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Tuscany is famous for its wines, so if you’re planning on exploring the many Tuscany wineries out there, how do you decide where to go? Keep reading to discover some of the best wineries in Tuscany and what makes the Tuscan countryside such an amazing place for producing wines.

What are the most common grape varieties and styles of wines produced in Tuscany?

Certainly most people will think of red wine when it comes to Tuscan wines, as the production of Tuscan vineyards is nearly 86% red wine, which is disproportionately high compared to most other Italian wine making regions.

Of all the wine produced here, nearly two thirds comes from the Sangiovese grape, making it Italy’s most commonly planted grape varietal. Each DOC/DOCG (the certifications that dictate the grape type, growing location and how the wine is made) has different requirements for the percentage of Sangiovese required, but it can often be blended with other local red varieties like Ciliegiolo and Canaiolo Nero.

And while white wine surely takes a back seat to the big reds of the region, it should be noted that Tuscany carries one DOCG for white wines, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This grape, which predates even the Renaissance times (it was noted in Dante’s Divine Comedy), has been a noble grape in the region for centuries.

Another noteworthy white grape varietal in Tuscany is Vermentino, often also commonly planted in Liguria and Sardinia, but most commonly planted white grape in Tuscany vineyards is the Trebbiano, which often will find its way into the famous Vin Santo of this region.

What is a Super Tuscan?

Due to the growing frustration of limitations of the DOC/DOCG rules, and thanks to the success of the American Napa Valley in the 80’s and 90’s, another style of red wines emerged in the later part of the 20th century called Super Tuscans.

These were basically wines made using the internationally famed grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and other non-indigenous grapes, which are now commonly found under the IGT classification. Sassicaia was the first of this style of wine which was produced in 1968, which is made on the Tuscan coast, or Maremma, in what is now a DOC region called Bolgheri.

How many wine regions are in Tuscany?

In terms of classified wine producing zones, Tuscany boasts 11 DOCG’s, 41 DOC’s (the most of any Italian region) and 6 IGT’s. In terms of DOCG wines, the most famous varieties you’ll find are Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Region: Chianti

The Chianti region covers about 100 square miles between the city of Florence to the north and Siena to the south. The Chianti Classico zone, or what is considered the original and historical viticulture area of Chianti, is also now subdivided by 11 UGA’s (additional geographic units) which can be listed on the label:

  • San Casciano
  • Montefioralle
  • Greve
  • Panzano
  • Lamole
  • San Donato in Poggio
  • Castellina
  • Radda
  • Gaiole
  • Vagliali
  • Castelnuovo Berardenga

Chianti’s history dates back until at least the 13th century, when Chianti was actually a white wine. The more recent Chianti you are familiar with comes from Baron Bettino Ricasoli who created the Chianti “recipe” in 1872, suggesting 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca.

Today, and as of 1995, you can legally make Chianti from 100% Sangiovese, previously 10% of white grapes was required.

Region: Montepulciano

Montepulciano has been an important winemaking village producing wine for over 1,000 years.

The Contucci family cellars actually date to around that time and are built into the walls around the village which date to the 10th and 11th centuries.

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Region: Montalcino

Unlike Montepulciano, Montalcino is a more recent phenomenon which has had nearly unrivalled success (with the obvious exceptions of Barolo and Barbaresco).

While Montalcino wines have existed for centuries, before the 20th century, much of their wine business was making a sweet sparkling white wine. The Montalcino known today for producing Brunello di Montalcino, was a solo producer, Biondi-Santi, who created the first 100% Sangiovese Grosso wine in 1865, after many experiments to understand which clone might give the best structure to the wine.

After World War II, the number of winemakers making a Brunello grew to 11, but the region completely ballooned after the American-owned Castello Banfi arrived in 1978, bringing much added fame to the region, and today has over 250 producers.

Brunello di Montalcino was awarded DOCG status in 1980 and is known for producing some of the finest wines of Italy with great structure and age-worthiness. Today, one hectare of land in this zone will cost you over $1 million.

Wine Tasting in Tuscany

One other important thing to note about Italian wineries is that many are family owned and operated. Therefore they often do not have the formal tasting rooms you may be more familiar with if you are used to visiting wineries in California or other spots in the USA.

