Enotecas and wine shops, the cantine sociali (cellars and sales premises shared by a number of producers from the same district), museums of wine and winemaking, Grape growers Associations and Associations promoting local culture and heritage: any and all of these can become the ideal places to build up an itinerary for a wine loving tourist, and create a wine trail across Piedmont.
Those responsible for the “distretti del vino ,“(recognized wine districts) take on the task of promoting hospitality in their area, and guide visitors onto these wine trails which lead inevitably from the vineyard to the wine maker, distribution and degustations.
In the south of the Monferrato hills the trail takes the tourist through low hills and along the slopes of the Apennine mountains, linking Piedmont to Liguria.
Here are many delicious foods produced locally that must be sampled: truffles, mushrooms and chestnuts; superb beef and pork, including the inimitable ”filetto baciato” from Ponzone, a unique salami with a core of pork fillet; and DOP cheeses like the creamy robiola from Roccaverano.
Naturally, the wines to complement these delights are from the nearby Gavi hills: Brachetto , Dolcetto d’Acqui and Cortese Alto Monferrato.
As you follow the Astesana Wine Trail, not far from Asti, Canelli and Nizza Monferrato, through countryside dotted with castles and old farm houses, the vineyards of Barbera and Moscato d’Asti cover the hillsides as far as the eye can see.
Italian spumante was developed two centuries ago in Canelli, as was Asti Spumante, which still today leads all other Italian wines in worldwide sales. Food and wine festivals often take place in the towns along the Wine Trails, especially at grape harvest time.
One of these is the Douja d’Or (golden barrel), celebrated in Asti during the month of September with a catalogue of hundreds of Italian labels. Wine is center stage at the festival of the Cantine Aperte (open cellars).
Bacchus, god of wine, is celebrated with music, dance and poetry readings, while tourists from Italy and abroad toast him with the best wines the cantine sociali can offer, accompanied by a buffet of succulent local dishes. Another opportunity for indulgence in good wine is provided by the Vinum festival in Alba.
The most prestigious wine fair in Piedmont, it is dedicated to the finest quality wines “d’auteur”, allowing wine professionals and aficionados to participate in seminars and guided tastings.