Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Etruscan and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before Romans started to develop their own vineyards in the second century BC. Roman grape-growing and wine making was prolific and well organized, pioneering large-scale production and storage techniques like barrel-making and bottling. Wine is part of the culture in Italy, every small village and little hamlet produce a local wine to be drunk with their meals. Italy itself has the overall richest variety of grapes and wine styles of any country. This is hardly a surprise; the country has a diverse set of climates and landscapes that just beg for vine growing. Wine-making in Italy has evolved greatly in the past 30 years; most wineries are more modern in style, boasting stainless steel fermenters, pneumatic grape presses, and other contemporary technology to help with the winemaking. Yet Italy is still stubbornly traditional, winemakers will still stomp grapes by foot and adhere to making the wine in the same style that their great grandfather did years before.


Famous for the villages of Orvieto, Torgiano, and Montefalco, Umbria built a reputation for high quality olive oil, however renown is growing recently for the wines produced here. In the centre of Umbria is the town of Montefalco, here the native Sagrantino grape is cultivated. These dense dark reds are grown on clay soils and ripen well in the intense summer weather. These conditions produce a brambly red wine with a velvet texture and a hint of blackberry jam.


This island off the "toe" of Italy is home to the towering volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna. Sicily is home for many young winemakers who take advantage of the hot sun and mountainous landscape to craft larger more opulent wines. As well as the indigenous white grapes Cataratto and Grenacito, the region makes excellent full bodied Chardonnay. The red wines of this region focus on Cannonau (Grenache), Nero d'Avola, and Frappato (another of the Marsala grapes). These red wines, as with the whites, lean to the plumper style of winemaking.


Puglia is the "heel" or Achilles tendon of the Italian boot. With a long coastline and delightfully hot weather, this region is perfect for growing rich red wines with generous fruit and alcohol. The main red grapes of the region are Uva di Troia, Negroamaro and Primitivo. Primitivo shares the same DNA as Zinfandel and has a lot of the same qualities, producing wines which are fruit forward and big bodied. Thanks to recent government schemes to limit production the overall quality of wine has risen, innovative young winemakers are leading the way with different blends of indigenous grapes and "international" varieties.


In Northwest Italy lies the Piedmont region (Piemonte in Italian.), most famous for the production of Barolo and Barbaresco, the long lived wines from the Nebbiolo grape. The Langhe and Monferrato hills here provide excellent growing conditions for creating the balance of delicate floral notes and tannic structure found in these wines. The grape is named after the fog, or "Nebbia", which shrouds the vineyards in a white veil just before harvest. The wines themselves are intrinsically linked with the food of the region, often having notes of the indigenous white truffles the region is famous for. Recently an upsurge of interest in some of the other local varieties such as Barbera and Dolcetto has taken the U.S. market by storm. Softer than their Barolo and Barbaresco counterparts, and providing more succulent fruit, these wines are priced to be an easier drinking choice with any simple meal.


The Apennines mountain range runs the length of this region and dominates the landscape of the interior. Towards the east is the Adriatic Sea and over one hundred miles of coastline. The Maritime influences dictate the weather here and provide perfect weather for whites in the North, and a warmer clime for plump reds in the South. The main grape for the whites is Verdicchio. Verdicchio grows well around the towns of Jesi and Matelico producing balanced wines with soft herbal notes, flavors of Bosc pear and tart yellow apple. The red wines from the towns of Piceno and Conero are based on the Montepulciano grape. The style leans towards that of a red wine from Chianti, but with a softer more supple feel.


South of Piedmont, commanding glorious beach-front views is Liguria. Famous for the tourist areas of Dolceacqua, Cinque Terre, and of course the olive groves which are planted throughout the region. The mountainous countryside and sea breezes allow the production of light aromatic wines from the Vermentino and Pigato Bianco grapes. These wine make excellent matches with the local food; calamari and white fish are great meals when paired with these wines.


