Amarone wine tours in Valpolicella

Jul 8th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Amarone wine tours in Valpolicella

Hello! Has anyone toured the vineyards in the Valpolicella region, specifically ones that produce Amarone wines? If so, any particular vineyards that you recommend? I am in the initial planning stages for a trip to Italy next spring with the focus primarily on visiting wine regions. We'll have 14 days total and plan on being somewhere in Tuscany for one week of that time. I am looking at Valpolicella also because Amarones are my absolute favorite Italian wines! Plus they are expensive in the U.S. and I was hoping to bring some back from the area that is is produced in.

Does it sounds feasible to fly into Venice, rent a car, drive to Verona, then down to Tuscany and fly out of Florence or Pisa? I have no idea how far apart these cities are from each other so if someone can give me a rough driving time estimate that would be helpful. Once I have a more defined itinerary and know whether or not it is feasible/advisable to include Verona area and the Amarone-producing vineyards, then I will re-post for comments/feedback/specific suggestions. Many thanks in advance!
carlyshells is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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carlyshells is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Hi Carly,
I can't offer specific help re Amarone (though I like it very much myself) but I would suggest that you also google-find some wine aficionado groups ( I know they are around!) and post this question there.

A few years back, I was in love with Vin Santo (another tuscan specialty that is astounding when done well...really yucky when done poorly). A manager at a really fine liquor store know Italy very well, and he provided some names of places to visit. One of the wineries also owned a restaurant that was aimed at preserving old Tuscan cuisine...and of course featuring stellar wines, their own and others. It led to an amazing dinner over three bottles of wine and free tasting of vin santo that was no longer available on the market. I'll try to recall the name of the place, and do a little checking to see if they are still up to standard (a trip down memory lane for me!) and if it still looks good, I'll post here. But that won't help with your specific question about Amarone.

I do think it is feasible to rent a car after Venice and do a trip like this in 14 days, though you may feel like you don't have enough time to stop at all the other interesting places you would like to include along the way. While I do love Venice, I love it about 3 days worth.

Also make sure the openjaw airfare works for you --if it is too high relative to a regular roundtrip, you could just do the roundtrip to Fl/Pisa, immediately take the train to Venice, then proceed as you described.
Hope you get some interesting responses from wine groups!
tashak is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Hi carlyshells,

I think that sounds like a wonderful trip.

Here's a great website for you: It will give you driving directions and times between points in Italy (and all of Europe). From Verona to Florence, it estimates 2.5 hours.

I spent 8 days in Verona last year, with lots of side trips. We wanted to explore the vineyards, but didn't because we didn't want to rent a car for that trip.

Here's what I would do:
3 days Venice
Go to Verona. You could either rent a car in Venice and drive, or train to Verona, spend a day or two in the city, THEN rent a car for your vineyard visits. It may be worth checking prices in both places.

Spend 4 days in/around Verona, wine-tasting, sightseeing. Maybe take a daytrip up to Lake Garda.

Drive down to Tuscany and spend your week there.

Can I come with you? lol

By the way, if you love wine from this region, you HAVE to go to Bottega del Vino in Verona for dinner. Their wine list will bring you to tears. One of my favorite all-time dishes is their risotto del Amarone.

If you'd like to check out my trip report for more restaurant or daytrip suggestions, it's entitled "Vendors in Venice, Valpolicella in Verona" or something like that.

What time of year are you going? If it's summertime, keep in mind you'll be fighting the opera crowds in Verona. (Then again, you can GO to the opera!)
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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I can give you some general advice about vineyards, though I know nothing about Amarone wines.

When in spring? Depending on the time of year, you'll have to carefully baby any wines that you buy prior to the last day of your trip. You don't want to have your nice wines fry in the car one day while you're off sightseeing. My husband (the wine-lover) has found good wines in the duty-free shops at the airport, or in the last big city (Rome or Paris) of our trip, when we've travelled during hot weather.

Vineyards in Italy are a bit different from those in the U.S., in California. While others may have a different opinion, I feel many vineyards in Italy aren't set up for visitors, and may not have a fancy tasting room or English-speaking people. There are, however, enotecas in many towns. At an enoteca, several different vintners will have their wines for sale and tasting; they're quite fun.

That being said, you CAN visit vineyards if you want. Last October, my husband visited several small producers of Brunello, near Montalcino. He had a great time talking to the people at each place, and there were few or no other visitors there with him. He got the names and addresses of the vineyards from a helpful book that I can't remember the name of right now (maybe "Food and Wines in Tuscany?"). Then we had our hotel call and set up the visits for us. There may be something similar for Amarone wines. Alternatively, you could google for the name of the producers whose wines you've liked, and contact them directly.

