Chianti is a region in central Tuscany where the famed Chianti and Chianti Classico wines are produced. Wine tasting in Italy is a little different than tasting wine in the US. Below are tips on planning an independent wine tour of Chianti.
How to Plan Where to Go in Chianti
First, pick a type or producer of Chianti you particularly like, or pick a region. I'd recommend the wines of the Chianti Classico region, because it's the granddaddy of them all.
The administrative body of Chianti Classico is the Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico. On their website you can search for producers that offer tastings, by clicking on a region on the map. You'll be presented with a list of Chianti producers and contact and winery information. Choose your favorite, or ones that have tasty descriptions.
Contact Your Favorite Wineries
When you've found some wineries you like, the next step is to contact them and make an appointment to do a tour, or tasting. Some even offer food, including a meal. Only the larger wineries have the capacity to deal with walk-up tours and tastings.
Don't choose more than three wineries. You might be better off with two. Things are slower in Italy than in California. Enjoy it. Remember--too many tours get repetitive. There's only a few variations on the fermenting theme.
We've listed three wineries recommended for their tours and tastings.
Tasting Wine at an Enoteca
You can also find wines to taste, buy and drink at an Enoteca. One of the largest in the Chianti Classico area is Le Cantine di Greve in Chianti, where you can do a tasting of (degustazione) wine, cheese, salame, grappa, and olive oil. There's also a wine museum. There are over 140 wines to taste, so pace yourself. There are smaller Enotece in villages all over Italy.
Getting Your Bearings - Chianti Classico Map
Have a look around the Chianti Classico area. There's lots to see and do, and plenty of good restaurants (where there's good wine, it never fails that there's also good food). We've pointed you to some of our favorites. You'll discover others, I'm sure.
Chianti Region Winery Escorted Tours
If you'd prefer to visit wineries without having to drive, Select Italy offers both full day and half day escorted tours that include visits to villages and Chianti wineries with wine tasting. Lunch is included in the full day tours. North Chianti tours include pick-up and drop-off at your Florence hotel and South Chianti tours start and end at your Siena hotel.
Accommodations in the Chianti Region
See our top places to stay for top-rated hotels, farm houses, and bed and breakfast accommodations. Want to stay in a castle? Try Hotel Castello di Spaltenna in Gaiole in Chianti, a 4-star hotel inside a castle.
You'll find more listings for hotels and farm houses in the Chianti region on Venere with guest ratings and a map. You can easily look for and book hotels through this site, the site I use myself for booking hotels in Italy.