Glasses of wine and platter of cured meats and cheese at an Italian aperitivo.
Home » Italian Regions » Tuscany » My Top 5 Wine Bars (Enoteche) in Montepulciano – A Local’s Guide

My Top 5 Wine Bars (Enoteche) in Montepulciano – A Local’s Guide

Last updated on June 22nd, 2024

If you are walking the streets of Montepulciano you have probably noticed that every other storefront seems to be a wine bar or enoteca. So how is one to choose an enoteca? Are you afraid of making the wrong choice and choosing a tourist trap? 

Don’t worry! I have lived just around the corner from Montepulciano for over 10 years and spend 5 days a week in Montepulciano working… I know the town well!

I also love wine. Over the years, I have been to almost all the wine bars in Montepulciano (known as enoteche) and slowly carved out a special place in my heart for these five.

I now have four children and don’t have too much time to leisurely hang out at wine bars like I did back when I first came to Montepulciano as a student but when I do, I know where I am going. 

In this extensive guide to wine bars in Montepulciano, I will share with you my top five enoteche to try while visiting Montepulciano. I will include details about location, best for and why I recommend it. 

And if you are on the move and don’t have time to read through all my thoughts, just check out the top highlighted points under each winery to get a quick snapshot of each one.  

What Is An Enoteca?

Entrance to an enoteca in Montepulciano, Italy. You can see displays of wine bottles inside the doorway and there are also wine bottles displayed on a shelf to the left of the door, outside.

An enoteca (pronounced eh-noh-teh-kah in Italian) is an Italian wine shop doubling as a wine bar where you can also eat (usually) light fare. 

An enoteca will double as both a wine bar to try various wines but also as a wine shop to purchase wines to bring home as souvenirs and gifts

Good enoteche have staff with a thorough understanding and wealth of knowledge in terms of the different wines they carry, pairing advice e and suggestions. 

Enoteche might offer tasting menus or more commonly, wines by the glass that you can sample. 

Listen to the pronunciation of enoteca here:

Fact: The plural form of enoteca is enoteche in Italian. 

Tuscan Wines: Read all about Wines to Try in Tuscany.

What Is Served At An Enoteca?

Close up of Italian charcuterie board - called a tagliere - with cured meats, sliced cheeses, and bread with toppings.
One of the many taglieri I have ordered throughout Italy at enoteche.

In terms of food, it’s usually light fare or smaller portions, but not always. 

Common food items to order at an enoteca in Italy:

  • tagliere misto – mixed cheese and cured meat board
  • tagliere di formaggio – cheese board
  • tagliere di affettati – charcuterie board with cured meat board 
  • crostini – small toasts with various toppings
  • carpaccio – raw meat (either fish or beef)
  • sformato – savory flan

In terms of wine, you will find wines of all kinds, red, whites, roses, bubbles and even sweet wines. 

Platter with grapes, crackers, cheese, and jam.

Good To Know: Wine bars in Montepulciano are specialized in serving locally produced wines. Most will stock solely these wines but others will also branch out into wines made outside of the area. 

Enoteca Hours

Enoteche, unlike other eateries in Italy, are open all day, usually from around 11:00 am through aperitivo hour at about 8:00 pm.

In Montepulciano, I notice a big time difference at closing depending on the season. In the summer when the evenings are beautiful, enoteche will stay open until 9:00 or even 10:00 pm but during the winter, they may close at 7:00 pm. 

1. Vini di Toscana

Entrance to Vini di Toscana shop in Montepulciano, Italy. The doorway is arched and there are wines on shelves on either side of the door.

Best For: Indoor seating & formal setting

Location: Base of Montepulciano

Order: Tagliere (cheese or charcuterie board)

Why Visit: Intimate setting with knowledgeable staff and great selection of wine. 

Good To Know: Of all my recommendations, this is the one place I enjoy much more without my small children. 

Vini di Toscana is a really nice, intimate wine bar to check out if it’s raining or too hot to be outdoors. Their staff is very helpful in helping you choose wines to try, especially if you are a newbie to Italian wines or don’t know what you do and don’t like. 

They are famous for their tagliere but I was first drawn to Vini di Toscana because of their extensive knowledge of wine.

Fit In: Learn How to Toast in Italian!

2. Enoliteca

Main entrance to Enoliteca in Montepulciano, Italy. Brick archway in front of door. Chalkboard sign to left of door.

Best For: Trying all the different wines from Montepulciano & outdoor seating

Location: Fortezza (Top of Montepulciano)

Order: Sampling glasses (33 cc) instead of whole glasses (107 cc) and small bites

Why Visit: Built on an archeological site that you can see from the tasting room while tasting over 100 wines “on tap”. 

Good To Know: Serves exclusively Montepulciano wines.

