A Puglia (also called Apulia) wine tour is a must if you are exploring Italy's wine country. The "heel of the boot" of Italy has a sunny, Mediterranean climate and beautiful scenery along with miles of beach and scrumptious Mediterranean fare. In short, Puglia is perfect for viticulture and wine tourism.
Wine in Puglia
Puglia is Italy's second largest wine-producing region. The warm, sunny client and varied terroir makes it ideal for growing both native Italian wine grapes and international grapes. You'll find a number of grape varietals here including Primitivo (Zinfandel), Nero di Troia, and Aglianico. The area is also filled with olive groves. There are more than 30 wine zones in Puglia. Of those, four have earned the highest designation for quality in Italian wine, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and over 25 with Italy's second highest wine status - Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). There are also more than 180 different wineries in Puglia.
Self-Guided Puglia Wine Country Tours
If you like to explore on your own, then you can take self-guided tour through Puglia's wine country. Puglia has eight official wine routes (called Strado del Vino). You can find information about the Strado del Vino at Movimento Tourismo del Vino Puglia, the tourism website for Puglia's wine industry.
8 Puglia Wineries to Visit
Some wineries to try to work in a visit to as recommended by travel bloggers and wine websites include the following:
- Terra Jovia Estate is located in Gioia del Colle and is frequently recommended as a top winery to visit in the region.
- Castello Monaci is a beautiful castle located in Salentino.
- Leone de Castris is located in Salentino and offers a variety of wine and food experiences.
- Masseria Amastuola is a gorgeous winery and resort perfect for wine tourists. It's located in Crispiano.
- Cantine Paololeo is located in San Donaci.
- L'Astore Masseria is a wine and olive estate located in Cutrofiano.
- Cantele is located in Guagnano.
- Tenute Rubino located in Brindisi, offers a tour and tasting experience to visitors.
Tips for Self-Guided Puglia Wine Tourism
Puglia is an up-and-coming wine region that isn't yet as deeply entrenched in wine tourism as other regions around the world. Therefore, some advance planning is advisable when you go to tour this region on your own. If you're planning on taking a self-guided wine country tour in Puglia, consider the following tips:
- It's always best to book reservations in advance.
- The best way to book winery visits is by calling the winery directly. You'll get a better response from a call than from an email or filling out an online form.
- While a few wineries may allow drop-ins, don't expect this to be the case with most.
- Call at least a week in advance; longer is better.
- There's no public transportation available in this area. You'll need to either rent a car or hire a driver.
- If in doubt, your hotel's concierge should be able to help you plan and reserve transportation, tours, and tasting.
- You'll need GPS or a map. The wineries are off the beaten path and not always clearly marked.
- Dress comfortably and plan for an unhurried pace. Book a maximum of two visits per day and leave plenty of time between for travel.
Guided Puglia Wine Tours
The best way to attack a Puglia wine tour is to either choose a specific region or plan a really long wine tour vacation. A few companies offer wine tours in Puglia.
La Dolce Vigna
La Dolce Vigna offers a 7 day, 6 night tour of Puglia and Basilicata that includes wine tasting, great food, and the culture of Southern Italy. The trip is sommelier-guided and also includes hands-on cooking classes and visits to historic locations in both regions. The cost is under $5,000 per person and includes cost of lodging. Travel to Italy is not included in the price.
Viator Puglia Classic Wine Tour + Tasting
Viator also offers a Puglia wine tour and tasting. It's a 3-hour day trip that guides you through some of Puglia's wineries with tours and tasting. Cost starts at around $300 per person.
PATH Wine Tours
Worried about staying active while imbibing on fine Puglia wine and food? Try a PATH Wine Tour. This company truly takes its time exploring Puglia wine country because all the tours are given via bike or by your own two feet. These tours seven day six night tours lead you on a guided walk or ride through Matera, Lecce, and Santa Maria di Leuca.
If you're worried that the level of activity may be a bit too much for you, PATH considers it's activity level as moderate so you don't have to be a speed walker or professional biker to enjoy yourself. Plus, you get to rest your feet and legs at various restaurant stops along the way while enjoying the gastrointestinal delights of each city.
How to Get to Puglia
Puglia has two airports, one to the north and one to the south. You can fly into Bari Palese (BRI) airport or Brindisi Casale (BDS) airport. From there, you'll need to hire a car, rent a car, or take a shuttle to get to your hotel.
Best Times to Visit Puglia Wineries
With long, hot summers, your best time to visit Puglia is when it's cooler out and there's not as many tourists. This means March through June or September through late November are the best months to book your wine tour.
Visiting Puglia Wineries and Tasting Apulian Wine
Visiting Puglia and tasting Apulian wines is more than a wine experience; it's cultural immersion. With beautiful and historic Mediterranean architecture, delicious cuisine, fabulous wines, and stunning scenery, it's a trip well worth taking.