Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by jofitzsimons
Considering visiting the Prosecco region of Italy? Here are our few tips for planning which vineyards to visit and how best to do it.
1. Decide how many vineyards to visit
The first thing to do is look at how long you have to visit the Prosecco region and then decide how many vineyards to visit. As a general rule, we plan 3 to 4 wineries for a full-day tour and 2 wineries for a half day tour. It may not sound like a lot but, trust us, tasting wine is something to savour slowly. This isn’t a day of slamming back tequila shots.
2. Decide what kind of tasting you want to do
Not every Prosecco tasting is the same. Some of the wineries we work with offer a large range of tasting sized from 3 to 7 glasses. Some will let you pair food and wine. Some wineries are great for views and will allow you to take a walk in the vineyards. Some will talk you through the tasting process. While most of the wineries we work with are DOCG, the premium Prosecco, not all wineries are – some have DOC only (learn the difference between DOC and DOCG). And some are Cartizze, the Rolls Royce of Prosecco. Choosing the style of wine tasting you want to do will make a big difference to your day.
3. Make a shortlist of wineries to visit
Once you’ve got your basics decided, you can start to narrow down the wineries you might like to visit. We have a handy guide to our favourite Prosecco vineyards.
4. Look at the vineyards on a map
Next, check how close the vineyards are to each other. Google maps can be deceptive – you’re in rolling countryside and not all routes might be passable (you can’t just amble through that green space – it’s probably steep vines). We have a map of the Prosecco vineyards here to help you plan your trip.
5. Check the winery opening times
Unlike many wine regions around the world, Prosecco doesn’t work on a ‘just turn up’ basis. Almost all wineries need to be booked in advance. Not only is it considered impolite to simply rock up, there’s a high chance the winery won’t be open or able to accommodate you unless you arrange it in advance.
So, with your short list, you need to check the wineries are open on the day you plan to visit. Don’t just rely on the winery’s website – running a website is often a ‘set it and forget it’ activity for many vineyards, who tend to focus on producing excellent Prosecco rather than updating their website. The same may be true of social media accounts. The best way is to phone or email. If you email, make sure you do it far enough in advance (days not hours). Replies may not be so quick (that ‘making wine’ thing again).
6. Try to avoid Sundays and public holidays
Many of the vineyards have reduced hours or are closed over the weekend, especially on Sundays. If there is any flexibility to your itinerary, visit during the week. If you absolutely must go at the weekend, plan ahead.
Although the region is generally open for visitors all year round, there are some periods where it’s best to avoid visiting if possible. The last two weeks of August see many vineyards close is the run up to the busy harvest season in September. For the same reason, September is best avoided because the grapes are being harvested. That said, September is a magical time of year to visit and our drivers can often find wineries that will open for a tasting for our customers.
Even if you you’re skipping dry January, you should still try to avoid visiting over the 1st week of the beginning of the new year. Many of the vineyards are closed until 7 January. Our Prosecco calendar can help you plan your trip.
Visiting over a weekend or popular period? Book a tour with us – we can often find wineries that are open.
7. Book your wine tasting appointments
Once you’ve contacted the wineries you want to visit and have their opening times, go ahead and book your tastings. Make sure you find out how long the tasting typically lasts and don’t forget to factor in time for travelling between the vineyards.
8. Take time for a long lunch
Many of the vineyards close for a long lunch in the middle of the day (around 12-2). We like to think they’re taking a post-Prosecco nap but they’re actually working really hard. If you’re visiting for the day, follow suit and have a long lunch yourself. Here are some of our favourite places to eat in the region.
9. Save time for sightseeing
The region has more to offer than just its wineries. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its unique and dramatic topography of rolling hills. There are also some fun sights to see, like the Prosecco Vending Machine.
10. Plan your wine purchases
While it is possible to buy Prosecco from most of the vineyards, be aware that most of them sell by the 6 bottles (half a case) only. You can read about how to get your wine home. If you take one of our tours, we can help you ship wine home at very reasonable shipping rates, insurance and packaging included.
They’re our 10 tips for how to plan your wine tasting trip to the Prosecco region. If it all seems a bit confusing or time consuming, book one of our tours (starting at €250 per group) and we can arrange it all for you.
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