Puglia's wine season kicks off with Cantine Aperte, a four-day event when the wineries open their doors to the public. It culminates on this Sunday, the 31st. This is a great event for visitors from abroad because MTV (Movimento Turismo del Vino) plans everything for you. Don’t worry about scheduling appointments or locating hard to find vineyards on even harder to find maps, Puglia does it all for you this weekend. Because MTV's information is all in Italian, I've listed the most important information below to help you get the best out of the event.
Just a quick rundown on the concept: 50 wineries across the Salento peninsula, mostly free wine tastings, live music, snacks, food pairings for a few euro, and free tours of vineyards. I'm focusing on the Salice Salentino and Guagnano area, with a quick stop to Manduria and the coast.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:
1) Here is a map of participating wineries (something I’ve been dying to find for a long time).
2) Here are their addresses and, if you've got a little Italian, basic info on tasting.
3) Most wineries are free but a few charge. A very few.
4) Rent a car in advance! Apparently they often run out. Hertz is having a deal if you are in the Taranto area. If you are in the Lecce area and don’t know where to rent a car, just shoot me an email. Unfortunately, I cannot help with other locations.
5) Renting a car is the best solution, though you can go to the one winery in Manduria by train and perhaps wineries in a few other cities. Best to ask at a tourist office on this one. I have also heard that bikes are a good way to get around. However, I haven't tried it and it's still debated.
6) Wineries are in high gear this week, and likely will be open if you want to taste on days other than Sunday, 31st. However, they will likely be closed between 1-4 in the afternoon.
In my next post, I list some of the most common wine terminology in Italiano with translations. That way you can talk in Italian about these wonderful vini!