If you’re a wine lover and you’re visiting Puglia you’ll want to make the most of this incredible region. Discover the best wineries in Puglia and consider them on your next Puglia road trip.
Puglia is one of Italy’s main wine-producing regions. While it doesn’t yet have the same popularity as Tuscany for example, the region is very much up-and-coming when it comes to both wine and tourism. In the past, Puglian wines were sent to other regions and blended but this is no longer the case. DOCs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) such as Gioia del Colle and Primitivo di Manduria now bottle some of Italy’s best wine.
Known for its Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes, Puglian reds are full-bodied and rich, while whites are light, dry and minerally. Wineries in Puglia have hundred of years of history, tradition and winemaking knowledge that all go towards making some of Italy’s most splendid wines.
The Puglia wine region now has about 200 wineries but I don’t suggest you try to visit them all. Keep reading to find my favourite wineries in Puglia to add to your Puglia itinerary.
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The Best Puglia Wines
If you’re considering trying wine or visiting some wineries in Puglia it’s a good idea to know a little about the grape varieties and the wine produced here. For wine lovers, you’ll probably already know that Puglia is about Primitivo and it is the most popular and must-try wine in the area. But there are a few more varieties to look for and to try, both red and white when travelling around Puglia.
- Primitivo – a dark-skinned grape that’s known for producing deeply coloured, tannic wines that are both high in tannins and alcohol (often 18%). Primitivo wine is full-bodied and has a fruity flavour of berries and citrus fruits. The most famous Primitivo is the Primitivo di Manduria, coming from the red soils of the Taranto region that give it a crisp and acidic character. Make sure to look out for the Primitivo di Manduria on your travels.
- Negroamaro – another of the leading grape varieties of Puglia, Negroamaro is full-bodied and has a full, rounded flavour. It has an intense-red colour with red fruit and tobacco notes.
- Nero di Troia – another deep red wine, similar to that of Primitivo and Negroamaro.
- Bianco Locorotondo DOC – a sparkling white wine from the Locorotondo region loved by many locally.
- Verdeca – A somewhat unknown grape variety that grows very well in Puglia. It’s one of the main grapes in the ‘Denominazione di origine controllata’ (DOC) an Italian label that helps to legally protect Italian wine. Verdeca is normally used for blending but you can find it on its own. It’s quite a minerally wine and as the grape ripens very late in summer it tends to have high levels of acidity and vegetal notes.
- Bianco d’ Alessano – Another DOC wine, similar to Verdeca.
Top Things to Know Before Visiting Wineries in Puglia
Driving: The best way to get the most out of Puglia, whether you’re visiting wineries in Puglia or not, is to rent a car. As points of interest are quite spaced out and public transportation connections are quite limited, you’ll need a car to get yourself around. For finding the best car rental deals, especially in Europe I normally use Auto Europe– they really do have the best prices!
If you’re planning to visit a few vineyards and do a few tastings it’s a good idea to hire a driver. The best way to hire a driver is through your hotel reception or a local transportation company.
It’s useful to remember that Italy’s drink driving laws are surprisingly very strict. The legal standard driving limit is 0.5 and 0.0 for drivers who are under 21 or hold a license for less than 3 years.
Winery Visits: Wine tourism in Puglia isn’t very well-established so organised wine tours that allow you to visit a few wineries in Puglia are pretty much non-existent. You’ll need to plan and organise everything yourself.
Most wineries are open to the public for tours and tastings. In many places, you can’t just show up or book just a tasting, you’ll need to do a group or a private tour of the premises that normally includes a tasting at the end. When researching wineries it’s best to check each one’s website and see what they offer.
Winery tours also depart at fixed hours during the day (unless they are private) so it’s not very flexible. This makes visiting more than two wineries in a day quite difficult as most vineyards have tours at around the same time. It’s a good idea to enquire about private tours and tastings if you have a limited amount of time.
Wineries in Puglia are quite spread out over the whole region so it’s quite difficult to visit more than two or three per day without having to drive a lot. The biggest clusters of wineries are in the Taranto area (in Southern Puglia) and northwest of Lecce (in Eastern Puglia). When visiting Puglia, most travellers base themselves around Polignano a Mare or in the small towns in the Valle d’Itria but there aren’t too many wineries in that area so you’ll need to be prepared to drive a little more.
The Best Wineries in Puglia
There are several incredible wineries in Puglia. There is a range of family-owned wineries, Puglia vineyards that are more commercialised and smaller vineyards that aren’t open to the public. Here are my top picks for the best wineries in Puglia to consider visiting on your trip.
One of the best family-run wineries in Puglia, Antica Enotria seeps history and tradition. The winery dates back to the 1700s but since has been bought and restored by Raffaele di Tuccio and his family who still run the winery today.
Visiting Antica Enotria will allow you to learn more about the unique history of this winery and to discover the winery’s high-quality wines made with a variety of local and indigenous Italian grapes. They run really great tours and tasting experiences that will allow you to go deeper into the world of Puglian wine and winery life.
