Wannabe sommeliers, Florence’s best vineyards have been busy producing wines that are bound to bowl you over. Whether you go it alone and hop on a local bus to a vineyard, take a wine tasting tour of Florence or just drop in to an enoteca (wine bar) for a tipple, you’ll not go far wrong. Yes, tours are made all the better with the help of an expert, but we’ve picked out some budget-friendly options if you already know your aggressive reds from your fruity whites.
Florence wine tours
Urban Wine Tour
Wine tasting in Florence rarely actually takes place in Florence. So the Secret Urban Wine Tour from Secret Food Tours is a welcome sight indeed. In the early evening, you’ll set out on a 3 hour scamper across the city. Wine tastings are of course the highlight, but your guide will also talk you through wine-making techniques old and new and immerse you in Tuscan wine culture. For €69, you’ll taste six wines, including Chianti Classico, Morellino di Scansano and a secret tipple to be revealed on the night. For a further €11.20, you can add a food element to the evening which includes cured meats, a traditional Tuscan soup and local cheeses.
Orbzii tip: If you’re eating gluten free in Florence, you may need to give Secret Tours a swerve, as they can’t always accommodate dietary needs.
Chianti Safari Tour
Rarely will you see the words chianti and safari neatly paired together in a sentence. And, there are those who might say, rightly so. But that didn’t stop Walk About Florence creating a small group tour for wine lovers to roam the Tuscan wine region in a 4×4 vehicle. The best part? It’s among the highest rated day trips in Florence. Which says a lot for a tour in which you’ll bump along Tuscany’s backroads to get to some pretty impressive wine cellars. Yes, the gimmick here is the rather substantial 4×4 you’re travelling in. And, from the higher than average vantage point, the Tuscan countryside views really are something. But other than that, this is a really solid Tuscan wine tour that delivers on tastings, tipples and free time. They even package in a lunch.
On this full day, €150 tour, you’ll drop in on two estates, mooch around a gorgeous garden and be accompanied by an expert guide. Insight on offer includes the art of wine tasting, food pairing and learn about how the various wines on the tour are created.
Florence Culinary School
This isn’t your ordinary wine tour. Florence Culinary School teaches students the fundamentals of food and wine. Courses start at a week and can stretch up to 12 week-long deep dives into the intricacies of pizza, pasta or gelato. But you’re here for the wine. And so are the tutors at the culinary school, it seems. They can offer you a week long sommelier course for a modest €1,400. This includes a winery and wine tasting visit, a guided tour of Florence and 2-3 hours a day of sommelier training. Yes, it’s niche, but it’s also a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in a very different holiday. Accommodation is a shared apartment – though single rooms are available. If all this sounds a smidge too detailed, the school does a wine and olive oil day tour that packs in their credible know-how – for far less time commitment. A comparable bargain at €190.
There’s a lot to be said for simply exploring alone. In Florence, this can mean making big savings – that is, if you don’t need an expert guide to walk you through tastings and food pairings. To simply see Florence’s wine region, hop on the local bus at the Fratelli Rosselli stop. You’re heading for Gaiole, with a changeover at the Tondo Lucarelli stop. On route, you’re looking at a scenic, if a little interrupted meander through villages and a fair share of bus stops. Don’t want to go quite that far south? Hop off the bus in Greve and head straight for the Verrazzano Castle. Here, a guided tour of the entire venue, plus a tasting of their organic wines, olive oil and cheese costs just €21 each. Buses run 3 times a day from Florence.
Sunset wine tour
Florence wine tours can be lengthy, so if gadding about in the region’s wine cellars is going to take up too much of your weekend, Made of Tuscany has the perfect solution. Their Florence Wine Tour at Sunset starts at the Ponte Vecchio and leads you on a scenic tour of the town that ends at the Duomo. You’ll see the squares, palaces and gardens in the best of the day’s light – the sunset, before dropping into a handpicked venue to taste three wines and snack on some crostini. Very few bells and whistles on this relaxed tour. But for €49, you’ll get to try some cracking red and white wine, learn some facts and figures from your guide and potentially make some new friends from the small group. The ideal combination if you’re in Florence for a short city break.
By now, you’ll have gathered that it’s more cost effective to pick out a specific vineyard and visit – rather than join a tour. One area this reaps rewards is in the dietary restrictions department. If you’re plant-based, or just plant-curious, do drop in on the good folks at Querciabella. On weekdays, they’ll happily give you a tour of their vegan vines and cellars in Greve – along with a FREE tasting of three wines. An entirely organic and biodynamic set-up, the views from the estate are pretty stunning. You won’t find any food here, but you can stock up on your favourite reds… or whites, in the estate’s shop.
Orbzii tip: Should you be swish enough to be dropping by in a Tesla, this vineyard is an official Tesla Destination Charging location and has two parking spaces available.