There are always certain things that spring to mind when you think of Venice. This historic Italian city is synonymous with superb architecture, canals, and gondolas. What you might not know, but are about to find out, is that this city is also where you can have some of the best wine-tasting experiences in Europe.
If one of the things you like to do when you're on vacation is trying the local wine, you're going to be lining up to get your hands on some of the wines, like prosecco and soave, from the Veneto region.
Prosecco and soave aren't the only wines that the Veneto region produces, there are many more besides those, and while they might not have the same global recognition, they're just as good on the palate, if not better.
There are multiple ways to go wine tasting in Venice. When you're looking for things to do at night in Venice, going on a wine tour or a Venice food tour with wine tasting included is a great way to pass the evening. The city also hosts several food and wine festivals throughout the year too, so they'll be something you won't want to miss if you're here at the right time.
It really isn't the done thing to go to wine tastings carrying your luggage. If you've somehow managed to get stuck with your bags, there's no need to cancel your wine tasting tour. Just store your bags in one of the Bounce luggage lockers in Venice.
Bounce luggage storage facilities are one-hundred percent secure as all Bounce lockers are security tagged and fully insured. Drop your stuff off, and you'll have both hands free, ready to make the most of your sipping session. By the way, swilling and spitting the wine out isn't recommended. Venetian wine is made to drink, but don't have too much, or you will be drunk in no time. It can be pretty heady stuff, as you may well find out the morning after you've taken a wine tour.
Where In Venice Can You Go Wine Tasting?
You may be totally surprised with all the places you can go wine tasting in Venice. You don't need to go on a winery tour through a countryside full of rolling vineyards to go wine tasting, but it'll be a great experience if you do.
When you don't want to leave the city, then wine-related food tours, which include some of the city's culinary history, or walking tours that visit a historic winery are good options. Better still, do it the Venetian way by going to a bacaro, a small local bar, where they serve wine by the glass with tapas-style snacks. You can also head for one of the city's wineries, where there'll be a specialist on hand to tell you all about the denomination you're supping.
Whether you take a small group tour, prefer a private tour, or go it alone to a bacaro, you know you'll be sloshing back some of the best wines the Veneto region of northeast Italy offers.
The Best Bacaro In Venice
Bacaro are the lifeblood of Venetian hospitality. Folks drop in to these small bars for a quick glass of wine, a cicchetti, and a chat with friends. If you haven't been to a bacaro, then you haven't been to Venice. Never worry about the quality of wine you'll be served at a bacaro. When the locals are drinking it, you know it's good.
Here are three bacaro you must go to when you're in Venice:
Cantina do Spade
The Cantina do Spade is a beautifully rustic taverna-style bar with an authentic Italian atmosphere. There's no mistaking what they do at the Cantina do Spade as there are two enormous wine barrels, empty of course, standing by the door.
Go in, and straightaway you'll spy the huge and very tempting, countertop display of cicchetti, small bite-size snacks, ready and waiting to be consumed. Here they serve a large variety of local wines by the glass and by the bottle for very reasonable prices.
Location – San Polo, 859
Taverna Al Remer
When you want to drink wine al fresco at sunset on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal, you need to be at the Taverna Al Remer. This taverna's interior is as attractive as its terrace and is finished with an old-world décor of bare brick arches and a beamed wooden ceiling. Here you'll be introduced to the wine list by the chef-owner who likes nothing better than to assist his customers with their wine tastings just to ensure they choose the right wine to go with his superb tuna carpaccio.
Location – Cannaregio, 5701
When you're sightseeing around the Rialto Bridge area of Venice and you fancy a quick sip, head straight for the Bar All'Arco. While this bacaro is in one of the main tourist areas, they only charge local prices which in itself is refreshing. This bar has more tables on the sidewalk than it does inside, where it's pretty much standing room only. The friendly bar and waiting staff are in the know about all the local wines they serve so don't be shy about testing their knowledge. Guaranteed they recommend a cicchetti of prawns and parma ham with a glass of chilled prosecco.
Location - Sestiere Sao Paulo, 436
Wine Walking Tours Of Venice
Even if you're a very independent wine connoisseur it can be good to go wine tasting on an organized walking tour led by a local guide who knows the Veneto plonk inside out. The majority of walking tours or a Venice food tour with wine tasting included last for around two hours.
