for trekking about the cities or towns all day.
You flick through the travel guides and brochures on the flight just to make sure you’re not going to miss any site of historical or cultural significance in your itinerary. We love the idea of filling our vacations with things that are good for our minds and cleansing for the soul.
We also know what it’s like in reality though. By the end of day one or partway through day two of rambling about the steep hills and cobbled stones of Italian cities, you start to think that there aren’t any shoes comfortable enough in the world to make you want to keep walking around anymore.
You’ve maxed out your capacity for ancient architecture and renaissance art already and are too ashamed to admit to your travel companions that what you really want to do is have a nice sit-down, with a leisurely meal and drink some cool crisp wine in the sun.
That’s completely natural. Your brain can only take in so much in a short period of time. Don’t forget that the point of a vacation is to relax, reflect and enjoy yourself. It’s such a basic thing, and we wouldn’t dream of planning every moment of our day if we were heading to a beach resort instead of a metropolis.
Something about Mediterranean city breaks somehow just makes you feel guilty if you leave without seeing absolutely everything and learning by heart the names of every king or queen since the 1600s. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and one thing the Italians don’t do is rush (except when driving, of course).
Take a page out of their books and book some time to relax and enjoy the climate, the landscape, and of course some divine local wine at one of these top wineries in Italy.
1. Antica Cascina Dei Conti di Roero
This ancient farmstead was previously farmed by the Roero family since the 1800s. It was taken over by the current owners (the Olivero family in the 1950s. This vineyard is in Vezza d’Alba which is a place rich with wine-making history and quaint rural tales.
If you’re staying near Alba or Turin, then this rustic vineyard is in easy reach. This vineyard may use modern technology to produce and ferment its wines, but the rustic and historic charm of the farmstead is still very real.
Fruit reds, Zesty whites, and three premium sparkling wines.
Their signature red is the Roreo DOCG Riserva Vigna Sant’ Anna.
They do not say they do tours or tastings on their website, but you can visit their shop online or submit a request to visit the vineyard on their website.
2. Redaelli de Zinis
This eco-friendly, traditional winery is dedicated to greener methods of wine-making. They try to avoid using machinery wherever possible in order to be sympathetic to the surrounding landscape. It is close to Lake Garda and is very visitor-friendly.
You could easily spend a whole or half-day in this picturesque vineyard with classic architecture, beautiful grounds, views, and choices of experiences. If your travels take you close to this vineyard, you should really go and visit. Just make a reservation and choose which experience you want to partake in.
The land has been owned by the Zinis family since the early 1800s and is still managed by them today. If you’re looking for a vineyard that has it all, you can’t go wrong with this one. It has history, views, a huge range of produce, and a great green ethos.
They produce a large range of red wines, two rose wines (one sweet, one dry), and three sparkling wines including a dry chardonnay. They also produce and sell honey, vinegar, olive oil, and jams. They serve various foods in their visitor’s restaurant including full meals at lunch and dinner.
If you reserve ahead, you can choose from the following experiences:
- Wine tasting with signature Redaelli de Zinis wines and some canapes.
- A selection of rustic snacks and local products with wine.
- Lunch or dinner with Garda cuisine dishes.
3. Azienda Vinicola Contini
This Sardinian wine network covers 200 hectares of the Sardinian landscape. Azienda Vinicola Contini was founded by Salvatore Contini in 1898 and was the first-ever Sardinian wine to gain the respected DOC certification.
The vineyards are still owned and managed by the Contini family, but they no longer make just one type of wine as they did in Salvatore’s day. They grow a selection of grapevines now and produce a range of quality Sardinian wines.
The headquarters for this family-run wine dynasty is on the west coast of the Sardinian island, near Cabras and Oristano, so make sure you try one of their wines if you’re in the vicinity.
Their original recipe Vernaccia di Oristano is the first wine this vineyard ever produced and they remain proud of it today. Pair it with cheeses or pastries for the best taste experience. They also now produce a range of white wines, roses, and sparkling wines as well as other red wines.
The vineyard does not offer any wine tasting or touring experiences that we can find, but you can always enquire on the website as to whether you can visit the cellars. You never know your luck.
This Campania-based vineyard holds a wine dynasty spanning ten generations. Despite their motto, “One Family, One territory, One wine” they actually do make more than one type of wine.
This vineyard chooses historic vines for its wines, some of which date back to ancient Greek and Roman times. In addition to the vineyard, this company has affiliations to some of the best hospitality facilities local them such as the Radici Resort, Morabianca Restaurant, and Mirabella Golf Club.
The cellar is open for tours and tastings by reservation and we recommend you do give it a go because the cellars are also an art gallery with artwork and sculptures by some renowned named artists.
You also get a guided tour of the family vault included in the very reasonable prices.
Local to Pompeii it’s no wonder this vineyard produces a big range of red wines out of respect for the fire and lava that destroyed a whole community with its awesome red power. They also have a good range of white wines that will suit any taste.
Wine tastings and tours of the family vault and cellars vary in price based on the quality of the wines you want to try. There is a selection of wines to try for each price bracket and you can choose three from the list to sample. The tours and tastings last an hour and a half and are very modestly priced.
Librandi winery is committed to sustainable agriculture and promoting a balanced ecosystem while protecting the landscape around them in Calabria in the South of Italy.
