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Wine Regions of Italy

Italian Wine Guide - Italian Wine Regions
Italian Wine Regions

Italy is divided into 20 major wine regions, from the fertile, rolling hills of Tuscany in the north to the sun-drenched slopes of Puglia in the south. Veneto is by far the most productive region for wine-making, and it is split into approximately 30 sub-regions. In 2019, Veneto produced almost 11,000,000 hectolitres of white, red and sparkling Italian wines.

In the early 1980s, Italy's economic fortunes rose, bringing the wine trade with it. Since then, Italian wine's quality and fame has rapidly risen. First Barolo, then Amarone became the new luxury wine gods, followed shortly behind by the Super Tuscans. In recent years, Italy has risen above France as the world's largest producer and its wines are both exported and appreciated around the world, in particular, the United States of America.


Italian Wine Guide - Abruzzo
The mountainous region of Abruzzo is stepped in winemaking traditions

Next to Lazio on the Adriatic side, Abruzzo is a mountainous region rich in ancient winemaking traditions. Abruzzo is fifth by volume in production, and is known predominantly for the Montepulicano grape, not to be confused with the Tuscan region that focuses on Sangiovese. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC is the region-wide denomination for red wines made from the grape, while Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo DOC is the denomination for the region's rosé wines made from the same variety. Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC is the main white grape of the region.


Located in southern Italy, Basilicata's wine production is miniscule compared with Italy's more famous regions. A mostly landlocked, mountainous region, it is tucked into the arch of the boot and is flanked by Campania to the west and Puglia to the east. Though it has few DOCs, its most famous is Aglianico del Vulture, based on the fullbodied Aglianico grape.


Located on the coast of southwestern Italy, Calabria juts out between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. Its wines reflect this coastal climate. Calabria is home to Cirò DOC, which produces mostly red wines based on the tannic Gaglioppo grape, however, a small number of Italian white wines are also produced from a blend of Greco Bianco and Montonico Bianco.


Best known for the city of Naples and its neighboring Amalfi Coast, Campania's wines are becoming increasingly well-known outside of Italy, especially as volcanic soil wines rise in popularity. For reds, the most famous are Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Taburno DOCG, both based on the red grape Aglianico. For whites, Fiano di Avellino DOCG and Greco di Tufo DOCG are best known, based on Fiano and Greco grapes, respectively.


Italian Wine Guide - Emilia-Romagna

Considered Italy's food capital, Emilia-Romagna is also a prolific wine producer best known for Lambrusco – a sparkling Italian red wine – and its white wines made from the Trebbiano grape.

Valle d'Aosta

On the north-western border shared with France and Switzerland, the Alpine region of Valle d'Aosta may not produce much wine. The majority is red wine made primarily with the Nebbiolo and the little-known Petit Rouge grape. Pinot Noir is also used in the production of red wine in the Valle d'Aosta, as well as in the region's rosé wines. White wines made in the region are made with the indigenous Prié Blanc and Petit Arvine grapes.


Located in northwest Italy, Piedmont sits at the foot of the western Italian Alps where its climate, influenced by chilly mountain climes and the temperate Mediterranean, creates the perfect growing conditions for Nebbiolo. This black grape produces the region's most famous wines – Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCG, while two other red grapes, Barbera ad Dolcetto, are also well-known and enjoyed for their more accessible price-points and drinkability at a young age.

Piedmont white wines may be less common, but are produced in the region using Cortese and Arneis grapes – the former of which is the sole grape used in the production of Gavi DOCG while the latter thrives in Roero DOCG. Sparkling wines such as Mosacato d'Asti are also made in the region.


Italian Wine Guide - Veneto
Veneto's numerous microclimates offers a wide range of wine styles

Rich in history, beauty and wine, the Veneto offers a wide breadth of grapes and styles due to its numerous microclimates – with the Alps in the north, Lake Garda to the west, and the Adraitic Sea to its southeast. Though the Veneto produces many storied wines, the volume of Pinot Grigio and the global demand for Prosecco have made it famous, of which great versions of the latter come from Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG and Cartizze DOCG.

