Wine enthusiasts visiting Tuscany often have to make a choice
between a do-it-yourself wine tasting tour in Tuscany and an organised
wine tasting tour in Tuscany conducted by a knowledgeable wine guide who also provides your
If price is the predominant factor, a do-it-yourself wine tour is
undoubtedly the first choice, either by car or by public transport. A
car saves a huge amount of time in getting from one remote winery to
another, but should limit the visitor to "taste and spit".
Don't try driving along the winding Tuscan backroads after
"tasting" a lot of wine. It's dangerous for you and for
others, and the police are active. Public transport, usually meaning
buses, is practical if you plan well. There are many excellent
vineyards, some of them famous (e.g. Castello
di Vicchiomaggio), within an easy walk of a bus stop. A car, on
the other hand, gives you a much wider choice of wineries to visit.
Detailed planning is essential, taking into account opening times for
the larger wineries that cater visitors on a regular basis. In general,
reservations are not needed. Some intrepid visitors to Tuscany
successfully do their wine tour by bicycle.
Organised wine tasting tours in Tuscany have quite major advantages and
are priced accordingly. These wine tasting tours generally last a whole day with
transport being provided in the form of a minibus (up to 8 passengers)
or a comfortable car. Usually the driver is also your guide and provides
a commentary not only at the wineries but also during the course of the
Organised wine tasting tours may be private or shared. A private wine
tasting tour guarantees that only your own group participates. A
shared tour will cost less and means that you will probably be in the
company of visitors who are not members of your party.
Many of the tour guides are very flexible, especially for private tours,
and visitors should make their wishes known well in advance, during the
Expect to pay a deposit to confirm your tour.
What you might
reasonably expect from a good organised wine tasting tour in Tuscany:
opportunity to visit interesting wineries that are either not open to
the general public or which are not especially well-known. This
doesn't mean that famous wineries should be neglected but rather that
you should have the chance to try lesser-known but excellent wines and
sometimes to visit properties of great historical, architectural and
artistic interest (e.g. Chianti
• A well-informed and enthusiastic guide,
preferably someone holding a sommelier certificate.
• At midday, an atmospheric lunch either at
a winery or a country trattoria with a bit of character and good food.
• Organisation obviously should be a
feature of an "organised tour"! Your guide will have determined that the
wineries on your itinerary are open when you arrive and that someone
will be available to discuss the vineyards (soil, grape varieties), wine making
methods and the qualities of the
wines that you taste.
• A helpful pickup policy - within reason,
your wine tour driver should be able to collect you at your
accommodation or at a convenient point within Florence or along the tour
• No potential problems with drinking wine and driving.
• Perhaps some sightseeing, time
permitting, such as a visit to a Tuscan village somewhere along the
• Last but not least, it's probably a good idea to
use a wine tour guide who is licensed for this purpose. Most wine tour
guides will indicate this on their web site.