Another suggestion. If you buy your Amarones from a specific wine store, ask their wine buyer for help and suggestions.

On the driving times, etc., definitely use and get a good map of Italy, to eyeball the distances yourself. But it's definitely a doable itinerary. Last year, we flew into Venice, rented a car, spent several days in the Bologna area, then drove from there to southern Tuscany in about 3 hours.

Depending on where you're coming from and flight availability, you may or may not get flights from Florence or Pisa. We always fly into/out of Milan or Rome; anything else has always priced out to more than we want to pay.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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The producers of Valpolicella are members of a "consorzio," which is planning to develop a "Strada del vino Valpolicella." In Umbria, there is already a "Strada del Sagrantino."

From the look of the Web site (which is only in Italian), they have not gotten very far, but it might be worth your while to send them an e-mail:

[email protected]

Maybe they'll come up with a suggestion or two...
Eloise is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Thank you so much everyone! I am so glad that I topped my post after initially hearing no response. The information given will be very helpful and I will do some more research on the specific suggestions offered. I have never used before but it's now been added to my bookmarks!

I have looked into open jaw flights and found them to be quite expensive (into Venice, out of Florence/Pisa) so might go with the idea of doing RT to one city only.

I have also heard that visiting vineyards in Italy are quite different than in the U.S. Although I've never visited any Cali vineyards, my only experience here has been on the east end of Long Island, where they are not huge by any means, but they are still staffed to conduct tastings every day for anyone who drops in. With that, I am guessing that I should try to make reservations in advance for any vineyard that we know we definitely want to visit.

As far as Tuscany goes, are there any other "wine" towns besides Montalcino that might be good to base our stay out of, as well as be good places to tour around the countryside on bicycles?
carlyshells is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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In southern Tuscany, Montepulciano is known for Vino Nobile de Montepulciano(there; you've heard just about the total of my wine knowledge). And then there's the Chianti region; there are several cute towns in Chianti that you could visit, and tons of vineyards, of course.

The book I mentioned is "The Food and Wine Lover's Companion to Tuscany," by Carla Capalbo. I think I bought it used The chapter on Chianti is pretty extensive, too.

Re biking in Tuscany, that might not be real easy. Much of Tuscany (others will correct my generalization, I'm sure) is hilly, ranging from rolling to steep. San Gimignano, Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Volterra and many others are hill towns, remember, which means they're built on top of hills. And the roads, while very scenic, are also kind of narrow, with little to no shoulder. I would be nervous about riding a bike on anything that resembles a traveled road (for example, most roads leading to San Gimignano). But other people have done bike tours in Tuscany, so they may be able to give you a better perspective on biking in Tuscany.

The biggest vineyard in Tuscany is set up more like California wineries in terms of visitors, Castello Banfi. It is a beautiful estate, and has several restaurants, but the tour and tastings are more commercial. It was the only tasting that we had to pay for.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Amarone is my favorite too. I hope you'll report back on what you find.
Catbert is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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Try here:

This producer offers visits, click on "Firm" and then "Visits"
faredolce is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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I see now that you will be there in the spring. We were there in early May and it was perfect: crisp, cool (60s), sunny, with a couple of short-lived rain showers.

Check out this winery:
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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One more,

On the bottom right, where it says "Get To Know" there is some information on setting up a tour of the vineyards. This is a really fine producer.

Good luck on your research, please post back and let us know if you are able to set some dates up.

faredolce is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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There is a good trip report along the lines you are interested in on Mark Squire's web site at
mjs is offline  
Aug 16th, 2012, 05:02 AM
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i'm a family winery in Negrar (the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area) and you're wellcome if you owuld like to come to taste our winer! (Amarone, Amarone Forlago, Recioto, Ripasso, Valpolicella)

give a lokk at
Fratelli_Vogadori is offline  
Aug 16th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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carlyshells; how many days are you planning to stay in Verona. ? i have done the drive Venezia to Firenze many times, not a far drive, espesially if you are in Verona. you should do it in 2.5hr easy from Verona.
i have visited many wineries in the Veneto region. although i prefere sept-oct to visit them. you will enjoy the spring there. but to not expect to get Amarone cheap, even there.
here is a map on wineries. i hope this helps
UmoDiViaggio is offline  

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