Two hours might not seem very long initially, but it is time enough to visit six different wine bars and try six totally different wines from the region. Visiting six bars one after the other can make a walking tour start to sound a little like a wine crawl; it's not and is definitely more sophisticated than knocking back shots on a pub crawl.
The good thing about walking tours is any adverse effects you might have from imbibing will wear off as you go from bar to bar. It also gives you time to properly cleanse your palate so you can fully appreciate the distinctive notes of each wine.
Venice Food Tours
Take just about any Venice food tour, and there'll be a wine tasting included on it somewhere. Wine is as much a part of the gastronomy of Venice as any dish, including the traditional sweet and sour sardines.
One of the main spots local experts like to visit on a Venice food tour is the city's famous Rialto Market. The market is a six-day-a-week event that takes place near where the Rialto Bridge spans the Grand Canal. Among the stalls of produce, you'll see wine merchants displaying their wines and be invited to taste some, even though it's before midday, in the hope you'll buy some.
There are also Venetian food and wine tours that take place at night, but they don't include a market visit as the Italian stallholders close down at midday. A popular place for nighttime Venice tours is the Old Ghetto, the Jewish quarter, which adds an interesting historic twist to wine tasting.
Venice Wine Bus Tours
If you're interested in winemaking as well as wine tasting, then you'll certainly want to take one of the many bus tours out of the city to see the vineyards.
Full Day Trips
When you have a full day you can dedicate to your love of wine and winemaking, then taking a bus tour out to the Valpolicella wine region from Venice is a must. Some of Italy's most famous wines come from the vineyards in Valpolicella. It's also a part of Italy with the most stunningly beautiful landscapes imaginable.
During your day out, you'll stop off at a wine-making specialist like the Corte Fornaledo winery, where they produce a red wine unique to the area, or Corte San Mattia, which produces Amarone, a dry red with a high alcohol level that will really hit the spot
Prosecco Wine Tours
If prosecco wine is your favorite tipple, as it is for many these days, then you'll almost certainly want to go on a prosecco wine tasting tour at some point during your stay in Venice.
To get to the roots of the prosecco wine-producing industry will mean going outside of Venice and into the surrounding countryside. Most wine tours of this kind leave the city in the morning to head to the hills where the vines are growing.
The main prosecco growing area is in the verdant valleys between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is around an hour's drive north of Venice.
If you're under the illusion that prosecco wine comes from the Italian town of the same name, you'd be wrong. While the wine is named after the town, it was actually first produced way back in the 1600s in the city of Trieste.
Trieste is a port city closer to the border with Slovenia than it is to Rome and Prosecco, a small town ten minutes drive north of Trieste. The reason that name was chosen for the wine is something that's disappeared in the mists of time, but fair play to the medieval winemakers as it was a good choice.
If you thought you'd be sipping prosecco wine for breakfast, think again, but you will have a glass in hand by lunchtime at the latest.
A tour of the vineyards is usually followed by a tour of the winery that processes the grapes you've seen growing. You'll get to taste several proseccos and be fed a light lunch of traditional Venetian food which, if you didn't have a decent breakfast, you'll definitely need or you'll be snoozing all the way back to Venice.
Food and Wine Festivals
Venice Food and Wine Festival
The Venice Food and Wine Festival is a major gastronomical event hosted by the luxury hotel chain JW Marriott once a year. If you're looking to partake in a sophisticated wine tasting, then this is the event for you.
The festival takes place at the resort on the Isola Delle Rose di Laguna, a tiny islet off the coast of Venice. It's an indulgence of wine tasting sponsored by the top producers of the Veneto region accompanied by Michelin star quality cuisine. It's not the most economical of events to attend, but one that's worth it if you can afford it.
Vino en Villa
The Vino en Villa is an annual celebration of prosecco held outside of Venice in the 14th century Castello di San Salvatore in May. It's an out-and-out homage to the prosecco produced in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region with no other wine on show.
Entry to the castle is free and so are the majority of events and workshops. You do need to purchase a ticket to be able to sample the wines, but it costs less than a couple of drinks in a bar and you can try as many proseccos as you can handle.
Even if you only have three days in Venice, you'll have time to slip in at least a couple of wine tasting sessions or visit two or three bacaro. Try to be adventurous and not stick to just prosecco as many of the other wines produced in the Veneto region, while you might not recognize the name, are seriously good. You never know; you just might give up on your addiction to Italian fizzy plonk and discover you have a connoisseur’s palate or nose for something with a more refined bouquet.