In the Northeast corner of Italy, sandwiched between the borders of Slovenia, Austria, and the Veneto region, lies Friuli. With cold air from the Alps in the North and a more moderate influence from the Adriatic in the South, Friuli has a long cool growing climate particularly suited for producing crisp white wine. Here Pinot Grigio, Friulano, and Malvasia produce lean, yet aromatic whites which pair well with food. The ancient red variety Refosco produces notable reds here; and the gravel soils reminiscent of Bordeaux have produced great success with Merlot since its introduction in the late 1800's. On a warm day in Friuli the local wine is paired with sauerkraut, prosciutto, veal shanks, and pasta.


Campania is a beautiful region visited by many tourists from Italy and abroad. The climate is split between the coastal areas and the inland reaches. By the coast the weather is sunny, Mediterranean and excellent for ripening full fruit forward grapes. Inland the weather is more comparable to the climate of Piedmont, and is better for ripening grapes with higher acidity and tarter fruit flavors. The popular white grapes of the region are Greco di Tufo and Falanghina. Greco di Tufo creates mild mannered wines with subtle aromatics, whereas wines from Falanghina have more zip and freshness to them. The main red grape of the region is Aglianico, a feisty red grape producing concentrated wine with excellent structure and tannins.


The Abruzzo is located halfway down the Italian peninsula, east of Rome, bounded by the Adriatic to the east, Molise to the south, and the Marche to the north. Bucolic and devoted almost entirely to agriculture, this is a hardscrabble land, much like the neighboring provinces, where historically it has been difficult to eke out a living.  Rolling hills abound, covered with trellises hanging heavy with Montepulciano, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, and Pecorino grapes.  These are soft, sun-filled, easy-drinking whites and reds, destined to pair with grilled seafood and red sauces.  While most domaines in this zone produce quantity over quality, Vinum's partners are focused on delivering great wines at affordable prices.


The Veneto in the Northeast of Italy produces wines of all styles. Far to the east and just North of Venice are the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, the finest Prosecco is produced here, a delicious alternative to Champagne. The wine is known for its softer apple dominated nose and easy drinking style. On the Western boundary of the Veneto is Lake Garda which helps to moderate the growing climate in the nearby Valpolicella region. Here the Corvina and Rondinella grapes are grown, the best of which are put through the "appassimento" process. This process is used to make Amarone by drying the grapes and concentrating the grape sugars, thus creating a larger bodied wine with notes of fig and chocolate. Further south and east is the up and coming region of Colli Euganei. The volcanic hills here are perfect for the growing of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.


For over 3,000 years, since the days of the ancient Etruscans, wine making has been a part of the Tuscan civilization. Located just above the "kneecap" of Italy, the Sangiovese grape is the heart and soul of this region. The reputation of this region was smirched in the '70s and early '80s with a glut of over-cropped, thin, insipid Chianti. Modern technological advances and changes to the wine laws have brought the prestige back to this region. Chianti Classico is once again considered to be a top wine on the world stage. These advances and the wine law changes have also benefited the growth of more international style wines: Dubbed "Super-Tuscans" in the 1970s and 1980s, they were some of the highest priced and best wines produced in Italy. They were made outside of the wine laws of the time; mixing in Cabernet Sauvignon with the Sangiovese, using only Bordeaux grape varieties, or aging in French oak barriques, producers created wines which were richer and more structured than Chianti could produce at the time. These modern practices and non-traditional blends continue today under the auspice of the IGT labeling system. Within the Chianti region is the town of Montalcino, famous for the long-lived Brunello di Montalcino wine. This wine is a muscular wine created from Sangiovese and given extended oak aging in barrels to help temper its deep tannic nature.

