From Piedmont in the North West right down to Sicily in the South, vines are planted the full length of Italy. Italy produces some excellent wines and has some of the oldest vineyards in the world. Generally, Italy is the second largest producer of wine in the world but in some years, they are the largest.
Italy is famous for a variety of grapes that only really grow in Italy such as:
- Sangiovese – this is a well known grape grown throughout Italy and is the main grape in Chianti. It is a very versatile grape and can be quite different depending on its growing conditions, producing red wines ranging from earthy through to fruity.
- Glera – perhaps better known by the wine it produces: Prosecco. Everyone’s favourite sparkling wine from Italy.
- Nebbiolo – this is a popular grape producing powerful red wines in Piedmont. Most famous for the Barolo and Barbaresco wines.
- Montepulciano – this is the second most planted grape after Sangiovese and produces wines typified by red fruit flavours. However, when aged, you can get wines with rich chocolatey flavours as well.
- Nero d’Avola – the main grape of Sicily, which some have compared to new world Shiraz or even Malbec.
Similar to French wine, Italian wine making is also fairly traditional. Therefore it can sometimes be difficult to find vegan wines. However, in keeping with France, there is a movement in Italy towards more natural wines, which of course are also vegan. For more information on what makes wine vegan, please click here.