From the Guide to Exotic Wine Tasting Department
It's that time of year again. Italy's wineries open their doors and pour their wines for the low price of 10 euros per person. In Puglia, Cantine Aperte kicks off the wine season. It takes place May 29th, 2o11, and you can find a complete list of participating Puglia wineries here. The best part about Cantine Aperte is that you don't have to make any appointments because Puglia's wineries are open to everyone.
Event Overview: 57 wineries across Puglia, mostly free wine tastings, snacks, food pairings for a few euro, live music, and free tours of vineyards.
Here’s what you need to know:
1) Here's a wine map of Puglia with wineries listed. These wine map thingies are incredibly difficult to find!
2) Grab lunch at a winery, that way you can pair your wines with some local grub. Find the participating wineries that serve lunch and make a reservation.
3) Rent a car in advance! They sell out quickly. Also, try to get one with GPS as Puglia's road signs are a mess.
4) Make an itinerary in advance using Google Maps. This is the best way to keep from getting lost. However, once you're in the countryside you'll be surprised by the number of signs advertising Cantine Aperte. They include arrows to the nearest wineries.
5) Note that one or two wineries do charge extra, but only a handful.
6) Here's a list of some of my favorite wineries in Salice Salentino, Manduria, and Castel del Monte with contact information.
7) Enjoy the beautiful day and the heavy pours. I'm sorry to have to sit this one out, but next year I'll be leading a culinary tour through Puglia during Cantine Aperte. Send an email to me or to Edible Authentic Travel to learn more!