Umbria, Italy wine region

Known as the ‘green heart of Italy,’ the Umbria wine region is a hidden gem in the world of wine in between Tuscany and Le Marche. Umbria is home to a wide range of wine types, from crisp whites to bold reds. 

The region’s wineries are family-owned and operated, preserving traditional winemaking techniques passed down for generations. With its rolling hills and picturesque countryside, a visit to Umbria’s wineries is not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a feast for the eyes. Experience the unique terroir and taste the passion of Umbria’s winemakers with a bottle of Umbrian wine today.

Don’t put off the wine tour of a lifetime any longer. Book your next tasting today and experience the best Umbria has to offer.

Umbria wine region highlights:
  • Picturesque: Rolling hills and medieval hilltop towns.
  • Spiritual: Home to several important religious sites.
  • Artistic: Birthplace of many famous Italian artists.

Overview of the Umbria wine region

The Umbria, situated in central Italy, is notable for its lush and hilly landscape, bordered by Tuscany to the west, Le Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. The region is relatively small, covering an area of only 3,000 square kilometers, and is home to around 30,000 hectares of vineyards.

Umbria is known for producing a diverse range of wines, from crisp whites to bold reds. The region’s most famous red wine is Sagrantino di Montefalco, made from the Sagrantino grape, which is known for its rich, full-bodied wines with intense tannins and a long finish. The region’s most famous white wine is Orvieto, a dry and crisp wine made from the Trebbiano and Verdello grapes.

The winemaking in Umbria is traditionally done by family-owned and operated wineries, who follow the traditional winemaking techniques passed down for generations. The vineyards are located on the rolling hills of the region, with the majority of the vineyards located on the slopes of the Apennines. The region’s wineries are open to visitors, allowing them to experience the unique terroir and taste the passion of Umbria’s winemakers.

Umbria is also known for its indigenous grape varieties, such as Sagrantino, Trebbiano Spoletino, and Grechetto. These varieties are grown almost exclusively in Umbria and produce unique and characteristic wines that are gaining recognition in the international wine world.

In recent years, Umbria’s wines have been awarded numerous prestigious awards and accolades, including the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso and the Wine Spectator’s “Best of” awards, which have helped to raise the profile of the region and its wines.

Umbria wine map

The Umbria, situated in central Italy, is notable for its lush and hilly landscape, bordered by Tuscany to the west, Le Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. The region is relatively small, covering an area of only 3,000 square kilometers, and is home to around 30,000 hectares of vineyards.

Umbria is known for producing a diverse range of wines, from crisp whites to bold reds. The region’s most famous red wine is Sagrantino di Montefalco, made from the Sagrantino grape, which is known for its rich, full-bodied wines with intense tannins and a long finish. The region’s most famous white wine is Orvieto, a dry and crisp wine made from the Trebbiano and Verdello grapes.

The winemaking in Umbria is traditionally done by family-owned and operated wineries, who follow the traditional winemaking techniques passed down for generations. The vineyards are located on the rolling hills of the region, with the majority of the vineyards located on the slopes of the Apennines. The region’s wineries are open to visitors, allowing them to experience the unique terroir and taste the passion of Umbria’s winemakers.

Umbria is also known for its indigenous grape varieties, such as Sagrantino, Trebbiano Spoletino, and Grechetto. These varieties are grown almost exclusively in Umbria and produce unique and characteristic wines that are gaining recognition in the international wine world.

In recent years, Umbria’s wines have been awarded numerous prestigious awards and accolades, including the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso and the Wine Spectator’s “Best of” awards, which have helped to raise the profile of the region and its wines.

Cities to visit in Umbria wine region

Orvieto: Known for its white wine, Orvieto is also home to a well-preserved medieval town and the impressive Orvieto Cathedral.

Torgiano: This charming town is home to the Wine Museum of Umbria and several wineries that offer tastings and tours.

Montefalco: This hilltop town is known for its Sagrantino wine and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.

Gualdo Tadino: This small town is home to the medieval castle of the Baglioni family, who were important patrons of the arts in the region.

Spello: This picturesque town is home to the Roman Villa of Mosaics and several churches and chapels that are decorated with frescoes.

Bevagna: This ancient Roman town is known for its well-preserved Roman theater, medieval churches, and annual medieval reenactment festival.

Spoleto: This charming town is home to the famous Festival of Two Worlds, which is held annually in the summer and features a variety of cultural events, including concerts, theater productions, and art exhibitions.

Assisi: This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for the Basilica of Saint Francis and the Basilica of Santa Chiara, as well as its picturesque streets and charming squares.

Città di Castello: This charming town is home to the Museo Civico, which features a collection of local art and archeological artifacts.

Deruta: A small town famous for its ceramics, here visitors can watch artisans at work in the many workshops and factories, and purchase high-quality ceramics to take home.

