Five Tips to Enhance Your Wine Tour of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region

The Tuscan countryside is beautiful and visiting local wineries can be interesting and informative as well as a lot of fun. But to get the most out of your time in Chianti Classico country it’s important to observe some simple guidelines - five of them in fact.

First, do some advance planning for your tasting tour. Map out a proposed itinerary and pinpoint the locations of the wineries and/or enoteche(wine bars) prior to leaving. Be sure to obtain specific addresses and directions by either calling the wineries or trawling their websites.

Second, it’s always best to call ahead and make reservations for a tasting. Don’t expect a quality wine tasting experience if you just drop by a winery without a reservation. While some large wineries are able to accommodate visitors without appointments, the smaller wineries are generally not staffed to handle casual, drop-by visitors. It would be risking disappointment to simply drop in for a wine tasting without an appointment, especially in the fall when winery staff are extremely busy with the harvest and cellaring. Tours of wineries always require advance reservations. 

Because of the large number of tourists, most of the large Chianti Classico wineries have tasting facilities that can handle individuals as well as large tour groups on a casual drop-in basis. Some of the larger wineries have wine tasting kiosks or tasting rooms at the side of the road or at the entrance to the winery to handle drop-in visitors that want to sample wines. But these generally are not quality wine-tasting experiences. These drop-in tasting facilities typically have only a limited selection of wines available for tasting, lack the proper ambience and don’t offer any context for the wines tasted. These wine tastings are generally free of charge although some wineries will charge a small fee for the wines tasted.

Third, for the most informative and memorable tastings take advantage of guided tastings offered by various wineries and/or enoteche or other professional organizations such as the guided tasting of Chianti Classico wines offered by the Wine consortium for chianti classico in Radda-in-Chianti. These guided tastings provide a more intimate and informative tasting experience. The number of individuals in the group is typically limited, you will be able to taste some of the winery’s premier wines and the tasting is typically led by a knowledgeable person from the winery or enoteca who provides some professional background on the wines tasted.

These guided tastings provide some history, context, atmosphere as well as some light fare to accompany the wines tasted. Most wineries and enoteche will offer several alternative wine tasting formats for which the price can vary from 10 to 50 euros or more depending on what wines and food are included. My experience has been that regardless of the charge they are always worth the tariff. These guided tastings always require advance reservations.

Fourth, when planning your self-guided wine tour of the Chianti Classico region be sure to read the companion Chianti Classico article on this website titled A Wine-Tasting Road Trip Through Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region.

Lastly, for your own safety and to avoid penalties for violating Italy's stiff driving-under-the-influence laws consider hiring a driver or having one of your party tasked as designated driver if your plans include serial wine tastings. In this regard it's worth noting that many travel insurance policies have an alcohol exclusion clause and won't cover injuries incurred while intoxicated. Bottom line - always drink responsibly.

Buon Viaggo!

To view other wine-related travel itineraries in Italy, see Things to do and see in Italy

©Richard Marcis
Updated: February 3, 2020



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