Old farmer in Montefalco holding a bunch of Sagrantino grapes after harvest at Fratelli Pardi


With 605 grape varieties, and a huge number of wineries and brands to choose from, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by Italian wine. We’ve developed these guides to help you learn interesting facts and discover quality wines that will also match your personal preferences. Our essential guides will help you to navigate the different grapes, wine styles and regions of Italy while our articles on food pairings will help you to plan the perfect dinner.

The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine (with maps)

Map of Italy's most important wines (c) Independent Wine 2022

Our Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine gives an overview of Italian wine and answers key questions: how many Italian wines are there? what are the most important Italian red, white and sparkling wines? how exactly do quality levels (DOCG, DOC and IGT) work, and what’s the difference with DOP and IGP?

The Guide tells about Italy’s key wine-producing provinces, which wines are produced there, and what grapes are used.

We’ve also included typical tasting notes so you have some idea of what your wine might taste like, before you buy. Click here to read our Ultimate Guide.

Important Italian Wine Denominations

Oleg, director of Independent Wine, and Paolo Demarie discussing positions of vineyards in Barolo

Denomination (denominazione) is how Italian wine type is identified on the label (“Asti DOCG” or ” Barbera d’Alba DOC”). It’s equivalent to the French term “appellation”. Each denomination has strict winemaking rules registered by the Italian Government: click to learn more.

Read our guides to key Italian denominations and wine types:

Grape Guides

Brunello biotype, Sangiovese grapes, Corte Pavone winery

Italy’s most important wine grapes are Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Catarratto, Merlot and Trebbiano. But there’s much more to it: with 605 registered grapes, Italy has more varietals than any other country.

What makes Italy really fascinating is that the same grapes are found under different local names (example: “Verdicchio” in Le Marche or “Turbiana” in Veneto), and similar-sounding grapes aren’t related (“Trebbiano di Toscana” vs “Trebbiano di Soave”).

If you share our passion and want to lean which grapes produce noble Italian wines, read our guides below:

Guide to Italian Food and Wine Pairing

Pan with hot pasta with meat sauce and a glass of red wine

Food and wine pairing is key to creating the perfect meal. In the restaurant industry this is usually handled by sommeliers. When you’re dining at home, it’s up to you to make the right choice – so we’ve created this “Guide to Italian Food and Wine Pairing”, full of practical tips.

You may also like our wine guides dedicated to particular types of food:

Wine Gifts: the Essential Guide

Bottles of wine in gift wrapping, Castello di Radda, box of wine and gift card

If your special someone has been dropping hints about which wine they want, or won’t stop talking about their favourite grapes and regions, it’s easy to choose the best wine gift. But what if you don’t know for sure? Or if you’re personally not really into wine and feel overwhelmed by all the different options?

Don’t worry. With our tips, you’ll be able to safely choose a high-quality wine that they’ll adore.

Practical Guides to Italian Wine Tourism