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For the oenophile, wine tourism is a wonderful way to better understand terroir, the difficult to define concept that wine makers often use to describe a key component of their art. Roughly speaking, it has to do with how the quality of the land in which the grapes are grown affects the taste of the wine. Tasting wine at a wine shop or in the comfort of home provide a hint at the terroir that produced the wine. But spending several days visiting the area, chatting with the wine makers and growers, and eating the local cuisine (which has evolved together with the wine for the two to perfectly complement each other) will provide an exceptional context for the wine and give deep insight into why and how the wine turned out the way it did.
The heart of wine tourism is visiting wineries, and of course, tasting the wines.
How to Have an Enjoyable Tasting
One of the best ways to begin an adventure in wine tourism is to attend wine classes at a respectable Wine School. There are several across the United States, with notable ones being the Chicago Wine School, the International Wine Center in New York, and the Wine School in Philadelphia
Like in France, wine is a traditional product in Italy. It is produced virtually everywhere in the country, and this means no matter where you are going, you can combine your next trip to Italy with a bit of wine tourism.
That said, if you're going specifically for the wine, there are some regions that stand out. If you use the awards given by the Italian wine bible Vini d'Italia as an indication, the two regions where the best wine is produced are Piedmont and Tuscany. Both have one particularly important subregion. For Piedmont it is Langhe, where among others the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are produced. For Tuscany it is Chianti together with the towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano. Rome's Wine Tourism is also increased, The Roman Hills and Frascati are the most enjoiable places where "Dolce Vita" still is.
Wine tourism is highly evolved in Italy, and many producers offer other services as well. Of particular importance is the agriturismo system of providing accommodation for tourists at the estate, making it easy to explore the surrounding region.
The event of Cantine Aperte on the last Sunday of May is a good opportunity for anyone interested in Italian wine. This is the day many wine producers throughout Italy open their doors for a free tasting of their wines.
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