These lesser-known vineyards in Italy offer all the deliciousness of Italian wine, minus the crowds
Blessed with the perfect climate and rich soils that cultivate some of the finest grapes in the world, Italy is home to over 20 areas that cultivate numerous grape varietals. While Tuscany’s Sangiovese has long been celebrated and its Prosecco of Veneto is globally renowned, expanding your horizons to some of the country’s lesser-known regions will reward you with a plethora of delicious drops just waiting to be uncorked.
Located north of Rome and neighbouring Tuscany, Umbria is a wine enthusiast’s haven, where underrated wines enhance the region’s culinary experience. Surrounded by the lakes of Trasimeno and Corbara, and featuring an array of hills and mountains, Umbria is home to various microclimates that allow different grape varieties to thrive.
Umbria’s notable red grape varieties encompass Sangiovese, Merlot, Sagrantino and Barbera, while its primary white grapes consist of Verdello, Grechetto, and Trebbiano. As you explore the rustic wineries of Umbria, a visit to the gothic city of Orvieto is a must. Nestled among vineyards, it boasts the magnificent Cathedral of Orvieto at its heart. Alternatively, immerse yourself in nature by considering a visit to Cascate delle Marmore, one of Europe’s highest and most powerful waterfalls.
An inviting destination for wine enthusiasts seeking a unique experience in winemaking, this region is home to some of Italy’s most intimate wineries. Liguria, situated in northwest Italy just south of Piemonte, is a coastal paradise comprised of pristine beaches and hiking trails. Home to the acclaimed wine regions of Cinque Terre and Riviera Ligure di Ponente, it is renowned for its exceptional white wines crafted from the Vermentino grape. Make the most of your time here, as Ligurian wines, particularly those produced from Vermentino, are often challenging to acquire beyond the region and almost unheard of internationally.
Uncover Calabria’s production heritage as you indulge in authentic wine-tasting, surrounded by picturesque views of the southern mountainous terrain. Located on the southern peninsula of Italy, cradled between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, Calabria’s ancient vineyards have maintained the heritage of Italy’s lesser-known indigenous grape varieties for centuries. Calabria’s wine portfolio is predominantly red, with approximately 90 per cent of its wines showcasing the Gaglioppo grape variety, that flourishes in the region’s favourable climate.
Nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine mountains, Le Marche stands as one of Italy’s most diverse wine-producing regions. From expansive vineyards to quaint old towns and medieval villages, Le Marche is rich in exploration opportunities. Expanding across approximately eighteen-thousand hectares of vineyards, the town is celebrated for its exquisite white wines produced from the Trebbiano and Verdicchio grape varieties. Whereas, in the southern part of Le Marche, you can discover exceptional red wines, showcasing varieties such as Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Vernaccia, and Lacrima. While immersing yourself in the family-operated wineries of Le Marche, take a detour to to visit Urbino, a Renaissance gem, the vibrant harbor town of Ancona, and a few of the region’s remarkable caves and gorges.