The Insider's Guide to Tasting Wines in the Piedmont: Wineries, Wine Bars and Wine Shops

The area around Alba in the Piedmont region of northern Italy is a delightful area to visit, especially if you’re into wines. The hills surrounding Alba are home to some of the Piedmont's – and Italy's – biggest flavored and most famous red wines and some of its best white wines.  This is where the legendary Barolo and Barbaresco and other noteworthy wines like Barbera, Dolcetto, Arneis and Nebbiolo are produced. Within a relatively short distance of one another lie some of Italy’s most famous wine towns such as Barolo, La Morra, Dogliani, Serralunga d’Alba and Barbaresco.

And to top it off, the wines are not only plentiful and good but are downright bargains compared with U.S. prices.

Although a very scenic and tourist-friendly destination, it is not on most American tourists’ radar screens. The area is replete with vineyards, crenellated castles, medieval towers and View of Serralunga d'Albaunpretentious but scenic towns lying in repose on crests of gently rolling hills. It is also home to some of the Piedmont’s – and Italy’s – greatest restaurants where the local cuisines, while distinctly Italian, incorporate French culinary influences. The area around Alba is also renowned for its white truffles, chocolates, hazelnuts and artisanal cheeses.

Visiting Wineries
The Piedmont vineyards are typically amazingly beautiful and visiting local wineries can be a lot of fun as well as interesting and informative. However, touring and sampling wines at Piedmont wineries is not the same as in the U.S. where wineries typically have posted hours and professionally staffed tasting rooms. Big wine estates are rare in the Piedmont. The vast majority are medium to small-scale producers that are typically family owned and operated enterprises that are not staffed to handle casual, drop-in visitors.

Consequently, it’s appropriate to make reservations for a tasting and/or tour at most Piedmont wineries, usually with a minimum 2 -3 days advance notice. It would be risking disappointment to just drop in for a wine tasting and/or tour without an appointment, especially in the fall when wineries are extremely busy with the harvest and cellaring. Making an appointment also has the advantage that the winery may be able to arrange an English-speaking person to host the tasting and tour.

With appointment in hand, you will typically be hosted by someone active in and knowledgeable about the winery’s operations, oftentimes a member of the winemaker’s family. I have without exception found winery hosts in the Piedmont to be exceptionally hospitable and pleased to show you their winery’s products.

Wine tastings may be free or there may be a small fee for tasting wines. Regardless, it would be impolite to not purchase at least a few bottles of the estate’s wines. When I do so, I typically try to purchase wines that are not generally available in the U.S. on the assumption that this gives me bragging rights when I finally serve these wines to guests at home.

Thee are literally hundreds of wineries in the Piedmont. Below is a small sample of Piedmont wineries, arranged alphabetically, that welcome visitors for tours and tastings. Most produce and market a full range of red and white Piemontese wines from Arneis, Moscato and Dolcetto to Barbaresco, Barbera and Barolo wines in addition to some specialty wines and spirits like Chinato and Grappa. With few exceptions, reservations are requested. Phone, fax numbers and email addresses for purposes of reservations can be obtained from the accompanying websites.

Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Cortese, Strada Rabajà 80 – 12050 Barbaresco
www.cortesegiuseppe.it

Azienda Agricola Marcarini, Piazza Martiri, 2 – La Morra
www.marcarini.it

Azienda Agricola Marenco Aldo, Borgata Pironi, 25 - 12063 Dogliani
Azienda Marenco Aldo website

Azienda Agricola Paitin di Pasquero Elia, Via Serra Boella, 20 - 12052 Neive
paitin

Azienda Agricola Pecchenino, Borg. Valdiberti, 59 - 12063 Dogliani
pecchenino

Azienda Agricola Rivetto, Loc. Lirano 2 - 12050 Sinio
The estate’s wines can be sampled at it’s tasting room in Alba at Piazza Garibaldi, 2 – 12051 Alba but visits to the winery can also be made by appointment.
www.rivetto.it

Cantina Gigi Rosso, Strada Alba-Barolo, 20 – 12060 Castiglione Falletto
www.gigirosso.com

