According to preliminary data for the 2016 harvest analyzed by Coldiretti, the Italian farmers’ association, Italy is set to confirm its leadership position as the top wine producer in the world, ahead of France and Spain. The 2016 harvest started in Italy on August 12, and much of how the annata (vintage) goes will depend on the month of September, with the weather conditions promising well for a year of good quality, after a mild winter (ESM Magazine).

However, Italy toasts not only to celebrate the quantity of wine it produces, but especially for the quality of the 2016 vintage. In fact, the report by ISMEA and UIV, respectively the institute for agricultural services market and the union of Italian wines, has favorable predictions for most regions. In particular, there are high expectations for quality wines from Lombardy, Sardinia, Emilia Romagna and Abruzzo, among others.


Travel Ideas: visit the Top 2016 Wine Regions off the beaten path

If you are a wine lover who is looking for original travel ideas, why not visit Italy’s top regions and enjoy some Vineyarding? This experience, conceived and offered by Italian Special Occasions DMC, is for foodies who want to have a 360-degree wine experience that goes beyond simple tastings and winery tours. It is a journey during which travelers can also meet and interact with the people behind a winery. As you stroll among the vineyards or sip vintages in an ancient cellar, they will tell you about their (family) history in the wine business, which is often a tradition of many decades – if not centuries – handed down from generation to generation. You can learn about harvest and winemaking by witnessing these processes with your own eyes. And of course, you will learn the secrets of proper wine tasting with the best sommeliers.

You can experience Vineyarding in Italy’s classic wine regions, such as Tuscany, Piedmont and Sicily. Or you can consider visiting other areas that are typically less associated with wine tourism, especially if they are promising some great vintage!

Sardinia wine region: Sulcis

Panorama in the Sulcis wine region, Sardinia. Photo from by Chiara Giannotti


Sardinia is not a region that is very known abroad, let alone as a wine destination. It is a surprisingly beautiful island, rich in history, and a wine industry that has recently become progressive and dynamic. The best quality 2016 vintages include the Carignano, Bovale and Cannonau. There are favorable expectations also for the traditional vine varieties of Monica and Nasco. Carignano is a red variety that is becoming increasingly popular. This variety achieves its greatest potential in the Sulcis area in southwestern Sardinia, where it produces a spicy wine known as Carignano del Sulcis DOC. This area is great if, apart from wine tourism, you want to enjoy nature and archaeology. Untamed and pristine landscapes characterize this territory from the Natural Park of Sulcis to the Pan di Zucchero, from the Porto Pino pinewood forest to the Island of San Pietro. The numerous archaeological finds from the Nuragic, Phoenician, Roman and Byzantine civilizations make the Sulcis a true paradise for history fans. Examples are an ancient Nuragic royal palace and the necropolis of Domus de Janas – the so-called “House of the Fairies (or Witches)”.

Experts predict great quality for both white and reds in Lombardy. There are particularly high expectations for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Have you ever heard of the Oltrepò Pavese? Though sometimes called the “Tuscany of Northern Italy”, this area in Lombardy is fairly unknown abroad. The smooth hills and medieval villages in the province of Pavia, happen to be the largest wine producing area of Lombardy and one of the largest in Italy, especially of the Pinot Nero. Depending on when you visit, you could join a typical wine festival, such as the 64th edition of the “Autunno Pavese DOC”; or special foodie events, such as the “Cantina degli Chef”, a four-hands dinner revolving around local wines with Michelin-starred chefs at the Prime Alture Wine Resort.

Wine tasting at Autunno Pavese DOC, Lombardy

Wine tasting at Autunno Pavese DOC. Image from


Are you intrigued by Italy’s lesser known wine areas? If you would like to plan and experience a wine and food journey off the beaten path with your family and friends, or for a corporate retreat, contact Italian Special Occasions DMC!


Wine Professionals: Toast at Vinitaly!

Vinitaly is the largest exhibition dedicated to the wine sector. Every year, 4 thousand exhibitors from all over the world present their top production. Four days of major events attracting more than 150 thousand sector professionals: technical tastings of wine and spirits, overviews of wine-making realities in various regions of Italy, a convention program with conferences, forums and seminars dealing with topics of major current interest that reveal the challenges and prospects for the future.

The 51st edition will take place in Verona from 9 to 12 April 2017. Access is allowed to the following categories: large-scale distribution, wholesalers, import-export, food retailers, bars, restaurants, hotels, catering, wine stores/bar, sommeliers, wine technology producers, producers of olive oil and wine, the trade press.

If you belong to any of the aforementioned categories and would like to combine Vinitaly with a wine & food experience in Veneto or around Italy, contact Italian Special Occasions DMC for a bespoke itinerary with authentic activities.

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