Wine tasting machines and displays of wines. Man looking at machines.

Enoliteca is by far the most innovative and creative wine bar experience I have had in Montepulciano. They have a very new, technological system of self-service which preserves the wine’s properties as best possible after the bottle has been opened. 

The wine is dispensed from fancy machines that prevent oxygen from deteriorating the wine. Choose from either a tasting (33 cc) or a full glass (107 cc) and make your way through whatever Montepulciano wine you like. 

How It Works:

  • Get a pre-charged card at the counter as you walk in with a virtual credit of €100 
  • Head to the tasting room and consult the wine list with descriptions in the book at each table. 
  • Take a glass and bring your card to the machine dispensing your wine of choice (listed in book). 
  • Use the card to activate the machine and choose your glass size (sample or full).
  • When you have finished sampling, bring your card to the counter and you will be charged for what you have virtually spent in the tasting room. 

While this is the absolute best value in terms of sampling different wines, it’s a bit strange as it has a “robotic” feel to the whole thing. That being said, I loved it and I love the outdoor terrace with panoramic view. 

Inside Montepulciano, Italy's Enoliteca. You can see wine tasting machines and tables set with wine glasses.

The indoor seating area is also built upon an archeological site with a clear floor so you can look down and study the site. My whole family had a great time checking this out and when my kids had had enough, they went outside to play quietly on the terrace. 

3. Enoteca Contucci

Old stone building with wooden door that's an entrance to a cantina in Italy.

Best For: Indoor Seating and visitors looking to support a historic winery in Montepulciano

Location: Piazza Grande (Top of Montepulciano)

Order: A tasting of Contucci wines paired with one of their suggested local products

Why Visit: Supporting the local wineries is my favorite way to show my love for Montepulciano. Enjoy a tour of their winery and shop their store after a very thorough wine explanation at their enoteca from their friendly staff. 

Bonus: If you have older kids, they can hang out in Piazza Grande while you have your wine. 

Good To Know: Only sells Contucci wine

Hand holding up wine glass with a small amount of red wine. There are wine bottles stacked and displayed behind it.

Enoteca Contucci is one of my favorite of the historic wineries in Montepulciano. It’s also the oldest and is in its 41st generation of family management! 

The wines are very good and they offer a wide selection. The enoteca doesn’t have the most elegant atmosphere but the location can’t be beat. It’s right in Piazza Grande and I come here when I want something I can count on. 

The winery also has several options for tasting with snacks which can be ordered either for one or for several people. 

4. E Lucevan le Stelle – Wine Bar Bistro

Small white FIAT parked in front of a wine shop in Italy.

Best For: Panoramic view, sunset and with kids

Location: Top of Montepulciano

Order: Off their menu of the day, usually always including pici

Bonus: Kids can play in the square while you wait for your food. 

Good To Know: Come here either to enjoy a single glass of wine or for a full dinner

E Lucevan le Stelle was the first wine bar I came to when I first visited Montepulciano back in 2012. When I moved here and came back to Montepulciano a couple of years later, I was determined to hunt down this place and return. 

And I did! It wasn’t too hard to find because it’s located in one of the most panoramic squares in Montepulciano just off of Piazza Grande. 

Feel free to order just one glass of wine and enjoy the sunset or stay for a whole dinner. The menu changes seasonally but some basics such as tagliere and pici pasta remain the same. 

Chalkboard on brick wall with cultural rules for Italy drinks.

They also have this board with a sign that couldn’t be a better reminder to tourists:

  1. No ice in wine.
  2. No cappuccino during a meal
  3. No spritz after dinner (I do see Italians ordering a spritz after dinner though)

5. La Vineria

People sitting at small, tall tables with umbrellas in front of an enoteca in a small Italian town.

Best For: Outdoor seating with great people watching 

Location: Base of Montepulciano (Porta al Prato)

Order: Tagliere (cheese or charcuterie board)

Good To Know: Wide selection of wines made outside of Montepulciano as well

La Vineria is one of the first places you will spot as you start making your way up Montepulciano from the base at Porta al Prato. It has a small outdoor eating area lining the street, which they expand in the height of tourist season. 

I find this one of the best places to people watch as you enjoy your tagliere and glass of wine because most people walk through this main entrance to enter Montepulciano. You get a glimpse of almost everyone!

This is definitely the “easiest” and most casual place of all my recommendations but the selection is vast and I trust the staff for recommendations. If they don’t have a table when you stop by, book a table for later on in the day and come back!

People eating and drinking red wine at tables outside on a small street in Italy.

Need help in planning the rest of your time in Montepulciano? Consider these guides to help organize your upcoming trip:

Heading to Florence Next? If so, check out My Favorite Wine Bars (Enoteche) in Florence!