The Best Vineyards to Visit in Tuscany

Chianti, Brunello, Super Tuscan,Vino Nobile, Vin Santo, Vernaccia—the list of famous Tuscan wines is as long as the region’s winemaking heritage is proud. In addition to enjoying the homegrown vintages at restaurants and enoteche across the region, it’s a must to visit one of its many working wineries, where you’ll learn about the process, sample estate-made wines and olive oils, and wander through lush vineyards—or, in some cases, fly over them in a hot-air balloon. Many of the wineries have been owned by the same families for centuries, so you’ll also get to visit historic homes and learn about Tuscany’s deep ties to the grape.

133 Via Cassia per Siena
Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member of the Florentine Winemakers Guild in 1385—and his descendants have been in the business ever since. Today, the company is overseen by Marchese Piero Antinori—the 25th generation of the titled family—and his three daughters, all of whom were involved in the seven-year project to build this stunning winery and visitors’ center. With a contemporary design crafted with materials like wood, terra cotta, and weathered steel, and featuring views out onto vineyards lush with classic Chianti grapes, the center houses a museum and art gallery, winery and cellar, shop, and rooftop restaurant serving gourmet pairing menus. Four different types of tours are available, ranging from general overviews tailored to the first-time guest (and including tastings of three signature wines), to more in-depth cellar visits (with upgraded cru tastings) and tailor-made experience for connoisseurs.
56 Via Castiglioni
The Frescobaldi name has deep roots in Tuscany, with a lineage that goes back over 1000 years. The clan first made their fortune as bankers during the medieval period, serving as treasurers to the English crown; they also put their wealth to good use, supporting art and building projects during the Renaissance and beyond. About 700 years ago, they turned to wine production—and have been helping to define Italian wine ever since. Now one of the country’s most famous labels, Frescobaldi wines are produced and sourced at a variety of spots around Tuscany, including Pomino and Nipozzano in the north of the region, and Magliano in the south. Most can be visited by appointment, with tastings included, but to really get a feel for the label’s (and family’s) history, start where it all began, at Tenuta Castiglioni in Montespertoli, just south of Florence. Here, among the hills of Val di Pesa, you’ll learn about what makes this soil and climate so special, visit the winery, and get to taste wine and olive oil. It’s a great overview of this venerable brand, and may give you some useful tips for navigating wine lists during the rest of your trip.
Castello di Poggio alle Mura
For nearly three centuries, workers serving the nobility at Castello Banfi in Tuscany lived in a small hamlet within the castle grounds. In 2007, however, the stone houses within their tiny village were completely renovated under the direction of Italian interior designer Federico Forquet, catapulting Castello Banfi into a new era of grandeur. Today, the property welcomes guests from November through March in two guest rooms and 12 suites, each with wood-beamed ceilings, countryside views, and bathrooms stocked with “vinotherapy” products made from the estate’s Sangiovese Brunello. A central garden with a pergola, a heated outdoor pool, secluded lounging spaces, and alfresco massage tents offer plenty of ways to take in the surrounding vineyards. If you’re feeling more active, take a cooking class with the chef (held a short drive away at the estate farmhouse), tour the Banfi winery, or venture out to nearby historic towns like Montalcino and Siena.
Località Madonna a Brolio, 53013 Gaiole In Chianti SI, Italy
If you’re a fan of Chianti—or Italian wine in general—this is sacred ground. Winemaking has been in the Ricasoli family for centuries (some say this is the oldest winery in Italy, and one of the oldest in the world), and it was the 19th-century Baron Bettino Riscasoli—known as the Iron Baron—who invented the formula for Chianti at Brolio Castle in 1872. It’s worth a visit here for many reasons, including the sheer beauty: The castle is surrounded by nearly 3000 acres of valleys and wooded hills, and is home to 580 acres of vineyards and 64 acres of olive groves. The long list of tours and tasting experiences incorporate both the landscape and the history. Choose from a short Classic Tour, with a bit of background and some tastings, or from several options that take you into the vineyards, the ornate castle, and/or the manicured gardens. There’s also an active vineyard trekking experience, a sunset tasting, a private tasting/lunch inside the castle, and a progressive picnic that takes you to three scenic spots.
