Chianti Wine Tour

by Patrice Salezze

Traveling through Chianti’s Wine Region

Tuscany has always been the most sought after destination in Italy and remains so today. Besides exploring the cradle of the Renaissance and the picturesque countryside, food and wine are also big motivators for planning a vacation here.  There are the large wine estates we all know about such as; Banfi, Avignonesi and Antinori but most of Italy’s wine is produced by smaller vineyards.  Some are so small they don’t produce enough to export to the United States.   A visit to either style winery is a nice way to spend a day in Tuscany and you can manage both in a day.  Best to hire a driver so everyone in the group can enjoy the tastings.

Note that larger wineries are open year round, 5 to 6 days a week with fully staffed tasting rooms and tour guides proficient in many languages. Many will accept tours on demand but to enjoy it fully with lunch afterwards, reservations are suggested. Smaller wineries most definitely need an advanced request of at least two or three days as the tour guide may be the owner and arriving unannounced may find him working in the vineyard and unable to give you a tour. Normally lunch is not offered but some cheese and salumi compliment the tastings.

When choosing a vineyard tour, many visit the vineyards of the wines they love drinking at home but there are many great small vineyards that you may have never heard of.   For a list of Tuscany’s famous chianti wines, stop at the Chianti wine consortium Consorzio vino Chianti Classico, Via Scopeti, 155 – Sant Andrea in Percussina  for maps of vineyards along the Chianti Wine Road,  ( in Italian only).  A lovely little place for a lunch or dinner break is Taverna Machiavelli, via Scopeti 175.  It is the same tavern frequented nightly by Machiavelli when he was exiled from Florence in 1512.  It’s still possible to tour the house. On my visit, the waiter at the Taverna just gave me the keys and told me to lock the door on my way out.

If you want to peruse a list of small vineyards prior to your trip, visit, there you can search any vineyard small or large that belongs to the consorzio with contact information and links to their website.   If your journey takes you to Greve in Chianti, the local butcher opened a small wine museum dedicated to the history and culture of wine making Museo del Vino Admission includes a self-guided audio guide and a tasting from over 200 wines to choose from.   Currently closed for renovations but due to open in 2016 for the 300 anniversary of the classification of Chianti wine, please confirm before you go.

For a day on your own, you can start in Panzano in Chianti and visit the small vineyard of Casaloste where Sig. Battista d’orsi produces only 60,000 bottles a year, Every detail is overseen by him directly, from the plantings, care, harvest and winemaking.  From there, take the small and partial dirt roads towards Montefioralle where Amerigo Vespucci’s family moved to during Florence’s plague.

Continue on for lunch at Ristorante La Scuderia via di Passignano, 17, Tavarnelle val di Pesa, located across from the ancient monastery of Bada a Passignano. After lunch continue on to Castellina in Chianti to a small family vineyard, Setriolo, The Sig. Soderi and his family will offer a warm welcome.

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