Italy Wine Producers

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Italy AreaProducerLabelAbout the producer
AbruzzoContesaContesa is located in Abruzzo, 20 km from Pescara, on the sunny hills of Collecorvino. Local varieties such as Montepulciano, Trebbiano, and Pecorino are cultivated here. Winemaker Rocco Pasetti crafts wines with a focus on preserving the natural characteristics of the grapes. For more info, please visit their website:
Azienda Agricola Contesa
FriuliAlbericeAlberice is located near Corno di Rosazzo, not far from the Slovenian border in the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC. The soils here are a unique mix called "ponca", a blend of volcanic soils and glacial debris that is incredibly mineral, giving Alberice wines (especially the whites) a pronounced, nervy edge. Winemaker Francesco Carpene uses no wood, and no heavy-handed winemaking, the wines are fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel, to preserve both the freshness of fruit and the mineral character of the land. The cooling winds from the Alps, and the moderate sea influence from the Gulf of Trieste keeps the region cool. This special combination means grapes at Alberice are harvested a good week or two later than surrounding regions, resulting in more concentration and better balance in each bottle.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
LiguriaDurinDurin is a family farm and winery located in Ortovero in western Liguria. The region has a long history of winemaking, yet much of its production stays in the area for the consumption of locals and the tourists at the nearby picturesque town of Cinque Terre. Ligurian viticulture is best known for its terrain, terraced vineyards are dug into precipitous hillsides, much akin to Côte Rôtie in France. Winemaker Antonio Basso cares for more than 40 acres of vines in this rugged earth. Vines here are naturally low yielding, and grapes as a result are rich, ripe and infused with the character of the land.
Durin produces single-varietal wines, as to best showcase the history and purity of its native grapes. The "prince" of Ligurian wines is Pigato, a white grape native to the region and cultivated for more than 100 years on these rocky slopes. Originally from Greece, Pigato is believed to have been introduced to Liguria around the 1600s, and is a distant cousin of Vermentino. Intensely perfumed, medium-bodied and very fresh, Pigato is an obvious pairing with Ligurian seafood dishes.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
PiedmontRonchiGiancarlo Rocca named his winery "Ronchi" because it is located in the middle of one of the most famous crus of Barbaresco called "Ronchi", right next to Montestefano. Ronchi means hillsides; Rocca means rock. Those names work nicely together to describe the essence of this winery. Steep hillsides, ideally located, full of stones: an Eden for Nebbiolo grapes. Rocca crafts a Barbaresco from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the famous "Ronchi" vineyard, which is traditionally fermented and aged in older botte, or larger older oak barrels.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
PugliaTorre QuartoTorre Quarto is owned by the Farussi family who have made wine here for generations.
More than a hundred years ago, the estate sold grapes to Bordeaux winemakers, as did many southern Italian winemakers with large crops and dense, concentrated grapes.
Stefano Cirillo Farrusi, the youngest grandson of the original owner, stepped in to rescue Torre Quarto from over production and anonymity. He hired enologist Cristoforo Pastore to help isolate the estate's most suitable vines and focus overall on the best local, and unusual grape varietals.
These include the fruity and juicy red Uva di Troia, and the powerful Primitivo, the alleged grandmother of Zinfandel.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
SicilyPietradolceEtna's ancient vines Nerello Mascalese are grown on the jet-black volcanic slopes of the region. This little black grape from the town of Mascali, on the coast has for over a century been cultivated on the large island of Sicily. Practically every family on the mountain had a handful of gnarled vines; homemade wine was enjoyed with family alongside local meat and produce. After World War II, however, these precious vineyards were abandoned in droves. It wasn't until the early 1990s when Italy's young winemakers rediscovered these vines.
Winemaker Michele Faro makes wine from the estate's modest seven acres of vineyards located at more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The "Archineri" Etna Rosso is a 100% Nerello Mascalese wine, harvested by hand and then fermented in tank, and then aged in a mix of new and older large barrels.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
TuscanyBuonamicoThe Buonamico estate is located southwest of Montecarlo, in the Cercatoia area, and covers an area of 38 hectares, 26 of which are dedicated to specialized vineyards.
The winery was founded by renowned restaurateurs from Turin in the early 1960s with the purpose of furnishing their restaurants with wines from Montecarlo. Today, the Estate, which is owned by the Fontana family, has expanded in terms of both vineyard land and wine cellar space. While preserving the essential characteristics of ancient winemaking flavours, the “Buonamico” winery has now become one of Montecarlo’s leading producers of fine wines.

