Discover the wines of Italy
Region by region
With more than 1,000,000 acres of vineyard and more than 350 grape varieties, Italy is the biggest wine producer in the world.
20 Geographical Regions – 20 Wine Regions
If you had on your travel bucket list a trip to all the wine regions in Italy, this would mean visiting the whole of Italy – each one of the 20 Italian regions has its own wine and this since millennia.
For the person who wants to learn more about the wine they drink we have compiled a list of the wine regions of Italy and the main grape varieties that are cultivated there (we’re not saying that drinking and enjoying the wine is not enough, we’re just saying that sometimes, some of the wine is so heavenly good that it compels us to go on the Internet to search and find out more about where it comes from; and this research sometimes extends to the areas around, the whole region, the whole country … you get the idea).
We plan to go one step down and talk about each one of the sub regions and their grape varieties (and also present you with a selection of interesting wines from these regions). One glass at a time.
We will list the wine region geographically starting from North West going down to the South to help you put the things on a map (and create an itinerary for when we will be ready to travel again).
Here we have: Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Piemonte (Piedmont), Lombardia (Lombardy), and Liguria.
Rather high in elevation (wine is cultivated to up to 1200m of altitude), Valle d’Aosta is the smallest wine region in Italy. The grape varieties you will find here are, for the red wines: Nebbiolo, Petit Rouge, Pinot Noir, and for the white wines: Moscato, Petit Arvine, Prié blanc
South from Valle d’Aosta, Piemonte has the wine production concentrate in three main regions around Cuneo, Alessandria, and Asti (Moscato d’Asti anyone?) The main grape varieties cultivated in this wine region are: (for the red wines) Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, (for the white wines) Moscato, Arneis, Cortese.
South from Piemonte and north from the Mediterranean. The grape varieties are: (for the white wines) Vermentino, Pigato, and for the red wines: Rossese, Dolcetto, and Sangiovese.
You might know it more for its capital (Milan) than for its wine, but Alpine Lombardy has a vast array of great wines that will surprise you. The main grape varieties are: Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir (red wines), and for the whites: Verdicchio, Chardonnay, and Pinot Bianco.
This area extends South from Austria and down to Venice. Here we have three main regions: Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Veneto.
Trentino Alto Adige
This is the Italian region with the most Austrian influence. You will find here grape varieties such as: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Gewürtztraminer (all whites), and (for the reds) Pinot Noir, Schiava, and Lagrein.
Friuli Venezia Giulia
The longer growing season of the grapes in this eastern area of Italy makes for balanced fruity wines. The grape varieties you can find here are: Pinot Grigio, Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (whites), and Merlot (red).
South from the previous two, Veneto is one of the Tre Venezie regions of Italy. Most known are Valpolicella (if you thought Amarone, you were right) and, of course, Prosecco. The grape varieties of this region are: Valpolicella, Merlot (reds), Glera (Prosecco), and Gargenega (both whites).
This area includes: Toscana (Tuscany), Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, and Molise.
Even if house names like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and some other famous Super Tuscan seem to be around since forever, it is only in the 70s that this wine region begun to develop into what we now know and enjoy. The grape varieties of this region are: Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (reds), Trebbiano and Vermentino (whites).
The island of Elba has its own grape variety called Ansonica (Inzolia), a white wine variety.
Lambrusco is probably the best known wine of this region whose capital, Bologna, is (unofficially) the food capital of Italy. Other than Lambrusco (red), the wine varieties of this region are: Sangiovese (red), Malvasia, and Trebbiano (white wines).
Sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, the Marche region produces beautiful white wines and fruity reds. For the white wines we have: Verdicchio, Trebbiano, Bianchello, Pecorino. In the reds: Lacrima
Mostly known for its white wines produced around Orvieto, Umbria has its fare share of beautiful reds. The red wines are: Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, The white wines are: Grechetto, Trebbiano.
The region around Rome produces wines that are light, fresh and made to be drunk immediately. You will find here Malvasia, Trebbiano, for the white wines. For the reds we have: Cesanese, Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Merlot
One of the least known wine region of Italy, Abruzzo still produces around 20 million cases per year. The grape varieties that you will find in Abbruzzo are: Montepulciano, Sangiovese (all reds), Trebbiano (White wine)
The grape varieties in this region are: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Aglianico, all red wines, and Pinot Grigio (white).
The southern part of Italy includes the following regions: Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, Sicilia (Sicily), Sardegna (Sardinia).
Napoli is the capital of Campania and the place where good wine and food are cherished (is there a place in Italy where this is not the case?) Aglianico is the only red wine of the region. Fiano, Falanghina, Greco are all whites, fruity and flavourful.
With vineyards set on mountainous volcanic soil, Basilicata is not one of the most known wine regions of Italy. The grape varieties are: Aglianico, Syrah (all reds), and Moscato (white wine).
The dry and hot “heel” of Italy produces powerful and bold red wines. The grape varieties are: Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia nera, Uva di Troia, all reds, and Chardonnay for the white wines.
Calabria was one of the oldest wine producers in the region until the phylloxera epidemic. The grape varieties of the region are: Greco for the whites, and Gaglioppo, Magliocco for the red wines.
Fortified wines (Marsala), sweet wines but also drier wines are the stapples of Sicily. The grape varieties in Sicily are: For the red wines: Nero d’Avola, and white wines: Catarratto, Grillo, Inzolia
Sardinian wines are dark and fruity, with low acidity, light bodied, and high alcohol. The grape varieties in Sardinia are: For the red wines: Cannonau (Grenache), Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, and for the white wines: Vermentino, Malvasia, Moscato.