With summer fun on the way, it's a great time to rethink the way we visit vineyards and tour wineries. Keep in mind that the wine industry is expanding and changing quickly, so if you're planning to go winery hopping on your own, a good guidebook and a designated driver is a must.
There have been two major developments in the wine industry of late. One is the expansion in the number of smaller wineries that should not be missed. The second is the huge number of small labels that are coming from the custom crush facilities (places that produce small runs for large growers, or those who don't own a winery). There's plenty to see and taste, but do your homework and make a plan to avoid the disappointment of arriving at the right winery on the wrong day. Or vice verse.
Wine Culture in Ancient Italy
For those who are interested in more formally guided tours, Select Italy has put together a choice of three tours that combine a love of wine with the rich and varied culture of ancient Italy, including the best regional dishes of today. The first food and wine tour takes place at Paestum, where history buffs or appreciators of architecture and archaeology will be fascinated with the region and the stories of its past as well as its tasty specialities. The Tuscan wine tasting tour goes deep inside of medieval Italy, including a trip into Montecarlo, which is a prime example of a medieval village that gives a glimpse of what life was like behind the castle walls. The tour includes, of course, an introduction to the unusual wines that hail from that area's culture, such as La Fattoria Michi, a winery that produces a blend of French and Italian wines. The Irpinia tour goes into some of Italy's oldest wineries to sneak a peek at the Italian Renaissance.
Enjoy your wine country explorations, whether they are in your own back yard or someone else's.