WTA Must-Visit nominees in Italy: the Renaissance of Wine and Culture


Italy is famous for its wines all over the world — and is flooded by tourists from all around the globe most of the year. Wine, gastronomy and tourism — what can make a better combination, the essence of Dolce Vita? The best Italian winemakers understand this combo is unbeatable, and some of them have been nominated for the Must-Visit category by Wine Travel Awards.


Venissa Estate

Venissa Estate, the WTA nominee (Must-Visit category) is located on Mazzorbo Island, which, along with Burano and Torcello, is one of the most famous islands of the magnificent Venice. Venissa is a historical estate which has been restored by the well-known winemaking family, Bisol, boasting a “walled vineyard” growing Dorona – a local variety indigenous to the lagoon area — that became nearly extinct after the great flood of 1966.

The Venissa Estate

Venissa has been a pioneer in bringing wine back to the lagoon, which is in fact a unique place for viticulture. Today, this walled vineyard produces 3000 bottles of Venissa Bianco, one of the world’s most sought-after wines fancied by enthusiasts and collectors, made of Dorona grape. The winery’s famous red, Rosso Venissa, is produced from Merlot and Carmenere grown in a 50-year old vineyard located on the island of Santa Cristina. Both are wines that immediately drew the interest of wine connoisseurs, and gained lots of international tasting awards.

The Venissa Estate

The walled vineyard works as a perfect setting for the Ristorante Venissa, offering a unique spin on Native Venice through its traditional cuisine with an environmental impact, serving lots of local vegetables, as well as fish and seafood fresh from the lagoon. Venissa’s tourist complexes also has Osteria Contemporanea, where food becomes convivial and the atmosphere is cheerful and relaxed, and Venissa Bar with snacks, wines and cocktails. Guests are welcome to take a tour of the estate and attend the wine tasting, and stay overnight in the Wine Resort which has a few rooms, or in one of the 13 rooms of Casa Burano, Venissa’s hospitality project on Burano island.

Visiting Venissa Estate is a not-to-be-missed experience for winelovers. Please vote for this nominee here.

Cantine Viola

Cantine Viola, a winery producing Moscato di Saracena, a unique sweet wine crafted with remarkably sophisticated techniques, is located in Saracena, a small town nestled at the base of the Pollino massif, which spans Calabria and Puglia. Saracena remains largely undiscovered by winelovers, yet it is the birthplace of one the world’s most unique wines, Moscato Passito di Saracena. The ancient tradition of producing this wine was nearly forgotten, but, luckily, revived in 1999 by local winemaker Luigi Viola. Since then, Luigi and his entire family have been dedicated to reviving the local Moscato tradition. It’s no surprise that this exquisite wine, supplied to the Pope’s court for centuries, is considered to be a special treat by many enthusiasts.

Cantine Viola – Moscato di Saracena

Cantine Viola’s 2 ha of vineyards, situated in the Saracena area at an altitude of 350 meters above sea level, adhere to the Bioagricert organic certification standards. These vineyards are mostly dedicated to cultivating the renowned Moscato di Saracena. In addition to Moscato Passito, the winery offers a diverse collection of wines, including the Rosso Viola rose wine, the Bianco Margherita white wine, and grappa. The younger generation of the Viola family has also established a brewery at the lower floor of the winery, crafting unique beer using extractions derived from the production of Moscato Passito di Saracena.

Cantine Viola – Moscato di Saracena

Cantine Viola welcomes tourists, offering vineyard tours and wine tastings, pairing their wines with local and national delicacies — cheeses, cured meats, traditional desserts, and more. Please don’t miss the chance to vote for this unique winery, the WTA nominee in the Must-Visit Category, here.

Gianfranco Fino

Gianfranco Fino winery, another WTA nominee, an authentic yet luxurious winemaking and wine tourism spot which started from a real “garage” winery in South Italy, revive local terroirs and the former glory of local wines, totally changing the wine experts and winelovers’ perception of Primitivo di Manduria and Negroamaro.

Gianfranco Fino’s wines are exclusively made from Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes coming from his own vineyards. The winery produces 5 red wines and a rosé sparkling wine by Methode Traditionelle, and each wine tells a unique story of terroir and tradition. The ES più Sole Salento Sweet Primitivo IGT offers a sweet indulgence, while the sparkling SN Rosé from Negroamaro grapes adds a touch of effervescence to the lineup.

Visitors to the Gianfranco Fino‘s family winery are welcome to explore the vineyards and cellar. Those willing to stay overnight can do it in luxury and comfort. Gianfranco Fino offers three types of rooms to choose from — Junior Suite, SPA Suite, and Exclusive SPA Suite (this room even boasts a large hammam for ultimate relaxation). Guests can also relax on a private patio overlooking the vineyards. Unforgettable experience. But don‘t forget to vote for Gianfranco Fino Winery here!

Azienda Agricola Arrighi

Azienda Agricola Arrighi is a unique winery famous for its experiments producing wines by the method which goes back 2500 years — under the sea. The enological experiment is considered to be the synergy of a winemaking legend and the winemaker Antonio Arrighi’s curiosity and great passion for making incredible wines.

Azienda Agricola Arrighi

The  Arrighi Vineyards are located in Porto Azzurro, on the island of Elba. A vineyard with a view, a natural amphitheatre, an ideal place to support the work of nature in which Antonio Arrighi, winemaker since 1970, carries on the family business, now in its fifth generation, applying particular winemaking techniques. Antonio uses Ansonica grapes which are immersed in the sea for 5 days between 7 and 10 meters deep, protected in wicker baskets. During the days of immersion, the sea salt penetrates inside the grapes without damaging the skin. After that the grapes are sun-dried, their aromas preserved and concentrated. The subsequent fermentation of the grapes takes place in terracotta amphorae with all the must, excluding stems. The winemaker is using wild yeasts and no sulphites — the presence of salt in the grapes has a disinfectant effect, making sulphites unnecessary for the stabilization of the wine. After a year of refinement in the bottle, the winemaker gets an extremely natural wine, very similar to the one produced 2500 years ago on the island of Chios, a small island in the eastern Aegean, which was part of that small elite of Greek wines defined by Varrone as “the wines of the rich”.

Azienda Agricola Arrighi

This unique wine is well worth tasting, and the winery — well worth visiting! Don‘t forget to vote for the nominee here!