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You have wine tours, and then you have an Antinori wine tour. This Italian winery in the Chianti region of Tuscany offers a very professional wine tour. From reception to departure, a visit to the Antinory winery and vineyards is immaculate. Maybe even a little too perfect for my taste. So let’s take you on a visit to the Antinori winery and vineyards.

A grand Antinori welcome

A huge parking lot awaits across the street from Antinori’s winery. Visitors to the Antinori winery can park their car for free to be driven up the hill in a van. That short drive alone is impressive: this is not a simple dirt road to a small-scale winegrower. Instead, you enter a network of tunnels to a well-organized wine company, where I report to a counter (which could just as easily have been a hotel counter) for my tour. Before the tour starts, we marvel at the architecture and the Antinori vineyards. The Antinori family is pretty fortunate, I dare say.

The allure of the Antinori winery

The Antinori’s have immersed themselves in wine for over 600 years. The knowledge and passion are passed on from generation to generation. Not that long ago, the family opened the current building: a mega-sized winery with extraordinary architecture amidst the vineyards. In the opening video of the tour, Mr. Antinori admits that it cost a lot of money and that it probably wasn’t the most commercially sound decision. But the family was eager to open the winery and vineyard to the public. And if you do open the winery and vineyards up, then why not go all the way, right?

Eco-friendly winery in Chianti

The idea is that the winery blends into its surroundings, almost invisible. The latter did not quite work out; it is much too large and impressive. The building is eco-friendly, hence choosing many natural materials (terracotta, wood, glass) and building underground. That’s a smart choice because it eliminates the need for air conditioning to cool the space where the wines ferment and rest.

Tip! Want to discover more wineries? Learn where you can enjoy fantastic wine in Tuscany.

The Antinori wine empire

The winery in Chianti, in San Casciano in Val di Pesa, is just one of the sites of the Antinori group. The family owns many vineyards across the country, so they don’t just make Chianti wines. The Chianti grapes are mainly grown on the hill here though: the Sangiovese.

A visit to the Antinori winery: what can you expect?

The tour starts with a movie in a gigantic cinema hall. The film is about the family and the construction of the building that is now the Antinori winery. A guide then takes the group to some works of art from the family’s private collection. A pretty impressive collection: for example, you’ll find a replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s wine crusher.

Silence before the harvest season

The next stop of the tour is the winery itself. The temperature drops considerably because we are 20 meters underground. We see the huge barrels, the perfectly straight-aligned wine barrels… It’s like a museum! The guide assures us that it is a very different scene during the harvest. Chaos and bustle. If you want to visit the Antinori winery during that period, you must book well in advance.

Italian countryside on point

We briefly take a look at the Antinori vineyard and admire the building. On the edge of the vineyard is a beautiful restaurant – the Antinori family owns it, of course. It’s the kind of restaurant you can’t describe any other way than typical Italian in the countryside, including checkered tablecloths and shady spots. Restaurant Rinuccio 1190 is on the roof of the winery. But because the winery is an architectural masterpiece, the rooftop spills over into the Antinori vineyards, so it doesn’t feel like a roof at all.

Restaurant Rinuccio 1190

Wine tasting at Antinori

The wine tour at Antinori ends with wine. What else?! We taste three different Antinori wines. Afterward, there is the possibility of stocking up on wine. It all feels a bit sterile, I must say. We stand at a high U-shaped table with the guide in the middle, and people speak to each other in whispers. I wish the wine tasting at Antinori was a little more fun and easygoing.

So is the Antinori wine tasting tour a MUST-visit when in Tuscany? Yes, if you are also interested in the Antinori family and the remarkable building. No, if you come mainly for the wines. I didn’t think the wine tasting was a memorable experience, a bit too sterile.

By the way, you can order an Antinori wine at Albert Heijn in the Netherlands. To taste beforehand or to enjoy after your visit. 🙂

Visit Antinori winery and vineyard?

Antinori offers several wine tastings and tours. The one I did cost €45. Consult the website to see which winery tour you like and book in advance. If you also want to have lunch or dinner in the restaurant, reserve ahead. Especially in high season.

Can’t get enough of wine tastings? I understand! Read my other tips for wine tastings in Chianti.

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First published: July 2019. The article has been updated since.

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