Wine Festival Review

So much wine – so little time

Carolyn Abney
September 6, 2007

If you are in the mood to taste some wonderful—primarily red—wines, Chianti is always the best place to do it. This is especially the case in September, a month which offers numerous festivals where you can enjoy food, fun, and, oh yes, lots of vino. Participate in wine tastings by buying a glass at one or all of these end-of-summer festivals. Bottles usually cost from 10 to 15 euro and make a great souvenir or candle-holder!





Starting at around 5pm on Friday, September 7, the charming town of Greve in Chianti will open its 17th annual Chianti Classico Wine Festival. The historic center of town will be closed to traffic, so you can wander from stand to stand and chat with some of Chianti’s well known (and up-and-coming) winemakers, as well as taste their wines and sample the local fare. The stands are open from 11am to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.


A slate of concerts, art shows, and other entertainment add to the fun of this three-day festival. The main square, Piazza Matteoti, boasts plenty of great places to eat. Our favorites eateries are  Mangiando Mangiando (055.854.6372) and Ristorante Giovanni di Verrazzano (055.854.6098). For more information on the festival, see Although it’s a remarkably picturesque drive, you can also get to Greve by SITA bus. But don’t get stuck in Greve: the last bus back to Florence leaves around 7pm.





Three years ago, the Florence Chapter of Slow Food ( teamed up with the town of Fiesole to offer an end-of-summer party in the Roman amphitheater. The feast has since evolved into a serious celebration of wine, featuring a wine-tasting tournament for both novice and expert wine enthusiasts. The tournament will be held on Sunday, September 9, from 10am to 5pm. Both individuals and four-person teams will compete to be named the official wine tasting champion. Guided wine tastings are available for an extra fee. Fiesole is located only 4 kilometers north of downtown Florence and can be reached with ease by the #7 bus.





On this weekend, you will find serious Chianti aficionados in the main square of Panzano in Chianti. The festival is similar to the Greve festival, but on a much smaller scale. Meander from stand to stand and learn more about the region’s most celebrated wineries, Cennatoio, Fattoria la Quercia, Fontodi, Il Vescovino, La Marcellina, La Massa, Le Bocce, Le Fonti, and Monte Bernardi. Go early, because it can get very crowded. Make a lunch reservation at the Enoteca Baldi (055.852.843), which has salads and light meals, or splurge and indulge yourself at Il Vescovino (055.856.0152). If you attend on Sunday, go to Solociccia (055.852.727) and try the set menu featuring a wide range of meats. Panzano is only 10 minutes from Greve, and you can get there by SITA bus. Again, the last bus back to Florence leaves in the early evening.





Although the venue of this festival has been changed to the Relais Certosa Hotel (on the Via Cassia in Bottai, approximately 1 kilometer from the Certosa Exit of the A1), the sheer size and importance of it has not. Expect to taste and discover over 700 different, carefully chosen wines. And be sure not to miss the tastings of extra virgin olive oils from all around Italy, as well as the salamis and cheeses.  For more information, see The aptly named ‘Vinoé piacere’ (Wine is pleasure) festival starts on Friday September 23 at 3pm; at 10 am on Saturday and Sunday and closes at 10pm every day. You can get there by ATAF bus #37.

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