In Italy, the grapes are harvested in September and in October and the Vendemmia celebrations begin. Among the younger generations of travelers to Italy, many go in search of experiences, and today’s vintners know how to cater to them.
Leading the world in Italian wine consumption, in 2022, the United States imported 134 million bottles of wine, far exceeding the 120 million bottles consumed in all of Italy. Leading the world in culinary tourism is the entire country of Italy including Sicily. Over 1,000 wineries host visitors exploring the grape harvest, winemaking and aging process. There are over 170 vineyards and 35 olive groves on the island of Sicily in one of their nine provinces, Principi di Butera in the Province of Caltanissetta. In the Prosecco Hill DOCG protected wine region, located in Veneto in the province of Treviso, where the wine is referred to as “handmade,” is the tiny hamlet of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. In 2019, it was named Italy’s 55th UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as “created by nature and enriched by civilization.”
Each region is unique and there is a two-part series listing Italian wine regions written by IAH Vini D’Italia columnist Frank Cipparone titled Who’s Who of Italian Winemakers, Region by Region. They are Abruzzo, Alto Adige, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emila-Romagnia, Friuli, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardi, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino, Tuscany, Val D’Aosta, Veneto. Read about them online at www. ItalianAmericanHerald. com search under digital archives 2022 November and December issues.
Depending on what list you go by, in 2023 Italy ranked No. 1 in wine tourism, with France and Spain taking second and third place. Traditionally Tuscany, Sicily and Florence are the regions famous for wine and culinary tourism. Visitors discover the unique ﬂ avors and ingredients of the region while walking through vineyards and olive groves, passed down from generation to generation, for tastings many times combined with music and art. With their entrepreneurial spirit, the new generation caring for the vineyards of Italy have a focus on sustainability and capacity with changes of style and philosophy of production. The future for their countryside farms, wine estates and olive groves, many dating back to the 16th century, are expanding agriturismo embracing this growing trend of “activity experiences.”
Among the historical cellars and vineyards in the medieval hamlets of Abruzzo, world famous for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine, there is pride in the new generation of vintners to embrace wine tourism. Abruzzo received the 2022 Wine Star Region Award of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine acknowledged for honoring traditions with today’s invocations. The Consortium for the Protection of Wines of Abruzzo was established in 2002 to protect the Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC wines) of the region. And, Vini D’Abruzzo Consorzio Tutela is a consortium of over 400 companies established in 2012 taking care of the interests relating to this designation. Representing over 50 wineries is the Movimento Turismo del Vino Abruzzo (1997) dedicated to visitors experiencing the hospitality and culture while focusing on Green Region efforts. A growing number of members represent women inheriting the family business and securing a future for La Famiglia.
Traveling to Italy this fall? This year marks the 30th anniversary of Cantine Aperte, or Open Cellars as they are referred to in Italy, when wineries open their doors for visitors to come taste their wines. In May, my Italian cousins took me to two Open Cellars. Cantine Aperte also has three other “seasonal” variations: Cantine Aperte in Harvest (September and October), Cantine Aperte in San Martino (November) and Cantine Aperte at Christmas (December). Check out email@example.com for updates.