Whether you know something – or nothing about wine, you can’t come to Tuscany without going wine tasting !
What’s a wine tasting in Tuscany like ?
Well, usually (in this area) travelling to your wine tasting is already a pleasurable experience, passing through beautiful landscapes. We opt for smaller wineries (making great wine of course) who offer a more private experience; two people at a time in general.
The guides (winery staff) don’t expect you to be experts, they know you are on vacation in Tuscany – not shopping for a wine list ! So they introduce you to all parts of the production and explain the vineyard’s philosophy. Sometimes you visit the vineyard first
And sometimes the cellar first. Often the tour part of the wine tasting is free – but that’s usually the part that must be booked in advance. If you only want to taste, often you can just show up – depends on the place. To ‘acclimatize’ to the winery and really enjoy the tasting, we recommend always take the tour.
On this occasion we were taken to the cellar first because it was such a hot day and I think our guide expected us to skip visiting the vines, but we asked to see the vineyard afterwards (It was a very special vineyard)
We then headed to the tasting room to try the wine
On a hot hot day such as this one, we were happy to be in an air conditioned room for our tasting – although the cool cellars were also a pleasure to explore. In general wine tasting is a great choice as an activity for hot days in Tuscany. The whole experience can take as little as an hour or as much as over two in each winery.
We arrived to the tasting room to find all of our glasses lined up ready to go. At this particular winery there are three levels of tasting depending upon the value of the wines you try. Many Tuscan wineries despite specialising in red wines also produce a desert wine and a grappa – some also make olive oil.
We were lucky on this occasion as the wine maker himself was there to guide us. This is not uncommon on a wine tasting in Tuscany, particularly if you aim for smaller, boutique wineries.
This is a typical tasting set. We recommend taking the experience seriously: sip and spit. You’ll learn a lot – and it’s fun, it makes a memorable experience. You might not intend to buy – and that’s ok. When you opt for paid for tastings (rates are good) there’s never a feeling of sales pressure. The number one objective for the winery is getting people to try their wine. You might buy now, later, or not at all.
Often the price of the tasting is waived if you buy something. If you’re considering a case, the winery will be able to show you a list of rates for shipping to help you decide if you want to do it. With the smaller producers you may be surprised at the price difference for equivalent wines at home and shipping something back might be irresistible
Wine tasting is a really super experience in Tuscany and something we highly recommend. Even if you think you don’t know any thing about wine, don’t hesitate ! Take a tour and tasting and you soon will..
Inexpensive and romantic, a highly enjoyable activity. If you buy, opening a bottle later on in the year can bring you right back to Tuscany over dinner – so nice to share a bottle of wine and it’s story with friends.
The images here were taken at Podere Le Ripi Biodynamic Winery in Montalcino, which is way up on our list of favourites – in terms of the wine that they make and the wine tasting experience that they offer.