The red wines of Valpolicella DOC and Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG are both based largely on black grape Corvina, as are the rosé and red wines of Bardolino DOC. East of Verona, Garganega is the main white grape in Soave DOC, while Trebbiano dominates in the white wines of Lugana DOC on the southern shores of Lake Garda.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

In the far northeast corner that borders Austria and Slovenia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia's landscape juxtaposes the Alps against the Adriatic's coastal flatlands. This unique climate provides optimal conditions for a range of both red and white grapes. More than 75% of Friuli's production is white wine, based on Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla and Friulano. Red wines from the region are produced using Merlot, Refosco and Schioppettino.


Located along the Mediterranean between France and Tuscany, the small coastal region of Liguria largely focuses on white wines. The dry whites made from Vermentino and Pigato comprise the bulk of exports, while the key red is Rossese is found in the fruity and fragrant Dolceacqua DOC.


Situated in north-central Italy, Lombardia is home to some of the country's most beautiful lakes, and the cooling influence of the Alps make it a sparkling wine haven. Franciacorta DOCG, along Lake Iseo, is one of the premier metodo classica Italian wines, and is made using the Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Noir grapes. Red wines are also made in the region, using primarily the Nebbiolo grape.


Home to the spectacular Dolomite mountains, Trentino-Alto-Adige is a mashup of Italian and Austro-Hungarian influence. A unique cadre of grapes ripen in this sunny, elevated region, including Pinot Noir, Schiava and Lagrein for red wines. For white wine, Pinot Grigio is by far the most popular grape used, however Chardonnay is also widely utilized – especially as a base for the sparkling wine from Trento DOC.


Centrally positioned along the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west-coast of Italy, Tuscany stretches inland across rolling countryside. Tuscany is one of Italy's oldest wine-growing regions. It was the home of the Etruscans, an ancient culture with connections to the Phoenicians, before the rise of the Roman Empire. Most famous for its red Sangiovese-based wines are Chianti, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulicano and Brunello di Montalcino DOCGs.

Italian Wine Guide - Tuscany
Tuscany is one of Italy's most famous wine-producing regions

While many wines are labeled as Toscana IGT, as they do not conform to traditional production rules, these wines can be 100% Sangiovese or with blends with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Tuscany's most famous white wine is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG. In the 1980s, Tuscan winemakers discovered they could produce amazing wines with Cabernet Sauvignon, however the grape was not permitted in classic Tuscan wines such as Chianti, so they started to break the rules. The laws surrounding the correct labeling and cultivation of wine eventually changed, but the die was set and thereafter Super Tuscans were the rock stars of the Italian coast.


Due east from Tuscany, the small region of Umbria in eastern Italy is routinely overshadowed by its more famous neighbor. However, this hilly landscape, fringed by the snow-capped Apennines, produces tannic and age-worthy red wines from Sagrantino de Montefalco. Its companion white, Grechetto, is dry, crisp and ready to be enjoyed young.


Italian Wine Guide - Marche
Marche has a number of wines that are well-suited its rolling hills

Sitting on Italy's eastern coast, Marche is home to Rosso Cònero DOC, which is based on the black grape Montepulciano.


Home to Italy's capital city, Rome, Lazio has a reputation for easy-drinking, youthful white wines. While great wines are made here, the top exports are dry and crisp styles from Frascati DOC and Orvieto DOC, which straddles the border with Umbria.


Below Abruzzo sits tiny Molise, a mountainous region in south-central Italy. The region is mostly known for Trebbiano and Montepulciano from the Biferno DOC.


The southern region of Puglia has grown in popularity for its good-value wines based on primarily indigenous grapes. The warm Mediterranean climate lends itself ripe, fruity and robust reds based around Primitivo, also known as Zinfandel, and Negromaro. Other varieties grown in the region include Chardonnay and Bombino Bianco for white wines.


Italian Wine Guide - Sicily etna doc wine
The Etna DOC is one of the most sought after wines from Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily's dry, warm climate and copious sunshine are perfect for viticulture. It produces fruity, medium-bodied red wines made from Nero d'Avola and juicy, peachy white wines made from Grillo, which are most prolific from the Sicilia DOC. In the south, Nero d'Avola is blended with Frappato for Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG. The red grape Nerello Mascalese and the white grape Carricante produce sought-after wines from the Etna DOC. Marsala DOC is the fortified wine from the west.

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