For wine connoisseurs, Italy, which boasts more than 350 indigenous grape varieties, is truly a place of dreams. The country is the largest global producer of wine, and it’s also home to some of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions. Wine grapes are grown in every region throughout the country, and varieties range from Sangiovese to Trebbiano.
Greeks introduced wine production to Italy. While the process likely began in Sicily around 800 BC, it wasn’t until the second century BC that wine-making truly began to flourish and large plantations spread throughout the country. As the cultivation of new vines became popularized in other parts of Europe, Italy quickly became an import hub for provincial wines.
In the 1960s, Italy finally introduced an official wine classification system, which helped differentiate wines by quality and point of origin. Today, the wines of Italy are treasured worldwide. Italy accounts for approximately 20 percent of global wine production.
Primarily composed of Sangiovese grapes grown in Tuscany’s Chianti region, Chianti wines are dry, medium-bodied reds that are popular worldwide.
Produced from Dolcetto grapes grown in the Piedmont region, Dolcetto wines are dry reds with a characteristically bitter finish. They’re often loaded with tart, fruity flavors.
Commonly known as Zinfandel, this deep red wine is primarily grown in the Apulia region and is generally high in both alcohol and tannins, which often results in a slight bitterness.
Made from the Nebbiolo grape, Barolos are commonly found in Piedmont and are one of the country’s most famous red varietals.
Primarily grown in the Lombardy region and made from a mutation of Pinot Noir grapes, Pinot Grigios vary in taste, but they tend to be crisp, fruity and light.
Often called the “little brother” of Barolo, Barbera is another Piedmont-produced wine. It’s often available at a more affordable price point than Barolo.
Lambruscos are fizzy red wines from the Emilia-Romagna region. They contain floral and fruity flavors.