Unique places to visit in the Umbria wine region

Besides wine tasting, the Umbria wine region offers a wealth of fun and unique activities that make for an unforgettable trip to Italy. Here are just a few examples.

The Underground City of Orvieto

Orvieto is a town in Umbria region that sits atop a volcanic tuff cliff, and the underground city is a network of caves, tunnels, and wells that have been carved out of the tuff rock over the centuries. The origins of the underground city date back to the Etruscan period, around the 7th century BC. It was used for various purposes such as a place of worship, a place of refuge during times of war, and as a place for the storage of food and water. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the underground city and learn about its history and significance. The underground city is an interesting place to visit, not only for the historical and cultural aspects, but also for the architectural and engineering ingenuity of its constructors.

The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi

The Basilica of Saint Francis is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lower church is home to a series of frescoes by the famous artist Giotto, which depict scenes from the life of St. Francis. The upper church features frescoes by Cimabue and Simone Martini. The basilica is a must-see destination for art lovers and those interested in religious history.

The National Park of Monti Sibillini

This national park is located in the Apennine Mountains and covers an area of over 19,000 hectares. It’s home to a diverse range of wildlife such as wolves, wild boars, and eagles, and it offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding. The park is also known for the Sibilla’s Cave, an ancient place of worship, and the beautiful Lake Pilato, an alpine lake formed by the glaciers. The park is a great destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Eremo delle Carceri

This hermitage is located in the mountains near Assisi and is known for its beautiful setting and the fact that St. Francis used to retreat there. The hermitage is a complex of small chapels and cells carved into the rock, and it’s a great place to enjoy nature and peace. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the hermitage and learn about its history and significance.

The Palazzo dei Consoli in Gualdo Tadino

This Palace is a Gothic-style building that dates back to the 14th century. It features a frescoed hall and many other artworks, and it’s home to the Museo Civico. The palace is an important example of medieval architecture and it offers a great opportunity to learn about the history of the town and the region.

Best wineries to visit in Umbria

Popular wines of Umbria

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a curious traveler looking to explore the local wines, Umbria offers an array of options to suit every palate. Here are some of the best types of wines to taste in Umbria, and why you should try them:

Sagrantino di Montefalco: This full-bodied red wine is made from the Sagrantino grape, which is unique to Umbria. With its intense flavors of blackberry, plum, and spice, it pairs perfectly with hearty meat dishes.
Grechetto: This crisp, refreshing white wine is made from the Grechetto grape, which is grown throughout Umbria. With its citrus and floral notes, it’s the perfect wine to sip on a warm summer day.
Orvieto Classico: This dry white wine is made from a blend of Trebbiano and Grechetto grapes, and is named after the town of Orvieto in Umbria. With its balanced acidity and notes of apple and lemon, it pairs well with seafood dishes.
Montefalco Rosso: This medium-bodied red wine is made from a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Sagrantino grapes. With its flavors of cherry, blackberry, and vanilla, it’s a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods.
Torgiano Rosso Riserva: This complex red wine is made from a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and other local grape varieties. With its flavors of blackberry, leather, and tobacco, it’s the perfect wine to pair with grilled meats and aged cheeses.

No matter which wine you choose, tasting Umbria’s local wines is an experience not to be missed. Cheers to a delicious journey through this beautiful region!

About Umbria Wines: Types & Characteristics

Umbria wines are known for their unique characteristics and flavors. A few of the most notable characteristics of Umbria wines include:

Rich and full-bodied reds: Umbria is particularly known for its red wines, particularly Sagrantino di Montefalco, which is made from the Sagrantino grape. These wines are known for their rich and full-bodied character, with intense tannins and a long finish.

Crisp and dry whites: Umbria also produces a range of white wines, the most famous of which is Orvieto. These wines are known for their crisp and dry character, with notes of citrus and apple.

Indigenous grape varieties: Umbria is known for its indigenous grape varieties such as Sagrantino, Trebbiano Spoletino, and Grechetto. These varieties are grown almost exclusively in Umbria and produce unique and characteristic wines.

Traditional winemaking techniques: The winemaking in Umbria is traditionally done by family-owned and operated wineries that follow the traditional winemaking techniques passed down for generations. This helps to produce wines that reflect the unique terroir and the passion of Umbria’s winemakers.

Recognition in the international wine world: In recent years, Umbria’s wines have been awarded numerous prestigious awards and accolades, including the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso and the Wine Spectator’s “Best of” awards, which have helped to raise the profile of the region and its wines.

Aged wines: Some Umbria wines especially Sagrantino di Montefalco, are known for their aging potential, these wines can be kept in cellar for several years and will typically improve with age, developing a more complex flavor profile.

