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Wine trips under the Tuscan sun

Those who travel to Tuscany in September or October will find the vineyards crawling with people. The reason? The celebration of la vendemmia – the annual grape harvest that draws even grandma from her comfortable chair. You are more than welcome to lend a helping hand picking grapes, but it is of course also the perfect occasion to sample a glass of wine or kick up your heels at the village parties that liven up the region.

Veni, vidi, vino
Tuscany Wine Loop

Did you know that...

… Italians are the most avid wine drinkers in the world? They chug back an impressive 38 litres per capita each year. And in the Vatican City, residents consume as much as 62 litres!

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Picking with a popstar

Whether you choose a light refreshing wine or a heavier red, a glass of local wine tastes even better after a bout of hard work. During la vendemmia, more and more Tuscan wine farmers are offering foreign visitors the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and hit the vineyards with a pair of clippers. Amongst those is the British singer Sting, who for the past ten years has been running the Il Palagio vineyard in the green hills of Figline Valdarno. During the day you may help pick the grapes, but when the sun sets, it’s time to open a bottle.

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Grooving like grapes

La vendemmia is much more than just a few weeks of hard work. The harvest, known as ‘la raccolta', is also the occasion for numerous lively wine festivals. One of the best examples is La Festa dell’Uva’ (the Grape Festival) in the village of Impruneta, situated just below Florence. Since 1928, on the last Sunday of September, the entire village comes out for a local Carnival parade, where floats have been transformed into giant wine barrels and locals dance through the streets dressed as colourful bunches of grapes. The most beautiful floats win a prize.

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Did you know that...

...After France, Italy is the largest wine producer in the world? The country has more than one million registered wine farmers who produce 45 million hectolitres of wine per year.

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Sipping at the museum

A centuries-old Italian vineyard evokes images of dusty cellars, complete with a bottle of 1890 Vernaccia aging on a rack and wrinkled old men who wouldn’t look out of place in an olive oil commercial. For a very different scenario, visit Antinori nel Chianti Classico : a winery in Bargino, just 20 kilometres away from Florence. Although their wines have been loosening tongues since 1385, today this family runs one of the best and most modern wineries of the region. The tasting rooms are perfect for an afternoon of sniffing, slurping, rinsing and spitting – and there even is a wine museum.

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How to go about wine tasting

When you go wine tasting, it is best to start with white, then rosé and save the red wine for last. It is also best to start with lighter wines and finish with the heavier ones

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Cycling among the vineyards

Producing Chianti, Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the region of Tuscany is home to some of the most popular wines in Italy. All three are produced with the local ‘prima donna’: the omnipresent Sangiovese grape, which grows in perhaps the most photogenic hills of the country. To immerse yourself in the landscape and the wine, leave your car and hop on a bike for a 'wine ride’. Ready for a break? Along the way, you will find plenty of wine tasting opportunities – and some fine meals to help you avoid an unsteady ride back to your accommodation.

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Did you know …

...With the Vivino Wine Scanner app you can easily scan the label of a wine bottle. The app will tell you about the best food pairings, the price of the wine and how other wine fans have rated it.


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