We will be renting a car for our four day "leg" in Tuscany. Staying outside of Siena in Agritursimo Marciano. We want to spend a day traveling to wineries on our own. I found a great website with about 75 wineries listed. So many to chose from! Anyone with recommendations on wineries to tour in the Chianti area? Our "wine tour" day will occur on a Saturday (September 17th). We also intend to spend Sunday the 18th touring hill towns (Montipulciano, Volterra etc..) We could hit a winery while there also. Need suggestions. Banfi and Barone Ricasoli were both recommended (Banfi is closed Saturdays and Sundays). Thank you! Amy and Doug
You might e-mail Christian (one of the owners of Agrit. Marciano) & ask him for a recommendation as they are in the know since they too are in the wine business! Be sure to ask Christian for a tour of their winery as well! We found all of Christian's & his sister's recommendations for restaurants and places to visit to be excellent.
I'm sure you know this, but Montepulciano is in the opposite direction from Siena that Volterra is. We left Siena at 9:30 am, drove to Montalcino to sample wines at La Fortezza, then visited Banfi and Sant Antimo Abbey, then drove to Montepulciano and it was already 3 PM when we got there. It took us about an hour to get back to Siena from Montepulciano. So you might want to look closely at your plan to make sure you have enough time in one day to go everywhere you want.
I really enjoyed my time at Baracchi Winery which is located around Cortona. The wine and food was delicious; it is a family owned winery and restaurant and hotel. The staff was friendly, the son of the owners was the one who gave the English tour. Very beautiful area.
I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention a subject not frequently discussed here: When visiting multiple wineries and driving a rental car in Italy - even though Italians love their wine, their driving laws are more strict than ours. The legal limit in Italy is around 40% lower than it is in most US states: roughly 0.05% over there instead of the 0.08% typical in most US states. We know you'll be careful. We just don't want your vacation to be interrupted by one or more free nights in carabinieri-provided lodging. For a detailed discussion of this subject, click on this prior discussion: http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/33444/drinking-and-driving-in-france.html
Very good note from Kent. The drinking and driving restrictions and much more restrictive, and the penalties in Italy are much higher. One way to work around this (enjoy the wineries to their fullest, as .05 can be one drink or less, especially with strong wine) is to use trains or car services, limit yourself to one or two wineries. For example, on my Cortona day we took a train to the town, a bus into the center, explored and had lunch, a car/taxi service we coordinated through the winery brought us to the winery and brought us back to the train station.
Thanks to everyone so far for your suggested wineries! Great info. Kent, your post is invaluable. I did not realize the stricter laws in Europe. While we would be extremely mindful before getting behind the wheel (we always are), it's better to be safe than sorry. We re re-considering the car rental. I found Donatella and reviews on her wine tours in the Chianti region. We may just go ahead and do a tour instead of the car rental. This is just one example of why I love this sight so much. I have read all of RS Books and would not have found that detailed advice. Priceless. Thanks again everyone, keep the recommendations coming just in case we opt to keep the car rental.
Amy and Devon: Thank you for the kind words. Ron In Rome has told me a couple of stories about, let's call them, very unfortunate interruptions of the European vacation.
Amy: you may still want a car rental to explore the countryside when you are in Tuscany, but may want to leave it behind for your wine day and stick to train/bus/car service. You will have a wonderful time this fall!
We did the wine tour with lunch (best lunch the whole trip) at Vignamaggio Winery in Greve in Chianti. Beautiful setting and great wine. Check out their website www.vignamaggio.com
Did you set up the tour of the winery on your own or do they have "open" touring hours? Do you remember the cost? Miguel, great website! Thanks so much! Amy
Any recommendations for a great day winery tours from Siena?
We had a similar dilemma when in Florence last month. Not wanting to spend a small fortune on a guided wine tour but unwilling to take the risk with driving. In the end we chose a small tour www.slow-days.com which does a slow day trip in Tuscany. The vineyard was superb, a small family run place in the chianti classico area, the group small -5 people. We had really good day ; I think it was 120-125 euro including the wine tasting and restaurant. I have just checked their website and they only run from Florence. Maybe there is something similar from Siena?
Received recommendations for Rebecca and Franco wine tours.