Appellations of the Umbria wine region

The Umbria wine region in Italy is known for producing high-quality wines, particularly from the Sagrantino grape variety. Here is a list of appellations and sub-regions within Umbria:

  1. Torgiano DOCG
  2. Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
  3. Montefalco Rosso DOC
  4. Colli Martani DOC
  5. Assisi DOC
  6. Spello DOC
  7. Colli Altotiberini DOC
  8. Orvieto DOC

Each appellation and sub-region has its own unique terroir, grape varieties, and winemaking traditions that contribute to the diversity of wines produced in Umbria.

Umbria Wine Taste Notes & Flavors

The wines of Umbria tend to carry bold, full-bodied flavors and complex aromas. Here are some common tasting notes and flavors you might find in a typical Umbrian wine:

  1. Sagrantino is known for its tannic structure and intense flavors of dark fruit, spice, and leather.
  2. Sangiovese is known for its bright acidity and flavors of red fruit, cherry, and earthy undertones.
  3. White wines of the Umbria region tend to have notes of citrus or tropical fruit, along with a crisp minerality that makes them perfect for pairing with seafood or light pasta dishes.
  4. Earthy Undertones: Many wines from Umbria have distinct earthy undertones that come from the region’s clay-rich soil. These can give the wine a rustic character that pairs well with hearty meat dishes or aged cheeses.

Overall, wines from Umbria tend to be robust and full-bodied, with plenty of flavor complexity to explore. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or simply looking to try something new on your next trip to Italy, the wines of Umbria are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Grape Varieties of Umbria wines

The Umbria wine region is known for its distinctive style and that is largely due to the grape varieties that are grown in the region. 

Some of the grape varieties that lend Umbria wines their distinctive style include:

Sagrantino: This grape variety is grown almost exclusively in the Montefalco area and is used to make the region’s most famous red wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco. This grape variety is known for its rich and full-bodied character, with intense tannins and a long finish.

Trebbiano Spoletino: This is a white grape variety grown in the region that is used to make the white wine Orvieto. The grape is known for its crisp and dry character, with notes of citrus and apple.

Grechetto: This is a white grape variety grown in the region, it produces a wine that is dry, crisp, and with a good acidity, it has a floral aroma and notes of citrus and apple.

Sangiovese: This grape variety is commonly grown in the region, and is the main grape used in the production of Torgiano Rosso Riserva and Montefalco Rosso. This grape variety is known for its complexity and depth, and its ability to age well.

Canaiolo: This is a red grape variety that is used as a blending grape in some red wines of the region, it adds complexity and depth to the wine.

Verdea: This is a white grape variety grown in the region, it is used to make the white wine Vernaccia di Orvieto. This grape variety is known for its floral aroma and crisp acidity.

Procanico: This is a white grape variety that is grown in the region, it is used to make the white wine Orvieto Classico. This grape variety is known for its high acidity and minerality, and is often blended with other grape varieties to create a more complex wine.

Drupeggio: This is a red grape variety grown in the region, it is used to make the red wine Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito. This grape variety is known for its rich, full-bodied character, with intense fruit flavors and a long finish.

Malvasia: This is a white grape variety grown in the region, it is used to make the white wine Vernaccia di Orvieto. This grape variety is known for its floral aroma and crisp acidity.

Canaiolo Nero: This is a red grape variety grown in the region, it is used to make the red wine Rosso Orvietano. This grape variety is known for its medium-bodied character and good acidity.

Barbera: This is a red grape variety grown in the region, it is used to make the red wine Rosso Orvietano. This grape variety is known for its medium-bodied character and good acidity.

These grape varieties play an important role in the production of Umbria wines and contribute to the unique character and style of these wines. The combination of the grape varieties, the unique terroir, and traditional winemaking techniques all come together to create the diverse and complex wines that are produced in the Umbria wine region.

Frequently Asked Questions About Umbria wine region

  • What is the climate like in the Umbria wine region?

    The Umbria wine region has a moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters. The region is located in the center of Italy, which means it is protected from the cold winds of the north and the hot winds of the south. This makes it a perfect region for growing grapes.
  • How many wineries are there in Umbria?

    There are currently around 200 wineries in the Umbria wine region. These wineries range from small, family-run operations to larger, more commercial wineries.
  • Are there any wine trails or tours in Umbria?

    Yes, there are several wine trails and tours in Umbria that allow visitors to visit wineries, taste wines, and learn about the region's wine-making traditions. Some of the most popular wine trails include the Strada del Sagrantino and the Strada del Vino dell'Umbria.
  • Can I find organic and biodynamic wines in Umbria?

    Yes, there are many wineries in Umbria that produce organic and biodynamic wines. These wineries use natural and sustainable farming methods to produce high-quality wines that respect the environment.
  • Are there any food and wine pairing events in Umbria?

    Yes, there are many food and wine pairing events in Umbria that allow visitors to taste local wines and food. Some of the most popular events include the Sagrantino Festival and the Orvieto Wine Festival.

Other top wineries to visit in the Umbria wine region