As wine tourism grows in Italy, some of the larger wine estates will now often have a more formal tasting room to accommodate wine tours or a private tasting event however.

Regardless, it is always best to make a reservation for wine tasting ahead of time, as opposed to planning on just dropping by. Also, many artisans in Tuscany wineries will speak limited English but often that can make for the most fun – you’ll learn to communicate in other ways! Stick with the larger wineries if you are looking for better English for your wine tour.

Wineries near Florence Italy

If you are staying in Florence, you’ll need to have a car to reach the surrounding vineyards in the Chianti and Chianti Classico areas.

To start, for local recommendations of the Tuscany wineries or if you simply want to visit a great wine bar and wine shop in Florence, I would highly recommend Enoteca Pitti Gola. They are experts on the Chianti wine region and Tuscan vineyards, and offer an extensive wine list of artisan and important Tuscan and Italian wines for you to taste.

Undoubtedly one of the best wineries in Tuscany, and one of the most important artisan winemakers in this zone, is Selvapiana, who is producing incredible wine from certified organically farmed vineyards. Their Chianti Classico can sometimes even be enjoyable after 50 years.

Also utilizing biodynamic farming techniques is the wine estate of Castello dei Rampolla, who has a portfolio of traditional and Super Tuscan wines.

It would almost be impossible not to mention the Antinori family when speaking about Chianti wine and the best Tuscan wineries to visit. They are one of the largest wineries and oldest families in wine making in Italy. A visit here will be at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from a visit with an artisan wine making family, but may be more suitable for families with children or for those looking for more of a wine museum experience.

They offer guided tours of their estate vineyards to explain the history, architecture, and wine making traditions, before finishing in their museum and taste three wines in a glass museum tasting room.

Wineries near Siena Italy

To reach Montalcino or Montepulciano from Siena, you can expect a beautiful scenic one hour drive through the Tuscan countryside’s rolling hills, filled with olive groves and vineyards.

In Montepulciano, a must visit among the many wineries to visit here is Contucci, who has one of the oldest wine cellars in the world. The winery also has a wine tasting room where you can taste their portfolio of wines.

In Montalcino, the most important winery to visit for collectors and connoisseurs is Biondi-Santi. But as it can be nearly impossible to get in to explore the estate’s wines, Podere Le Ripi can be a great alternative option to learn about bio-dynamic and regenerative farming. Our other favorite wineries to visit in this area are Baricci, Poggiarellino and Pietroso.

Wineries near Cortona

One of the classic wineries in Tuscany not to be missed is Amerighi, making some of the most valued Syrah wine in the region.

Or, if you are more into natural wines, DoTe (an acronym for Down To Earth) run by the son Filippo of another great but larger winery in Cortona, Tenuta d’Alessandria, started his wine project in the corner of his father’s winery and is now making some of the most interesting natural Super Tuscan wines.

A final note…

While there are many winery tours on offer in Tuscany, allowing you to learn more about the best known wines, the beauty of Italian wine often lies in the hospitality you will find in small, family run wine estates.

Wine tastings in these scenarios will often be very informal, hosted in the family’s own kitchen and will sometimes end with them preparing an entire lunch to accompany your wine tasting (and they’ll do this all for free).

I’d highly recommend doing some small winery visits in Italy to experience what wine is here – a convivial beverage to be enjoyed with a beautiful meal and great company.

For more in-depth reading on Tuscany, wineries in Tuscany, wine pairings and more, take a look at the Roscioli Italian Wine Club’s Tuscan Wine Guide here.

We’re here to help you plan your next adventure!

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Lindsay Gabbard

This post was written by Lindsay Gabbard, co-founder of the Roscioli Italian Wine Club and sommelier at Rimessa Roscioli in Rome. Here at AWS we love Lindsay and Roscioli - if you join us for any of our Rome tours, you are guaranteed to find yourself at a wine tasting at Rimessa Roscioli!


  • Barbara B says:

    I absolutely love my Roscioli Wine Club! Amazing wines from small producers, some exclusive to the club and all the info, including great videos. I’ve learned so much and the wine tasting dinner in Rome was super. Thanks Lindsay!

  • Kirsten says:

    Love Roscioli Wine Club!! I so look forward to it receiving my shipment twice a year. This article with winery recommendations is wonderful. Thanks Lindsay & Sarah!

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