Want to Visit an Italian Vineyard and Bring Wine Home?

There are many vineyards that are not strictly open to visitors, but will be happy to receive you with a bit of advance planning.

how to buy wine in Italy grapes

Image © Italian Concierge

I love visiting wineries in Italy. And not just for the wine. The stunning vistas. The kilometers of walking paths through meditatively even rows of grapes. The warm people who pour theirs hearts and souls into cultivating tiny fruits and crafting them into something entirely different and wholly extraordinary.

Visiting Italian Vineyards

There are many vineyards that are not strictly open to visitors, but will be happy to receive you with a bit of advance planning.

With many of the more interesting vineyards to visit (the small, family-run operations that have often been passed through one family for more than three generations), it’s a question of staffing. The person who shows you around will not be a worker or a wine pourer, but a member of the family. And when there is a lot of work to do around the vineyard, tours and tastings can be hard to fit in.

Another important note on visiting: During the harvest period, wine growers are scrambling to get their grapes picked and pressed into juice as quickly as possible. They’ll have an especially hard time accommodating you, and it may even be dangerous to be in the production area during that time.

Buying Wine at Italian Vineyards

Look for signs that say “degustazione” or pre-arrange your visit. Once inside, prepare for a decidedly personal experience. When you taste wine at a vineyard in Italy, the pourer (often the owner) won’t just pour you a predefined set of wines. They’ll try to figure out what you like.

Tell them what you drink at home or if you prefer dry or sweet, red or white, and let them do the rest.

how to buy wine in Italy toast

Image © Italian Concierge

If you don’t find something you like, do not feel obligated to buy a bottle. If you truly feel impolite, see if there is another souvenir available that you can buy. Many wineries only produce a handful of wine varieties, often from the same type of grapes, and they just might not be your cup of tea.

To have a wider selection of wines to taste, more akin to a large American winery, go the wine consortia in wine growing regions. There, you can taste wines from several different wineries at once and still avail yourself of direct-sale prices.

The Rules for Bringing Wine Home

First of all, you needn’t worry about “smuggling” home expensive bottles. The duties for alcohol brought into the U.S. for personal consumption are quite low - about $0.20 a bottle for still wine, $0.70 for sparkling wine, and around $2 for spirits. But your first liter is duty-free whether you got it at a winery or at the duty free store.

As far as a limit on how many bottles you can bring, honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Even two cases checked instead as luggage are still fine as long as they are for personal consumption or gifts for friends. You only run into issues if you are planning to sell the wine.

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Guest Sunday, 21 July 2024



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