They say their “land is a harmony of nature, history, art, gastronomy and folklore.” Their wines are representative of the rich culture and wine-making history of the region and their sympathetic methods of producing wine and farming grapes show how dedicated the company is to their communities, land, and the future of the wine industry.
They have a deep respect for their land and an ethos tenaciously committed to preserving it. They are proud of their territory and history too as their vineyards are in the region previously named Enotria Tellus by the Ancient Greeks which translates to Land of Wine.
The area may be rich in history and culture, but the branding of the wine bottles and labels are surprisingly contemporary-looking.
The winery is three generations old so it is more modern than other similar-sized wineries, but it is still a family-run empire with a valuable commitment to sustainable agriculture. If you want a stylish, sophisticated, authentic Italian wine to drink, you’ll find several options here.
Librandi is open all year round for tourists and visitors for tours of their winery, cellars, and wine tasting sessions.
There are various options for visiting experiences at Librandi. You can take a quick half-hour tour of the main areas concerned with making the wine with a complimentary glass of signature wine.
There are also more in-depth options available for tourists who want a more immersive experience. You can book an entire day experience at Librandi where you can see every part of the cellars and be taken around the olive groves and wine rows.
There is a delicious lunch included in their guesthouse and a relaxed afternoon to wander and explore the grounds. For a full day in the countryside, this package certainly fits the bill.
They have a medium-sized range of white wines, reds, sparkling wines, and even some rosés. They have a flagship range of five wines that they think embody the spirit of authentic Calabria and their heritage.
There are three options for visitor experiences at Librandi winery.
- Their short winery tour gives a whistle-stop tour of the main parts of the winemaking areas with a tour guide and a glass of Librandi wine.
- A ‘Visit More Tasting’ experience is a more in-depth tour of the winery facilities and wine-making areas accompanied by their knowledgeable staff. Afterward, there will be a tasting of Librandi’s five flagship wines to enjoy.
- The Librandi Day experience involves an extensive tour of the cellars and facilities as well as a guided tour of the lands of the Rosaneti company in their vehicles. Lunch is organized for visitors in their guesthouse and a trip to their agricultural museum in their early 19th-century farmhouse is also incorporated.
whole day out in the Calabrian country or a quick tour of the cellars with a splash of wine, Librandi is happy to accommodate.
When talking about the best wineries in Italy, Planeta must be mentioned. Passed through 17 generations and spanning over five centuries, this network of vineyards has been farmed for a long time. It only became recognizable in the form you can see it in today back in 1995 though. Planeta is a proud producer of Sicilian wines and claims to be one of the leading flagships of the Sicilian wine renaissance.
Their vineyards, which span 900 acres, can be found all over Sicily depending on where is best for each type of grapevine to grow. They grow many varieties including some classics like the merlot or chardonnay grape as well as some lesser-known varieties.
Sicily is famous for its classic sweet chardonnay, so make sure you give it a try if you are fortunate enough to visit this winery. Their chardonnay was the first wine they produced and as such, they are very proud of it.
In addition to the awesome wine they produce, the Planeta company supports a local charity in Palermo which promotes a healthy lifestyle and personal growth of people who are disadvantaged due to physical, mental, cultural, economic, or social conditions.
They are also partners with an organization called “wine for life” which ties profits made by the sale of wine to treatment and prevention through education of the spread of HIV/AIDS in African nations. Planeta is also dedicated to supporting Oxfam especially in projects focused around women in agriculture.
They are also committed to promoting and adopting sustainable practices in their methods for winemaking.
Planeta boasts a large range of wines. They have their signature chardonnay as well as Planeta’s merlot, pinot noir, and even a riesling.
They also have a small selection of refreshing rosé wines and sparkling wines for those who love bubbles. Each separate territory of the Planeta empire has its own signature wines based on which vines they grow in each one.
There are three wineries belonging to Planeta that are open for visitors. These are Ulmo in Memfi, Buonivini estate in Noto, and Sciaranuova in Etna. The family history is richest at Ulmo estate as this has been owned by the family for 17 generations.
Their wine shop is located at the Sciaranuova estate where they also offer a wine tasting with bread and cheeses which centers around the flavors of the thrillingly close volcano.
The wine tasting also includes a visit to the vineyards and a tasting of three olive oils with fine bread and local cheeses. A more immersive experience is also available which also includes lunch.
Final Thoughts About The Best Wineries in Italy
Wherever you’re traveling in Italy, there is likely to be a great vineyard or winery nearby to you. Even if they do not officially offer tours or experiences, it’s worth asking via their website if they accept visitors, because some will jump at the opportunity to show off their wineries to travelers in the hopes that you’ll buy a bottle or recommend them to your friends.
There’s really no such thing as bad Italian wine, so enjoy yourself and remember to organize transportation there and back that doesn’t involve your driving.
Many travel or experience agencies specialize in organizing vineyard tours and wine tastings from the major cities by coach.
These are usually surprisingly affordable and very convenient if you are going to be city-based. With all those historic buildings and museums in the old cities of Italy, it’s easy to miss the stunning countryside and mountainous views that are just a stone’s throw out of the city.
As with anything in Italy, it’s good to go for options that include food if you can, because great food served with wine is great for the overall taste of the wine and the comfort of your experience. They know how to do two things really well in Italy. They make great wine, and delicious food to go with it, so put them together where you can.