Castellari Bergaglio, Fraz. Rovereto, 136 – 15066 Gavi
castellari bergaglio

Ceretto Aziende Vitivinicole, Strada Provinciale Alba/Barolo, Località San Cassiano, 34 - 12051 Alba. Visitors can participate in either the regular scheduled guided tours with tastings at the Monsordo - Bernardina Estate in Alba at 10.00 a.m. or 3.00 p.m. or one of the estate’s personalized tour and tastings.
www.ceretto.com

Fontanafredda, Via Alba, 15 - 12050 Serralunga d’Alba
www.fontanafredda.it

Fratelli Serio e Battista Borgogno, Via Crosia, 12 Loc. Cannubi - 12060 Barolo
www.borgognoseriobattista.it

Marchesi di Barolo, Via Alba, 12 - 12060 Barolo
www.marchesidibarolo.com

Pio Cesare Azienda Agricola, Via Cesare Balbo 6 - 12051 Alba
www.piocesare.it

Prunotto, Località San Cassiano, 4/G – 12051 Alba
www.prunotto.it

Rocche Costamagna, Via Vittorio  Emanuele, 8 - 12064 La Morra www.rocchecostamagna.it

Vietti, Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 5 – 12060 Castiglione Falletto
Vietti Winery website

Wine Bars
So how else can a visitor go about sampling the great local wines of the Piedmont? Fortunately, there are numerous wine bars (called enoteche, plural of enoteca in Italian) where visitors can sample a variety of Piedmont wines. Unique to the Piedmont region is a system of enoteca regionales that are owned and operated by local wine cooperatives, associations or wine consortiums that offer wines of local producers for tasting and sale. Their wine offerings are typically limited to wines from the members of their sponsoring organization. For example, the Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco offers Barbaresco wines produced by members of the Barbaresco cooperative while the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo offers the numerous wines of the Barolo wine zone for tasting and sale.

Some of the enoteca regionales offer regularly scheduled group tastings of wines. These guided wine tastings typically require advance reservations.

Many of these enoteca regionales are located in interesting historic buildings such as castles, palazzi (palaces) and, in a few cases, deconsecrated churches or chapels. Other enoteche are located in more modest but no less accommodating buildings where the décor can range from stylish to rustic. They often will have brochures and maps of designated local, self-guided wine itineraries called Strade del Vino or “Wine Roads” for guests who want to visit and/or schedule tastings at member wineries.

The Piedmont also has a vibrant system of private wine shops and wine bars that offer tasting and sales facilities. Here you can sample wines by the glass or purchase wines by the bottle or case. Some may have a limited number of wines available by the glass while others may have dozens, even hundreds, of wines available by the glass. And the selection of wines available can range from local producers exclusively to wines from the wider region or even Italy generally.

While wine tastings at some wine shops and wine bars are free most have fixed tasting fees or flexible fees based on what you consume. A few of the wine bars are run by vineyard owners and offer other estate-produced products in addition to the wines. Most will offer some sort of food to accompany the wines that will range from simple snacks to full restaurant-type menus.

Listed below are some interesting wine bars and wine shops in the Piedmont region. The listing is by no means comprehensive and is meant to simply give you some idea of the variety and diversity of wine tasting facilities in the Piedmont region.

Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco
The Enoteca is hEnoteca Regionale del Barbaresco is in the deconsecrated chapel of San Donatooused in the deconsecrated, early 19th-century chapel of San Donato. The Enoteca has Barbaresco-themed displays and a tasting bar featuring numerous Barbaresco wines as well as a selection of grappas. Extravagant tastings and numerous wine-related events are held here each year during the first week of September to celebrate the forthcoming harvest.
Hours of operation:
9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 to 6:00 pm.
Closed on Wednesdays and all of January.
Piazza del Municipio, 7 - 12050 Barbaresco View Map
Ph: +39-0173-635251; email: enoteca@enotecadelbarbaresco.it
website: enoteca barbaresco

Enoteca Regionale del Barolo
Situated in the awe-inspiring medieval castle of Marchesi Falletti located in and owned by the commune (town or municipality) of Barolo, the Enoteca feDisplay of Barolos in the Enoteca Regionale del Baroloatures the numerous wines of the 11 communes that comprise the Barolo wine zone. Barolos as well as Barolo Chinato and grappas are available for sale. Guided tours of the castle and its history and culture museum are available.
Hours of operation:
10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 to 6:30 pm
Closed on Thursdays and all of January.
Piazza Falletti - 12060 Barolo View Map
Ph: +39-0173-56277; email: barolo@baroloworld.it
website:Enoteca regionale del Barolo