Antica Enotria is certified organic and is part of the Italian organic wine route and they produce some really great olive oil, fresh vegetables and sauces that are worth tasting too.
One of the most popular wineries in Puglia to visit and the largest and best in Valle d’Itria, I Pastini is a great winery to visit for an introduction to the wine-making process and the best Puglia wines. Located right between Locorotondo and Martina Franca, a visit to this local winery is the perfect add-on for anyone exploring the towns of the Itria Valley.
A visit to I Pastini starts with a tour of the beautiful grounds, and the modern wine-making facilities and finishes with a guided tasting in their airy, tasting room. We tasted 5 different wines, three whites and two reds and found that they were a great representation of what the vineyard has to offer. You can then purchase bottles of wine or have cases shipped directly to your home.
I Pastini grows all local grape varieties including Verdeca, Bianco d’Alessano, Bianco de Locorotondo and Primitivo- five in total on their 15 hectares. Their grapes are all hand-harvested and they only use the grapes that they grow, which ensures the highest quality wines.
The soil in the Valle d’Itria is very rich in minerals meaning that most whites grown in this region are high in minerals. Due to the perfect growing conditions for white wine grape varieties, it’s mostly whites that are produced here.
I Pastini use no chemicals or pesticides to grow their grapes and everything is organically grown. They try to be as conscious and sustainable as possible reusing waste products like the grape skins.
Terra Jovia is a historic winery with a lot of history and tradition, located in the small town of Gioia del Colle. Since the 18th Century, they’ve specialised in making Primitivo wines. After a long break on the estate, the wine-making process was resumed again in 2004 by Luigi Filippo Colapinto and Nicola Petrera with a real focus on quality and simplicity.
Terra Jovia offers a fantastic tour and tasting, where you can meet the owners, and learn about Puglian history and winemaking. Not only that but there’s also an opportunity for lunch at their Masseria which includes a spread of local specialities and fine dishes.
They also have luxury onsite accommodation that provides a scenic, comfortable spot to end the day.
To find out more about tours and tasting email email@example.com
Amastuola Masseria Wine Resort
Amastuola is a wine resort and winery that quite honestly, needs to be on every wine lover’s list for Puglia.
Located in the hills above Taranto, in prime Primitivo area, Amastuola is a relatively new winery when talking about Puglia vineyards. This restored 15th Century farmhouse is surrounded by 15 hectares of perfectly manicured vines and olive groves and most of their wine is grown here, including their celebrated Centosassi Primitivo.
Due to the area being a Greek archaeological site, Amastuola’s wine production is elsewhere so this tour and tasting really does focus on the tasting. After a quick guided tour of the grounds, you’ll sit down for some wine and snacks (or whatever food you’ve pre-ordered). We tried 5 different organic wines and all were exquisite.
What really sets Amastuola apart from the rest is the fact that it’s a luxury wine resort and the best way to experience it is to check-in for a night or two for a luxury wine experience. You’ll be able to explore the facilities in the morning, sip cold whites at their pool in the afternoon while enjoying the view and feast on a delicious dinner on-site with some of their best wines.
Mottura offers one of the best wine experiences in Puglia and it’s certainly worth the trip down to the Salento region. For over four generations, this winery has been producing some of Puglia’s best wines using both traditional and modern practices as well as indigenous, local grapes such as Negroamaro and Primitivo.
Here you can enjoy their 150-hectare vineyard, take a tour around the premises and learn about the Mottura story and techniques of making wine. Of course, make sure not to miss one of the best wine tastings in Puglia.
Their Novoli winery is open all year round for wine tastings and you can also visit and tour their historic winery and vineyard of Tuglie and Le Pitre.
One of the most well-known wineries in Puglia, Tomaresca has a long-standing tradition in wine-making. Located near Castel del Monte, Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo in on one of the most iconic wine routes of Puglia.
Tomaresca uses mainly local grape varieties such as Aglianico, Nero di Troia and Fiano Pugliese that can brilliantly withstand the harsh growing conditions of cold winters and scorching summers as well as the local calcareous clay soil while also growing international renowned varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Travellers can book a visit to Bocca di Lupo and enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful and traditional Apuglian estate and grounds followed by a typical Puglia wine tasting. You’ll learn all about the wine-making process the Tormaresca way, the local environment and have the chance to experience typical Puglian wine culture.
Cantine San Marzano was founded in 1962 by nineteen winegrowers in the south Puglian town of San Marzano, in the center of the Primitivo di Manduria DOP. Together they purchased a bottling plant and the first San Marzano wine was made.
Today anyone can visit San Marzano and their 16th Century farmhouse, walk among the rows of vines and fruit trees and taste the best wines the region has to offer, including their signature Sessantanni Primitivo di Manduria.
While we didn’t manage to get a chance to visit this winery during our trip to Puglia, I did manage to taste it in a few wine bars throughout Puglia and it really was some of the best wine we had on our Puglia trip. The Sessantanni Primitivo di Manduria and Tramari Rose de Primitivo are absolute must-tries when wine tasting in Puglia.
So, which winery in Puglia will you be visiting? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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