Italy’s Wine Regions: Where To Go From Piedmont to Sicily

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Everyone knows that Italy is the hottest destination on the planet for food and wine connoisseurs. In fact, if you’re reading this article, you probably enjoy sipping a glass of Italian vino and visiting some of the country’s most luscious wine regions is likely on your bucket list. But in a country that exports over 8 billion dollars worth of the “gift of Bacchus”, where does one begin? We will give you a basic overview of some of the very best of Italy’s wine regions to help you get started.

Wine is sunlight held together by water.
Galileo Galilei

Some Stats and Essential Cultural Info

  • 8.5 billion dollars in wine exports (2021)
  • Number 1 exporter of wine in the world by volume
  • Number 2 exporter of wine by value (number 1 was France)
  • The United States is Italy’s number 1 importer totaling over 2 billion dollars
  • Italy ranks third in the world for per capita wine consumption (number 1 is Portugal followed by France)
  • Peak season for wine tourism is between May and October
  • Veneto, Tuscany, and Piedmont receive the most “wine tourists” in Italy
  • There are 350 varieties of wine grapes grown in Italy; 330 of which are indigenous
  • The acronym DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita; translation, the government is certifying that the wine is exactly what it claims from its contents to its geographic location.
  • DOC meaning Denominazione di Origine Controllata is similar to DOCG but less stringent. Similar to the French label AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée)
  • IGT Indicazione Geografica Tipica or wine that is produced in a specific area
  • Italians normally toast by saying Cin! Cin! (pronounced chin-chin) or Salute! (to your health) and they NEVER cross arms with anyone at the table while clinking glasses during a toast because it’s considered bad luck (also applies when shaking hands)
  • Also be aware that at formal occasions, table etiquette states that glasses should not be clinked nor should any phrase be pronounced.
  • It’s also bad luck to toast with water in your glass (but why would you want to do that?)

South Tyrol

Let’s start by clarifying some of the confusion surrounding the tiny autonomous province of Bolzano- South Tyrol in northeastern Italy. It officially goes by three names: Alto Adige (Italian), South Tyrol (English), and Südtirol (Austrian-German); and its capital city is Bolzano. It boasts one of the highest qualities of living in all of Italy with excellent services, transportation, and breathtaking landscapes.

Castles, apple orchards, lakes, and extensive vineyards all against the majestic Dolomites make for an absolutely perfect destination. The South Tyrolean Wine Road is the oldest route in Italy where you can taste wines from varieties such as Vernatsch (Schiava) and Lagrein and the native Gewürztraminer. Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet are also widely cultivated. With an average of 300 sunny days per year, this is the ideal climate for wine cycling, or touring wineries and vineyards by bike.



Just below South Tyrol is the region of Veneto (yes, as in Venice) where its glass of bubbly has become a household name in much of the world. Of course, we’re talking about Prosecco. The region boasts a whopping 14 DOCG-label wines and 29 DOC wines. The wine region of Colline del Garda Veronese and Valpolicella boast favorites like Bardolino Superiore DOCG and Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. As already mentioned, the area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) produces the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG (that’s a mouthful!) and the Asolo Prosecco DOCG and is not to be confused with the DOC Prosecco which is also produced in parts of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Let’s not forget Soave Superiore between the major cities of Verona and Vicenza.


When there is no wine there is no love.


The wine regions of Piedmont are yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site and some of the most beloved in the entire world. We’re talking about Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato in the provinces of Asti, Cuneo, and Alessandria. These lush hills lie between the Po’ River and the Ligurian Apennines and in this microclimate, you can tour castles, hilltop villages, wine museums, and some of the best wineries on the planet.
The region produces 14 DOCG and 18 DOC label wines including Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Roero, Moscato, Asti Spumante, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and numerous others. Some of the many highlights in the area are the characteristic Barolo Chapel, the WiMu Barolo Wine Museum, and events such as the white truffle fair in Alba every autumn.



When one thinks of Italian wine, it’s very likely that a glass of Chianti with its deep burgundy color comes to mind. And while Chianti is one of the most popular in the world, Tuscany’s wines come from other regions as well producing an astounding 11 DOCG and 41 DOC wines in all.
Some of the best regions to tour include Chianti Classico (between Florence and Siena); Montalcino with its Brunello di Montalcino; San Gimignano with its Vernaccia; Val di Chiana and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Moving closer to the coast, don’t miss charming Bolgheri and its Super Tuscans like Bolgheri DOC, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, and Suvereto DOCG.
Gather your friends or your significant other and start planning a wine vacation in this fantastic region that includes art, history, excellent food, and most importantly for this article, fabulous wine.


Wine is bottled poetry.
Robert Louis Stevenson


While Abruzzo is probably best known for its stunning national parks in the Apennines and its mountain villages where time has practically stood still, this region is also a player in the wine scene. Some of its most appreciated labels are Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Controguerra, and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.
A suggested itinerary would be following the Strada del Vino Controguerra between the towns of Colonnella (just a few kilometers from the Adriatic Sea) Torano Nuovo, Ancarano, Corropoli, and Controguerra. Charming villages, great wine, and breathtaking landscapes from the turquoise Adriatic to the rolling hills…who could ask for more?



If you only know the region of Basilicata because of its famous “City of Stones”, Matera, not to worry because we are about to show you it also produces some truly excellent wine. This mysterious region full of isolated villages, extensive farmland, spectacular coastlines, and even ancient Greek ruins has also put itself on the radar for its vino. Although it has just 4 DOC and 1 DOCG-label wine, we promise you that Basilicata still offers an unforgettable travel experience.
The three main wine regions are Vulture, Val d’Agri, and Matera with reds being predominant. Its only DOCG is Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG a robust red with longevity. Val d’Agri’s terrain is sandy and clay-rich and produces Terre dell’Alta Val d’Agri, Grottino di Roccanova, as well as Merlots and Sangioveses. Vino DOC Matera is produced all around the “City of Stones”.

vini-zone vinicole-basilicata-matera


If you’re thinking that Sicily must be the island that has it all you would be correct. From its unparalleled coastlines, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, active volcanoes, unique cuisine, and yes, its wine, there is no place in the world like Sicily. 23 DOC and just 1 DOCG label comprise the island’s wines and include familiar names like Marsala, Passito, Malvasia, and Nero d’Avola.
The vineyards at the base of Mt. Etna at elevations as high as 1,200 meters are only second to those of South Tyrol and are some of the highest in the world. The rich, volcanic terrain is fertile ground for Etna DOC among others and you can take a wine train, the Ferrovia Circumetnea to add even more magic to the experience.
In Sicily, you truly cannot miss because the entire island is wine country!


From north to south, from the majestic Alps to Sicily’s Mount Etna, and everywhere in between, Italy has been producing some of the best wine known to man for thousands of years and continues to perfect it by both keeping to tradition and respecting the changing environment.
Cin! Cin!