Voglia di Vino
This is a combination wine bar, wine shop and restaurant in Alba. The wine shop shelves are stocked with over 400 different bottles of wine from 150 producers with more than 60 wines available by the glass. The restaruant has an extensive list of appetizers, pasta dishes and well-prepared meat offerings plus desserts. It is just the place for those that want to sample some wines accompanied by some well-prepared dishes and perhaps take a couple of bottles of wine home with them.
Closed  Monday and Tuesday.
Open: Wednesday - Thursday 11:30 am - 3:00 pm.
Friday - Sunday 11:30 am - 11:30 pm.
Via Elvio Pertinace, 7a - 12051 Alba View Map
Ph: +39-0173-363404; email: info@lavogliadivino.com
website: Voglia di Vino

Enoteca Regionale Colline del Moscato
The Enoteca is located in the old prison of the 18th-century Castle of Mango, located in the commune of Mango, approximately 8 miles due east of Alba. The Enoteca showcases wines from the Moscato grape such as Moscato d’Asti, Asti Spumanti, Moscato Passito, Moscato grappa as well as some other wines and local products from the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato areas. Adjacent to the Enoteca is the restaurant Del Castello that serves food of the local area and wines.
Hours of operation:
Wednesday through Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and the month of January.
Piazza XX Settembre - 12056 Mango View Map
Ph: 0141.892291; email: info@enotecamoscato.it
website: Enoteca Moscato website. (Italian only)

Enoteca La Vite Turchese
This is a combination wine bar, wine shop and informal eatery with small plate offerings that provides a pleasant respite from some of the more formal white-tablecloth restaurants with expansive wine cellars in the wine-centric town of Barolo. However, wine bar offers more than 230 wines by the glass and the wine shop stocks an extensive number of wines from marquee-name producers as well as numerous not-so-well-known local, family owned and operated producers as well.
Hours: Monday 2:00 - 8:00 pm.
Closed Tuesday.
Wednesday 2:00 - 9:00 pm.
Thursday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm.
Friday - Saturday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm.
Sunday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm.
Via Alba, 5 - 12060 Barolo View Map
Ph: +39-366-455-6744
website: La Vite Turchase

Enoteca Regionale di Acqui Terme
The Enoteca is located in the cellars of the 16th-century Palazzo Robellini in the center of the commune of Acqui Terme, approximately 25 miles due east of Alba. The Enoteca Enoteca Regionale di Acqui Terme is located in the cellars of the 16th century Palazzo Robellini in Acqui Terme consists of several rooms in the Palazzo’s cellar with brick walls and stone-vaulted ceilings. The Enoteca stocks a wide range of wines from the upper Monferrato, including Brachetto d’Acqui, Dolcetto d’Acqui, Gavi, Dolcetto d’Ovada, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato and Moscato Passito, in addition to grappas and other locally-produced spirits.
Hours of operation:
9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm (Sundays 4:00 pm to 7 pm)
Closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and the month of January.
Piazza Abramo Levi, 7 - 15011 Acqui Terme View Map
Ph: +39-0144-770273; email: enoteca@termeevino.it
website: enoteca acqui terme

Enoteca Regionale Piemontese Cavour
The Enoteca is located in the monumental, 13th-century castle Grinzane Cavour that Castello di Grinzane Cavourwas once the home of the Count Cavour. Located approximately 5 miles south of Alba, the Enoteca was established in 1967, making it the oldest Enoteca Regionale in the Piedmont. It offers a broad selection of wines from the Piedmont but features Barolos and Barbarescos. On the top floors of the castle is a museum displaying ancient implements, handicrafts and furniture of the Alba area that is well worth visiting. On the floor above the Enoteca is the Grinzane Cavour Restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday.
Hours of operation:
April through October: 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
November through March: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Closed Tuesdays and the month of January.
Castello di Grinzane Cavour, Via Castello, 5 - 12060 Grinzane Cavour View Map
Phone: +39-0173-262159;
email: info@castellogrinzane.com
website: www.castellogrinzane.com

