September 7 – 10: CHIANTI CLASSICO WINE FESTIVAL. Piazza Matteotti, Greve in Chianti. Open 5 – 10 pm (Thursday), 11 am – 1 am (Friday & Saturday), 9 am – 10 pm (Sunday).
Set in the picturesque town of Greve, the Chianti Classico Wine Festival showcases the world-famous wines of Chianti. Surrounded by rolling hills covered with vineyards, Greve attracts visitors year round from all over the world. On the second weekend of September more than 60 vintners bring their products to the town’s main piazza for locals and “wine tourists” to sample.
Visitors can purchase a souvenir wine glass for €10 along with a card good for up to seven tastings. In addition, the pizza slice-shaped Piazza Matteotti contains tables filled with local olive oil, cheese and salami for free sampling.
Beginning Thursday at 5 pm with the official inauguration of the festival, the four-day program of events offers music, processions with flag throwing, guided tours of churches and castles and, of course, tastings of the region’s bounty.
Some of the scheduled events include DJ music on Friday and Saturday nights (Parco della Piscina, 9:30 pm to 1 am), a dance show in Piazza delle Cantine (Saturday 5 pm) and on Sunday morning a guided walking tour featuring the nature and history of the Greve in Chianti area (Piazza Trento, 9 am – 12 noon).
For those wishing to learn more about Chianti wines, guided wine tastings facilitated by a wine critic will be offered on Saturday (Sala Consiliare, Palazzo Comunale, 4 – 5 pm and 5:30 – 6:30 pm. €15). Info and reservations at email@example.com.
A complete schedule of events can be seen at the festival website: www.expochianticlassico.com
September 14 – 17: VINO AL VINO WINE FESTIVAL. Piazza Bucciarelli, Panzano. Open 4:30 – 8 pm (Thursday), 12 noon – 7:30 pm (Friday), 11 am – 8 pm (Saturday),11 am – 7:30 pm (Sunday).
The following weekend the hilltop village of Panzano, just 8 km. from Greve, holds its own wine festival, Vino al Vino. With its more intimate atmosphere, in addition to sampling the harvest, visitors also have the opportunity to chat with winemakers and enjoy live jazz. Food stalls plan to offer local dishes and snacks for sale.
The consortium of 19 area winemakers initiated a project in 2005 called “Sustainable Panzano.” The vintners adopted the goal of sustainable farming to assure the region would continue to produce excellent wines through wise agricultural techniques and reducing chemicals. As a result in 2017 more than 70% of all Panzano vineyards are either organic or sustainable.
The towns of Greve in Chianti and Panzano invite guests to visit, taste their wines, enjoy some local cuisine and the beautiful Chianti countryside. True wine aficionados will want to keep an eye out for 2015 vintage reds, said to be an excellent year. (rita kungel)