Italy Wine Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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As you'll discover on all Italy wine tours, the country's wine regions produce a wide variety of fruity desserts, hearty reds, and rounded whites. Thanks in largest part to the temperate climate, rich soils, ideal altitude, and Mediterranean waters, Italy's viticulture has been flourishing for nearly 4,000 years.

Italy Wine Tours: Background

The first step, however, to properly appreciating Italy wine tours and viticulture is to understand its labeling and control system, adapted after that of France. There are three basic categories: table wine (VTD or IGT), quality regional wines (either DOC or DOCG), and specialty wines. DOCG--original location certified and guaranteed--is superior to VTD. Specialty wines are considered a niche category.

Italy has 20 official wine regions in all. Among the more renowned of Italy wine tours are perhaps those of the Piedmont and Tuscany regions. Other notable areas include Umbria, Abruzzo, Campagnia, Latium, and Veneto. But broadly speaking, it's convenient to group more or less by quadrants--northwest, northeast, central, and southern (including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily).

The northwest includes the Piedmont and Lombardy. The area produces about 20 percent of the country's wine, but 25 percent of its DOC labels. Piedmont is dominant. The northeast includes Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige. These produce less than 20 percent of Italy's total but account for about a third of its DOC. White wine is dominant. Central Italy includes Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, and Abruzzi. These regions have moved to the forefront of Italian wine production. The six southern regions produce nearly 40 percent of Italy's wines, but only about 14 percent of the DOCs.

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