Check out Buonamico's Web site here.
TuscanyFattoria ParadisoSuperstar enologist Paolo Caciorgna is the winemaker at Fattoria Paradiso and is a leading example of how great local San Gimignano white wines can be. Vernaccia is a local white grape varietal that is bottled as Vernaccia di San Gimignano; much of the wine is of an average quality that is sold on name alone. Caciorgna is fighting this with a Vernaccia that is refreshing and strikingly aromatic, aged in entirely stainless steel. Wines are all produced from rigorously controlled yields, with less than 30-35 hectoliters per hectare, and produce a wine with complexity and balance.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
TuscanyViottoloThe Capalle Winery is a 500-acre, family-owned estate producing the Viottolo labeled wines. All of the Viottolo wines are made using estate grown grapes grown mostly in the Chianti region. The Chianti Classico wines take advantage of a recent change in the DOCG laws, and add a little Cabernet Sauvignon to the Sangiovese. This adds a bit of dark fruit and smooth tannins to the wine, ultimately creating a richer wine. The IGT wines are produced in a slightly more modern style using French oak Barriques for aging and a pre-fermentation skin soak to help extract color and flavor.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
VenetoRive Della ChiesaThe name Rive Della Chiesa is synonymous with genuine quality, freshness of flavor and simplicity. The company was founded in the town of Selva del Montello, located in the province of Treviso, by the Gasparetto family. Today, brothers Luigi and Michele run the family business applying their expertise and attention to detail to all the various stages of production.
The planting of new vineyards particularly suited for the soil of Montello and the technical innovations applied to the cantina show the brothers' sensibility toward a final product created with passion, wisdom, knowledge and professionalism, keeping in mind the most ancient of traditions. This is how Rive Della Chiesa creates its great reds and whites and its excellent Prosecco Spumante.
This is certainly a production destined to wine lovers, wine experts and restaurateurs.
For tasting & technical notes, winery & vineyard information, please see:
Rive della Chiesa
VenetoVignalta(Sold by Vinum in Washington Only) Vignalta is the brainchild of Lucio Gomiero and Graziano Cardin. Founded in 1980, the winery is located in Marlunghe in the Colli Euganei. The Colli Euganei is a group of hills to the east of Lake Garda and Valpolicella. There are two different types of hills here: The hills produced by magma erupting from the sea bed, and the hills formed when the magma did not erupt, but raised the sea bed instead. The hills created by the volcanic eruptions have loose crumbling volcanic soil covered with thick vegetation. The hills which rose from the sea-bed slope more gently and are coated with chalky outcroppings of marlstone and a thin topsoil layer. Thus the type of wine from the grapes grown on the different hills varies. The volcanic soil is exceedingly good for the production of Merlot and ripens high quality lush Merlot to be used in the "Gemola" wine.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
PiedmontRocche CostamagnaRocche Costamagna is a historic domaine-bottler in La Morra, dating from 1841, though the current incarnation dates from the 1960s. Since the mid 1980s, Alessandro Locatelli has been managing the winery with the help of agronomist Gianpiero Romana (also consults for Damilano and Paolo Conterno) and enologist Giuseppe Caviola (also consults for Vietti, Abbona, Damilano, Einaudi, and Albino Rocca). Alessandro has made the winery what it is today, lowering yields, improving viticulture, and modernizing this winery facility that dates from 1814. A warm and gracious man, Alessandro also operates a small agriturismo at the winery, with sweeping views of the vines below La Morra.
Winery Web Site: Rocche Costamagna
Vinum Profile Sheet: Rocche Costamagna Profile
UmbriaRoccafioreSuperb values and top-quality wines from the Umbrian zone of Todi. Download a comprehensive brochure here: Roccafiore Brochure
And their web site: Roccafiore
VenetoMusellaBiodynamic estate farmed by the Pasqua family. Valpolicella, Amarone, and Recioto wines renowned for their quality. Check out Musella's web site here: Musella Winery
TuscanyVilla di ZanoChianti Classico producer owned by the Folonari family, who also owns Tenuta di Nozzole. Brilliant, fruit-driven Chiantis from Greve. The Folonaris revived this old label to honor the great terroir it represents in Greve: Villa di Zano

