Last updated on January 5th, 2024
If you plan on coming to Tuscany, then you probably are interested in doing a little wine tasting while you are here.
You may be wondering where you should go, or if winery visits are the same here as they are where you’re from.
If you are asking yourself either of these questions, you are in the right place. I have been touring Tuscan wineries for over a decade and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.
In this article, I’ll go over:
- When to go wine tasting in Tuscany
- How to book a tour at a Tuscan winery
- How to get to wineries and parking
- Wine tasting Etiquette
- Purchasing Wine in Italy
- Bringing wine home from Italy
With my top tips and best practices for wine tasting in Tuscany, you can make the best of your experience visiting wineries throughout the region, no matter where you are!
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When To Go Wine Tasting in Tuscany
The best season to go wine tasting in is the Spring and Fall. I suggest the late spring, in May when it’s not scorching hot yet in Tuscany but you can anyhow benefit from the long, sunny days. Some wineries will offer their tasting outdoors overlooking a panoramic view of the countryside.
The fall is another great time, particularly in late September and into early October because of the vendemmia or grape harvest which is well underway. Although wineries are extremely busy at this time and some might not take visits in these weeks, it’s an amazing opportunity to see the grapes being processed if you can.
I like to go wine tasting right before lunch. I don’t like visits that are too early and after lunch I am usually useless when on vacation. Many Tuscan wineries offer lunch as well, which can be arranged just after your wine cellar tour and tasting. Be sure to ask each winery if lunch is an option.
How To Book Your Tuscan Winery Visit And Tour
If you wish to organize your own Tuscan winery tour, the best option is to get in touch directly with the winery. I have always had prompt responses with detailed attachments detailing different booking formulas and pricing.
Most wineries ask for at least a week’s notice to fully accommodate you, unless of course, you are in a very large group or have special requests. In these cases, get in touch a least a month prior, if not several.
If, however, you are the kind of traveler who doesn’t like to lift a finger or wants to totally indulge in your wine tasting experience, consider a pre-organized wine tour, which may include transportation.
Here are some examples of organized wine tours:
|Chianti Wine and Food Tour With Tasting
|Tuscany Guided Day Trip with Lunch & Wine Tasting
|Southern Tuscany (Montepulciano and Pienza included)
|All day (13 hours)
|Brunello di Montalcino Guided Wine Tour With Lunch
|Small Group Wine Tasting & Winery Tour
|Val D’Orcia, Montepulciano, Pienza Wine Tour
|Southern Tuscany (Montepulciano and Pienza included)
|All day (11.5 hours)
|Winery Tour and Tasting
|Winery Tour with Wine Tasting
Transportation When Wine Tasting
Unless you are doing an all-inclusive wine tour that leaves from a neighboring city or town, count on having to drive to the Tuscan winery.
Keep in mind that wine tasting in Italy isn’t an opportunity to get blasted. Some of you might, and that’s fine! BUT Italy is tough on driving under the influence. For more information on drinking in Italy, read The Legal Drinking Age In Italy – Advice From A Local.
Good To Know: Nowadays, most wineries are really well marked and even have signs indicating their direction from major crossroads. Keep your eyes peeled for these signs and stick to your GPS. If the winery has given you other instructions to follow, it means that your GPS will not take you to the correct location (this does still happen in Italy and I have gotten stuck having to turn around several times on small not-through roads).
Parking At Wineries
Wineries will always have a parking lot located most likely just off of the main estate or off to the side of the offices. Look for parking signs or just put yourself next to other cars.
Wine Tasting Etiquette
You might read or have noticed that some wineries, especially if they are niche or high end wineries, might not charge you for a tasting. If this is the case, it’s implied that you will be purchasing for them.
Remember, when you do a wine tasting, the winery anyhow has to open a whole bottle for you.
Wineries will provide a small can for you to spit your wine out after trying it. Use it – it’s not rude to taste and spit. If everyone drank every drop of wine from a wine tasting, no one would be eligible to drive you home.
The legal drinking age in Italy is 18. Please don’t ask wineries to serve underage children, even if it’s just a taste.
Don’t help yourself to more wine at a tasting unless they have indicated otherwise. The server or hostess will do this for you as he or she explains each wine.
If you have immediately decided to purchase the wine after your wine tasting and tour, do so as many Tuscan wineries only sell to a small niche market, making them difficult to find at enoteche or wine shops abroad and in Italy.
If you are just looking to bring a bottle or two home with you as a souvenir or gift, buy them directly onsite and consider buying the beautiful wooden boxes that most wineries sell. These will keep the wines safe as you travel and make for great gift boxes and other uses later on.
If you are on the fence about buying wine that day or you would like to try more wine before committing, don’t feel pressured (unless they give you a free tasting and in this case, you really should buy something) and buy later. For more about tasting wine in Italy, read Where to Drink Wine in Italy.
Bringing Wine Home
Most wineries are happy to ship bottles home to you abroad. The cost of shipping, however, is going to be added to the total cost of the wine. Keep in mind that the more you buy, the lower shipping costs are going to be.
It’s in your best interest to ship several bottles, such as a case of 12, and split it with friends and family to make the shipping cost worth it.
Tips for Wine Tasting In Tuscany
After wine tasting in Tuscany for years now, these are my best tips to ensure you have the best experience possible:
- Drink lots of water before going.
- Drink lots of water during your tasting.
- Wineries love your questions! Ask many and show thanks for your visit.
- If you enjoyed the wine, the best way to show this is by buying it.
- Spread the word! Many small wineries rely on word of mouth.
- Be sure you have assigned a designated driver if you aren’t on a winery tour that includes transportation.
- Consider a car hire for multiple visits to Tuscan wineries in a single day.
Read about my visits to wineries in Tuscany: