The early and mid-20th century saw a steep population decline due to the collapse of pastoral agriculture in the Abruzzo region. In recent years the mountainous areas of Abruzzo have diversified to be less dependent on agriculture and now have a new focus on crafts and tourism.
Puglia is located in the south-east of Italy, bordering the Adriatic Sea, with southern Puglia forming the heel of the Italian "boot", Wineries found in the Puglia region include Conti Leone De Castris and Tenuta Ognissole.
Basilicata is a region in the south of Italy and is divided into two provinces: Potenza and Matera. The region was once one of the poorest regions in Italy, but has become significantly richer over the past couple of years because of the discovery of oil. Basilicata is home to the Cantine Del Notaio and Vigne di Mezzo wineries.
Mountainous and centrally located in the Mediterranean, Calabrian wine has had a long history, affected by many influences over the centuries. Sitting at the southern tip of the "boot", the region is most well known for Ciro, said to be the oldest wine in history and one of the area's most important exports. While the vast majority of the region's wine production is red, with a large portion made from the Gaglioppo grape, it is also notable for its small selections of sweet whites.
A region of Southern Italy, Campania was originally called Campania felix (meaning 'fortunate countryside') by the Romans. Today it's a popular tourist destination with tourists coming to see the Roman ruins at Pompeii and the volcanoes of Vesuvius. Campania is home to the wineries of Feudi Di San Gregorio and Cantina Del Taburno.
Emilia Romagna is home to Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, Maserati and over four million people. The region is also famous for its Lambrusco, Sangiovese and Albana grapes and are used in the wines from Ca De Medici and Umberto Cavicchioli & Figli.
Emilia Romagna lies between the River Po to its north and the Apennine Mountains (to its south). It is one of the most fertile and productive regions of Italy, thanks to the mitigating effect that the Adriatic Sea has on the coastal climate.
This is the land of Verdi’s novels and Giovanni Pascoli’s poetry, as well as Fellini’s unmistakable cinema - a director who became a legend through his many masterpieces that come to life in this, his native region.
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Located in northeastern Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia borders the region of Veneto to the west, the republics of Austria and Slovenia to the north and east, and the Adriatic Sea to the south. The Friuli Venezia Giulia region offers great conditions for producing wine and is home to the Eugenio Collavini and Livio Felluga wineries.
Lazio, the region surrounding Italy's capital, Rome, is a area of contrasting landscapes; sandy beaches, coastal plains, flatlands and mountains. The volcanic composition of the soil gives local produce "calci", or "kick", as the locals say, with the high potassium ensuring a good balance of acidity, especially in white grapes. It is no surprise then that the region has a reputation for producing outstanding white wines, with Trebbiano being a particular favourite. Characterised by a sharpness and that identifying acidity, these white are the perfect accompaniment to the local cuisine such as roast pork, and most famously, Carbonara.
Surrounded by the Alps, the Apennines and the sea, this picturesque region is also known as the Italian Riviera. Mountains and steep cliffs rise out of the ocean, creating a challenging landscape to cultivate grapes. The high limestone content of the soil is what adds such a unique taste to the white wines from this area such as the local white grape Pigato. Home to particularly picturesque locations such as Cinque Terre and San Remo, the region is also the birthplace of the delicious Pesto sauce.
The wines of Lombardy are mainly grown on the steep slopes of the Valtellina area, known for its well-aged reds. The gem of the region is the Valtellina Superiore, a deep smooth red that is aged for five years before being served. Around Lake Iseo is an area known as Franciacorta and is the home to Lombardy's sparkling white wines. The locally grown Pino Grigio and Pino Bianco grapes to produce sparkling wines in the tradition of the Champagnes of France. However these wines are truly Italian and have been protected by the covetous DOCG designation.
Located in the Central area of the country, bordering Emilia-Romagna and San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. The Santa Barbara and Ercole Velenosi wineries can be found in the Marche region.
While the Molise hillsides are considered to be one of the more obscure wine making regions, it receives the perfect amount of glistering sunshine, providing it with an important prerequisite for making quality wines. Despite its small size, its diverse topography allows grapes to flourish and the region produces wonderful blends of red, whites and rosé, as well as sparkling spumante. Several grape varieties dominate the area, including Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Falanghina, Montepulciano and the native Tintilia.
Piemonte is one of Italy's most important wine regions and sits as it's name suggests at the foot of the Alps bordering, France and Switzerland. Within it's picturesque confines the avid wine lover can visit forty six DOC and four DOCG designated areas and discover Piemontese royalty in the form of the Barbera, Barolo and Barbareco wines. These rich and robust wines have as their base the Nebbiolo grape. A derivative of the word nebbia, meaning fog, the grapes are covered in a velvety, whitish coating and with a harvest time in September,when heavy morning fog covers the vineyards, it is easy to comprehend the significance of it's name. On a sweeter note Piemonte is also home to the light, delicate Moscato grape and the delicious Asti Spumante. When Benedetto Carpano created the worlds first Vermouth at his shop in Turin in 1786 with a combination of local Moscato and Sicilian red grapes and mountain herbs he began a trend that has endured to this day and the "aperitif" was born.
Sardegna is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily) and is located between Italy, Spain, and Tunisia. Desiccated grapes, recently found in several locations, were DNA tested and proved to be the oldest grapes in the world, dating back to 1200 BC. Sardegna is home to the award winning Antonio Argiolas winery.
The volcano Etna, which is located to the east, is one of the world's tallest and most active volcanoes. Sicily has been known for two thousand years as a grain-producing territory, producing oranges, lemons, olives, olive oil, almonds, and grapes.
Trentino Alto Adige
Located in the top northern area of Italy and bordering Lombardia is Trentino Alto Adige, an autonomous region that consists of two provinces: Trento and Bolzano. Bolzano was part of Austria-Hungary until 1919 and even today the majority of the population speak German as their first language. Although this region produces less than 1% of Italy's total wine production, it is responsible for a healthy 10% of the nation's grappa production. Trentino Alto Adige has only three indigenous grape varietals but is famous for the wines made from the Chardonnay,Pino Grigio,Merlot,Moscato and of course Pino Nero grapes which are grown through out the region. In the Alto Adige area, most wine production takes place on small artisan family vineyards who have developed an enviable reputation for their wines which are sold, despite their relatively small production, in many countries around the world, including our own.
Home to Florence and Pisa, Toscano is one of the most travelled and best known Italian wine regions. Originally famous for Chianti, the region is fast becoming famous for the 'Super Tuscans' premium wines that push the boundaries of Italian winemaking.
This mostly hilly and mountainous region is located in the centre of Italy and is bordered by Toscana, Marche and Lazio. Wineries found in the Umbria region include Cantine Bigi, Arnaldo Caprai and Palazzone.
The Veneto wine region, located in northeastern Italy, is one of a group of three highly productive Italian regions known together as the Venezie. Veneto is bordered by wine regions, such as Trento-Alto Adige on the north, Emilia Romagna on the south, Friuli Venezia Giulia to the east and Lombardy to the west. Veneto also borders Austria on its most northern corner. Veneto is the 8th largest region of Italy in land mass, and is the biggest DOC producer in all of Italy, with white wine accounting for over half the DOC production. Veneto is among the foremost wine-producing regions, both for quality and quantity. The Veneto wine region has over 20 DOC zones and many sub-categories. The wines of this region, particularly the Prosecco has a reputation that is worldwide.
Valle d'Aosta is an region found in the Aosta Valley in northwestern Italy. Flanked by Piedmont in the south and surrounded by the Alps, Valle d'Aosta is home to Europe's highest elevated vineyards. Valle d'Aosta is Italy's smallest winemaking region both in terms of size and production, with only about 330,000 cases produced annually in the region. Most of the area's produce is from red wine varieties of pinot noir, gamay and petit rouge grapes.