Whether it's harvest time, at the end of summer, beginning of autumn, or any other time of the year, it’s always the right time to visit wine territories and wineries that share the beauty of the landscape, a wealth of history and typical foods. The famous English magazine, “Decanter” has drawn up its list of the “50 Best Wine Trips”. Given the historic love the the English have always expressed for “Chianti Shire”, it is not at all surprising that Tuscany is at the top of the list, considering its multitude of territories, from the hills to the sea: Chianti Classico, Montepulciano, Bolgheri, Montalcino, San Gimignano and its Vernaccia, Carmignano, from the large Chianti area to small Montecucco that opens the door to Maremma. There is, of course, among the many leading Tuscan wineries, also a selection of the 10 wineries not to be missed, of the wineries that organize visits to the public. Therefore, you can visit the historic Castello di Nipozzano of the Frescobaldi Group, gem of Chianti Rufina, then the Capezzana Estate, the history of Carmignano, arriving in Chianti Classico, and the architectural beauty of the Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico in Bargino. Continuing on, you can visit Marco Pallanti and Lorenza Sebasti’s historical Castello di Ama, which also boasts a large collection of contemporary art. In Bolgheri, the absolute must stop is Cinzia Merli’s Le Macchiole, then on to the new Tenuta Prima Pietra in Riparbella, in the Pisa area and of course the splendid Castiglion del Bosco, in Montalcino, where there is another famous historical winery, Col d’Orcia by Francesco Marone Cinzano. In the land of Nobile di Montepulciano, the flagship winery “Decanter” has selected is Michele Manelli’s Salcheto, which is also an anthem to sustainability (it was the first “off grid” winery in Europe, and is the “cradle” of Equalitas). The “Top Ten” ends at Monteverro, in Capalbio. Continuing on with the “Top 10” world destinations, following Champagne, and its Maisons, Ruinart, GH Mumm, Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, Moussé Fils, Drappier, Ayala and Gosset, then Napa and Sonoma in California, where wine tourism started, and wineries such as Corison, Ridge, Schramsberg, Spottswoode, Opus One, Stag’s Leap (owned by Antinori, ed.), Robert Mondavi Winery, Tank Garage Winery, Matthiasson, Unti, Idlewild Wines, Lola, Far Niente, Mayacamas and Chateau Montelena, and, of course Bordeaux, and its many wineries that go beyond the “legends”, like Margaux, Latour, Haut-Brion, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite-Rothschild, in position number 5 there is Italy, and a less known wine area, but a very famous tourist destination, Lake Garda. It is a large territory, which, as “Decanter” said, is touched by various denominations, from Bardolino to Chiaretto, Lugana, Custoza, Valtenesi and DOC Garda, which has bet heavily on sparkling wines, and where, among the recommended wineries, there are gems such as the Prandini family’s Perla del Garda, the oenologist Mattia Vezzola’s Costaripa and also Cavalchina, Ricchi and Pratello. Then, jumping to California, the 3-day itinerary defined as “perfect”, is at number 6, before returning once more to Tuscany, to Montalcino, at number 7, where, among other things, like wineries for tastings, there is for instance, Col d’Orcia, but also Banfi, the Mariani family winery, which brought fame to the area, as well as Castelgiocondo di Frescobaldi, Campogiovanni of the San Felice Group, Il Palazzone, Siro Pacenti, Camigliano and Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini’s Altesino and Caparzo Estates, as well as many well-known wineries that also offer hospitality at different levels, such as Casanova di Neri, Mastrojanni, Villa Le Prata, Argiano, Capanni of Cencioni, Canalicchio di Sopra and Le Ragnaie, among others.
Southern Italy, number 8 on the list, is a winemaking treasure trove that is becoming more and more famous around the world. There are wineries and resorts such as Sergio Mottura in Lazio, Feudi di San Gregorio, a Group led by Antonio Capaldo - including wineries also in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Sirch), in Bolgheri (Campo alle Comete), on Etna (Federico Graziani), in Basilicata (Basilisco), in Apulia (Ognissole) and in Cilento (Tempa di Zoè) - as well as Cacciagalli in Campania, Palazzotto in Basilicata, Vinilia in Puglia, Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia by Tasca d'Almerita and La Foresteria by Planeta in Sicily, and Argiolas, in Sardinia. Closing the “Top 10” are Mallorca in Spain, and Champagne again, focusing on the most beautiful hotels off the beaten track, in the area. As we scroll through the list of the 50 best wine trips, according to Decanter, Italy holds several positions. From Apulia to the “wine hotels” around Florence, and a focus on the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco village and charming hotel in Montalcino, owned by an Intercontinental office which took it over from Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo in 2022 (and immediately awarded, in 2022, the number 1 position on the “The 100 Best Hotels in the World” ranking of the magazine, “Travel + Leisure”). And, the territories of Montepulciano, gem of the Renaissance and home of “Vino Nobile”, Franciacorta, one of the leading territories of the Italian classic method sparkling wine, to a specific focus on Garda DOC, Valle d’Aosta and its heroic viticulture, not forgetting, of course, Piedmont of the Langhe, Monferrato, Alta Langa, Asti and Gavi territories, among others, as well as a food and wine tour of the Emilia Romagna of Sangiovese and Lambrusco, the entire “food Valley”, and Lombardy of Oltrepò Pavese. Confirming once again that Italian wine has so much to discover and offer to enthusiasts from all over the world.