Theoretically, tourism boards throughout Puglia want to help foreign travelers experience the local wine tradition. Unfortunately, many basic organizational steps have yet to be taken, and knowing what you cannot find is important when planning a wine-tasting trip in Puglia.
Below I have included one of the best maps I’ve found, which is proof that good road maps with winery locations are impossible to find. The map provides a select few winery locations with decent detail. Unfortunately, this map is both too specific and not specific enough to be very helpful: it only offers a few winery locations and lacks the detail necessary to efficiently navigate Puglia’s roadways. I am currently working on creating a more detailed map and I will announce updates on this blog.
The other thing that most tourist offices are unable to provide, is English-language brochures on Puglia’s wine tradition. I’ve found a few good books in Italian that offer reliable addresses and phone numbers for wineries in Puglia, but none in English. In Part III of Guide to Wine-Tasting in Puglia I will offer winery names, regional information, and phone numbers.
If you are lucky, as I have been in the past, the folks at the tourist office that you visit will make a few phone calls for you, and try to set up a tasting or two. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in Part I, most wineries expect at least a day’s notice to arrange a tasting.
The one thing that the tourism boards have really succeeded in doing is organizing wine-tasting events throughout the year. These events don’t offer the same personal experience as tasting in a quiet winery, but they do showcase great wines in a party-like atmosphere. The major events are below
When: Last Sunday of every May
Where: Throughout Italy
I have written about this event here, here, and here.
Calici di Stelle (Photo above from the event last year)
When: August 10th
Where: Lecce, Italy
Noci’s Novello Wine Tasting, aka Bacco nelle gnostre
When: October 8, 9, 10
Where: Noci, Italy
Mercatino del Gusto (Photo above is of the festival last year)
When: August 1, 2, 3, 4
Where: Maglie, Italy
I wrote about this event here.
Very little information about these events can be found in English online. Fortunately, every spring, summer, and fall brings a series of festivals in Puglia that showcase local food and culture. These festivals are located in different towns and often there are several in one week, making it possible, with a little luck, to simply stumble upon one. Wine is rarely the focus of the event, but a few wineries are almost always offering tastings.
The next post will provide on the best regions for wine-tasting in Puglia, the wineries that operate in them, and their contact information.