Bottega del Vino Dolcetto di Dogliani
The wine shop is housed in the vaulted stone cellar of the 15th-century Palazzo Communale in the commune of Dogliani, approximately 13 miles south and west of Alba. Here you can taste your way through dozens of Dolcetto wines from nearly 50 producers. Tastings are free.
Hours of operation:
Friday: 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Piazza S. Paolo, 9 - 12063 Dogliani View Map
Ph: +39-0173-742260; email:
info@bottegadelvino.org
website:
Bottega del vino Dolcetto (Italian only)

La Bottega dei Quattro Vini
The Bottega is in the center of the commune of Neive, one of three major Barbaresco communes. It is located in the cellar of the historic 18th-century Neive town hall and has a large selection of Barbaresco, Barbera and other wines and food products from the surrounding area.
Hours of operation:
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10:30 am to 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and the month of February.
Piazza Italia, 2 - 12052 Neive View Map
Ph: +39-0173-677014; email: info@bottegadei4vini.com
website: bottega dei quattro vini

Bottega del Vino di Novello
Located in the center of the commune of Novello, approximately 9 miles south of Alba. The wine shop is located in the crypt of a deconsecrated church of San Sebastiano.
Hours of operation:
Saturday: 3:00 to 6:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am 12:00 noon and 3:00 to 6:00 pm
Via Roma, 1 - 12060 Novello View Map
Ph: +39-0173-731147

Marchesi di Barolo
This award-winning winery has a historic enoteca with a "library" consisting of one of the most complete selection of Barolo wines available, including old Barolos from 1938. The Enoteca and Vineria offer specialty wine tastings accompanied by samples of various local foods. Upstairs is a formal restaurant specializing in Piemontese cuisine accompanied by the estate’s wines for those who want a more elegant dining experience. Complimentary guided tours available but fees apply for tastings.
Hours of operation:
Open 7 days a week, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Closed  December 20th through March 1st and the month of August.
Via Rome, 1 - 12060 Barolo View Map
Ph: +39-0173-564491; email: info@marchesibarolo.com
website: Marchesi di Barolo

Enoteca del Roero
The Enoteca is located in an old palazzo in the center of Canale, a small town approximately 8 miles north of Alba. The Enoteca features wines from over 100 producers in the Roero and includes Roero Arneis, Barbera d’Alba and Favorita wines. Above the Enoteca is the elegant restaurant All’Enoteca, one of the Roero’s best restaurants (the restaurant’s website is www.davidepalluda.it).
Hours of operation:
9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Closed Wednesdays.
Via Roma, 57 - 10043 Canale View Map
Ph: +39-0173-978228; email: informazioni@enotecadelroero.it
website: enoteca del roero (Italian only)

Cantina Comunale di La Morra
La Morra is situated on the top of a hill in the heart of Barolo country. The Cantina Communale is housed in the 17th-century cellars of the former Palazzo Falletti and serves as a public enoteca for 50 local wine producers. The enoteca offers Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera and, of course, Barolo wines for tasting and sale.
Hours of operation:
10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Closed Tuesdays
Via Carlo Alberto, 2 - 12054 La Morra View Map
Ph: +39-0173-509204; email: info@cantinalamorra.com
website: Cantina di La Morra (Italian only)

Enoteca del Monferrato
This enoteca is located in the ancient wine cellars of the 15th-century Palazzo di Callori in the picturesque village of Vignale Monferrato, approximately 25 miles northeast of Alba. It serves a large number of first-rate Monferrato wines and local grappas but gives particular emphasis to Barbera, Grignolino, Freisa and Malvasia wines. Adjacent to the Enoteca is the restaurant La Vineria dell’Enoteca which serves simple, traditional local dishes (only open during the summer). During the summer, Vignale Monferrato hosts an international ballet festival featuring world-class ballet competitions as well as ballet classes, seminars and workshops.
Hours of operation:
Monday - Friday: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Closed during the month of January and some days in August.
Pizazza Costello - 15033 Casale Monferrato View Map
Ph: +39-346-224-1702; email: info@enotecadelmonferrato.it
website: enoteca del monferrato (Italian only)

Note – Information regarding the wineries and winebars reviewed is accurate as of the date of this posting. However, this is Italy and times and dates of operation can change with short notice. My recommendation is to avoid disappointment by by checking their websites and/or making reservations by phone or email.

For a list of recommended Piedmont restaurants to visit after touring the wineries and wine bars, see My Favorite Piedmont Restaurants.

©Richard Marcis
Updated June 28, 2018

 

 

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