Here's a highly informative brochure as well: Villa di Zano
TuscanyColognoleProducer of pure, high-altitude, fruit-driven Chianti Rufina and Chianti Rufina Riserva.
Fact Sheets:
"Sinopie" Chianti
Chianti Rufina Riserva
Chianti Rufina
Emilia-RomagnaMonte delle VigneQuality-minded producer in the hills of Parma: Monte delle Vigne
Alto AdigeWeingut LentschA Grandfather and Grandson, Hartmann and Klaus Lentsch, lead this thoroughly modern but 120 year old domaine: Weingut H. Lentsch
CampaniaCantine di MarzoBack in 1647, Scipione di Marzo, founder of the estate, left San Paolo Belsito to escape the plague that was raging in the region around Naples and found shelter in Tufo.

It is said that he brought with him a variety then called Greco del Vesuvio or Greco di Somma.

After planting it in this new soil, he became the creator of the Greco di Tufo.

Since then, the estate has used its own nursery to produce its vines, thus keeping the genetic inheritance practically unchanged since its origins.

Check out Cantine di Marzo's Web site here: Cantine di Marzo.
FriuliScarpettaMaster Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson of Boulder's Frasca restaurant, share an abiding passion for the food and wine of Friuli. Scarpetta is their winery project, where the level of quality befits this obsession: Scarpetta Wines
PiedmontCa' di MeoMagda Pedrini’s Estate is located in Ca’ da Meo, a district which lies at the very heart of the Gavi DOCG wine-growing area, where the Cortese variety produces elegant, prestigious white wines. Magda Pedrini dedicates herself to this winery with the enthusiasm and love for the land and wine that led her to acquire this historic farm: a traditional small hamlet, surrounded by some ten hectares of estate-owned vineyards stretching out around three amphitheatres of sun blessed hillsides.
Read more here: Ca' de Meo
SicilyValle dell'AcateOne of the finest producers in Sicily, in the windswept, southeastern DOCG of Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Check out their Web site here: Valle dell'Acate
And the Vinum Profile sheet: Valle_dell_acate
VenetoMarcatoLocated high up on the basalt and tuff stone slopes of the natural amphitheatre formed by the Valle d’Alpone, in the central Veneto, the Marcato winery comprises some 7000 square meters dedicated to the various wine making processes, with grape drying rooms, cellars for bottle fermentation and maturation and temperature controlled stockage. The estate consists of 60 hectares of estate owned vineyards as well as fruit sourced from an additional 25 hectares of growers the Marcato Family has had long term contracts with.

From the lively Lessini Durello Brut wines to their Soave, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, this estate is a true QPR champion, delivering more quality per dollar than practically any other Italian producer in our portfolio.

For more information, click here: Marcato
VenetoHi! ProseccoFresh, lively, uncomplicated, Hi! Prosecco is made just to the north of Venice and offers impeccable value for money. Check out their web site here: HI!
VenetoCavalchinaCavalchina is the name of the district in the Veneto where the winery is located, probably after the residence of the Conte Cavalchini. It is on the southeast border of the Garda amphitheatre.

This area has long been recognised as a vine growing district, indeed in 1848 the land was registered and classified by the ruling Hapsburg authorities in the first and second quality categories. This was based not only on quality but also on consistency of good production, essentially due to the capacity of the soil to stay moist in hot seasons.

The Cavalchina district was the site of both first and second War of Independency during the Risorgimento. The memorial basilisk to the 1866 battle is at the entrance to Cavalchina’s estate; it commemorates, in particular, the Prince Amedeo di Savoia wounded at the battle.

The Azienda Agricola Cavalchina was created in the early 1900s with the purchase of the first vineyards. By the 1960s the Piona family felt that the white wines of Custoza deserved better recognition than simply being labelled as Soave. From 1962 they were the first producers to label their white wines made from Fernanda, Trebbiano and Garganega with the Custoza name.

