While Italy may be small in terms of size, Italian winemakers keep pace with those from other countries for production and exportation of wine and is currently second to France for world’s largest producer of wine. However, in the last few decades Italian wine producers have worked hard to ensure quality is every bit as high as quantity, earning international attention and respect from the wine community for exceptional wines like Brunello di Montalcino or Amarone (to name only a couple!).
The combination of the warm Mediterranean climate and the rich soil of the hilly terrain are ideal for growing grapes. Add to that the longstanding tradition of making fine wine coupled with new advances in modern viticulture and Italy has secured her place among the very best wine regions around the globe. Travelers who enjoy a glass of wine paired with good food will find a gastronomic utopia here in the land also celebrated for amazing regional culinary delights.
To help wine consumers understand the quality of wine produced in the country, Italy has developed a strict regulation system to govern wine production. Watch for the industry leading few hundred Denominazioni di Origine Controllata (DOC) or Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines as well as several hundred more Indicazioni Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines.
What is really interesting with the wine industry in Italy is that you will find both international varieties of grapes - such as Chardonnay or Merlot - as well as indigenous varieties such as Prosecco (also known as Glera), Fiano, and many others. Finding the wines made from these truly Italian grapes makes exploring Italy’s wine regions a wonderful cultural adventure for those new to wines and serious wine collectors alike.
If you have never gone to a wine tasting, there are some ground rules that will help your experience go smoothly. The idea of a wine tasting is not just to sample the wine, but also to have the opportunity to ask the growers and professionals at the winery about their wines and the process of wine making.