The first monks of this abbey planted vineyards here back in the middle of the 11th century, and though the focus of the property has changed—it’s now privately owned, and home to a small hotel and restaurant—the winemaking tradition is still going strong, and is still based on the organic philosophy that’s been in play since day one. Guided tours and tastings are open to non–hotel guests, and include a visit to the historic cellars and the beautiful Renaissance gardens, along with a sampling of the estate-grown wines and olive oils. Cooking classes are also available, and from March to October you can enjoy a four-hour vineyard walk—including tours of the abbey and gardens, the frescoed hall, the aging cellars, and the winery, followed by a picnic lunch overlooking the Chianti hills.
Via Colonica, 1, 53045 Montepulciano SI, Italy
The true character of the Montepulciano terroir takes center stage at this noted winery, which, since 2009, has been adhering to organic and biodynamic methods. During a visit to the facility, there are lots of ways to experience the richness of the landscape—from tasting wines made from estate-grown grapes to floating in a hot-air balloon over the vineyards. The classic tour and tasting includes a visit through the two main vineyards and the winery, including the drying rooms, aging cellar, and barrel tunnel, as well as a lesson in biodynamic viticulture. Other tours are available that include activities like a wine-paired lunch, cooking class, hot-air balloon ride, or even a drive through the countryside in a Ferrari. Whichever you choose, you’ll savor glasses of beautiful reds (including Vino Nobile di Montepulciano), sweet Vin Santo, and bracing grappa.
Località Ama, 55, 53013 Gaiole In Chianti SI, Italy
For several centuries, the tiny hamlet of Amma, set about 1640 feet above sea level in the Chianti hills, was renowned for its farming and winemaking practices, which were overseen by a group of prominent families. When the Hapsburg Grand Duke Peter Leopold visited in the 18th century, he wrote a detailed report extolling the beauty of the setting and the high quality of the town’s grain fields, olive groves, and vineyards. Some of his complimentary words now adorn a plaque set at the entrance of Castelo di Ama, a winery and estate founded in the 1970s by a group of families looking to revive the town’s glory days. The label has won many accolades over the last decade—from the current owner-winemaker being named Winemaker of the Year in 2003, to the wines consistently landing on best-of lists around the world. Visit to get a taste of what all the fuss is about, and you’ll not only get to experience world-class wine, but art, too: Since 1999, the estate has worked with galleries and curators to invite renowned artists to visit, get inspired, and create new works, over a dozen of which now live at the estate. On a guided winery tour, you’ll visit aging cellars, the working winery, some of the ancient village’s sites (including the chapel), and the estate’s historic villas and gardens—where you will spy pieces of art by names like Anish Kapoor and Louise Bourgeois. Tours last about 90 minutes and are followed by a tasting at the Villa Riucci Enoteca.
Via Capezzana, 100, 59015 Carmignano PO, Italy
Conveniently located a few miles from Florence, this estate has been producing wine and olive oil for over 1200 years, making it one of the oldest in Tuscany—though the current owning family has been involved for “only” about a century. Today, in addition to producing beautiful wines using sustainable and certified biodynamic farming methods, the estate includes a few accommodation options (including a restored farmhouse), a noted cooking school, a restaurant and wine bar, and acres of organic vineyards and olive groves. Book a guided tour to visit the historic cellars, the crushing area, and the wine bar, where you’ll get to taste some of the delicious homegrown products, including wines, olive oil, and Vin Santo. Wine-paired lunches in the bar or main villa can also be arranged, and if you’re there in the summer, take a glass onto the terrace, which boasts views out to Florence’s Duomo.
AFAR Journeys
More From AFAR