Click here to read more: Cavalchina

And a terrific download hub: Cavalchina downloads
Alto AdigeCappellettiKnown locally as “Specialino,” Cappelletti may be the oldest style of classic red bitter aperitivo still in production. Made from a traditional wine base of mostly Trebbiano, Cappelletti is less sweet than its larger commercial rivals (e.g., Campari, Aperol) and has a delightfully dry finish with bitter citrus undertones, perfect for mixing with sparkling water or wine. Its red color comes from natural carmine, which is derived from the cochineal bug. This beautifully deep crimson red is a great source of pride (and wealth) for the region.
PiedmontCardamaroMade by a 4th generation winemaker in Canelli d'Asti, and from a mistelle base of muscat, this aromatized wine is flavored with blessed thistle (once a treatment for plague) and cardoon, an artichoke-like vegetable. Mix this with sparkling water for a more adult version of root beer, or with bourbon for the most exotic Manhattan you can imagine.
PiedmontCocchiGiulio Cocchi founded his business in the North Western Italian town of Asti in 1891 when as a young pastry chef, he became fascinated with the pairing of food and and found in Asti, the capital of Moscato wines and its long tradition of blending wines and herbs. Giulio began producing quality aromatic-infused wines and bottle fermented sparkling wines. By the turn of the century in particular - Barolo Chinato and Aperitivo Americano - had become very popular, not only throughout Piedmont, but also in the export markets of London, New York, Africa and South America. Giulio Cocchi is now owned and operated by the Bava Family, themselves highly renowned wine producers. Today the winery still maintains its artisan character using only traditional techniques to craft the distinctive wines that have made Cocchi a cult name.

Today Cocchi Americano, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and Cocchi Barolo Chinato are indispensable to the American bartender, and make for lovely aperitifs on their own with a little sparkling water.

Click here to check out Cocchi's web site.
Tuscany Gracciano della SetaThe della Seta Ferrari Corbelli family has owned this estate since the 1950s. The farm of about 70 hectares surrounds Villa Svetoni and its beautiful Italian garden, both built around the early 19th century. The vineyards are located on loamy and clayey soil on the Gracciano hills, historical cru of Montepulciano.

The management of the estate is aiming at improving the quality year by year, through drastic yield reduction, at present only 30-35 hl per hectare. The grape varieties are the classic cultivars of Vino Nobile with a strong predominance of Prugnolo Gentile (a clone of Sangiovese) and a small quantity of Canaiolo, Mammolo, and Merlot.

Click here to check out Gracciano della Seta's Web site with fact sheets.
VenetoTorre d'OrtiFor centuries the name "Torre d’Orti" on the San Martino Buanalbergo maps has indicated a precise area on the hills near the village of Marcellise.

This site with a great view was chosen by the Castello di Montorio as a place to build a watchtower to maintain security from enemies. Centuries later the same spot was used by the local farmers for growing olives, grapes and cereals. They created terracing, still visible today.

Recently the Piona family (who also owns Cavalchina) bought the land of the former watchtower, using the historic name for their estate. The land was replanted with vines for the production of Valpolicella wines. The terroir is special in that the red earth typical of Valpolicella classico is combined with white chalk.

This terroir plus the altitude gives the grapes a very low ph and acidity, creating distinguished and well balanced wines, extremely elegant, suitable for long ageing.

Torre d'Orti Web site: Torre d'Orti
Very handy download center: Fact Sheets, Labels, etc
VenetoLa PrendinaWine production at La Prendina, in the hills just south of Lake Garda, is quite recent. It began in 1958 with the purchase of the vineyards. After extensive re-working the Piona family planted new vineyards based on their experience at Cavalchina. The existence of La Prendina as a farm goes back many years. Maps and documents of the Gonzaga period indicate the existence of the La Prendina estate. Also the evidence of the buildings such as the tower and dovecote suggests a much older existence.

Initially wines were sold under the Cavalchina name. The first wine to use the La Prendina name was a Merlot bottled in 1980. The Merlot remains the wine that best expresses the character of La Prendina.

By 1990 all La Prendina’s wines were sold under its own brand and started to be recognised in tastings and guides for its Bordeaux style, particularly with Vigneto del Falcone.

La Prendina web site