Welcome back to another Italy travel post! While we were in Florence at the beginning of October I wanted to make sure we at least spent some time in the wine region of Tuscany. I did quite a bit of research on the best tour to do because even though we had a car – driving and a day of wine tasting do not mix well. While there were many tours on Viator and TripAdivsor with high ratings I opted for a more personal Airbnb experience called Tuscan Winemakers. We met at the train station in Florence and headed into the Chianti hills just outside of Florence for an incredible day with three stops. The first was a developer, the second was a castle, and the third was the hosts family’s 300 year old farm.
As mentioned, the first stop was Cantina Sociale Colli Fiorentini which process 8M kilos of grapes per year which are produced into wine via a variety of methods. These are not just from just one or two vineyards thought, over the course of the year they produce wine from more than 850 vineyards. I loved touring this bottling factory and learning a ton about how wine is actually made along with a ton of the facts like the average vineyard produces 75-100k bottles per year per year and that unless you produce more than 1M per year it does not financially make sense to have you own bottling plant. Take a look at a few of the shots I was able to capture:
After touring the bottling plant for more than two hours, and not tasting any wine, we were ready for the vino. Our next stop was an 1,000 year old castle called Castello Sonnino which has a 500 year old wine cellar. We learned about their bottling process and got to explore the depths of the castle and a few others on the tour wanted to head up into the castle to find see the Italian copy of the Versailles treaty that is stored in their vault. However, that was not allowed so we then heading to an outbuilding for the start of our tasting.
We got to try a few of the vineyards top bottles many of which were Chianti which makes sense as we were in the Chianti region of Tuscany. While tasting and in-between glasses learned a ton about the Sangiovese grape, the basis of a Chianti. I am very glad that during the tastings I took a few notes and also rated the wines on Vivino as we were going along as it makes it so much easier to recall my faovrites. At this stop it was the super Tuscan Castello Sonnino Cantinino Sangiovese from 2015.
The third stop on our Tuscany wine tour was the real highlight – Fattoria Palaia, the 300 year old farm of the tour organizaer. When we entered the tasting room not only was there a whole wall of wine but the table was beautifully laid out with all kinds of cheeses, salami, and bruschettas. We enjoyed this while tasting our first few wines and then were awed by both the pasta course (homemade with butter and truffle) and well as the homemade lemon and ream tart. , pasta and dessert.
They shared that “the objective is to taste multiple wines, not to get drunk” but seeing as they picked us up at 9am and we did not get back until near 6pm you better believe we had a bit of a buzz. All of this wine makes me wish I had pulled the trigger and bought one of the wine advent calendars! And if you get confused I found this map of the wine regions of Italy very helpful!
Would you want to go on a Tuscany wine tour?