Umbria isn’t the first wine region that comes to mind for most, yet this region offers a plethora of off-the-beaten-track producers making exceptional wines in an array of styles. Umbria expert and wine-tour leader Kaila Terraneo of Vero in Italy shares her insider tips.

A vineyard in Umbria (Roccafiore)

There is something for every wine-lover in Umbria. The crisp whites of Trebbiano and Grechetto, the endless variations of Sangiovese ‘Rosso’ and the antioxidant-rich powerhouse Sagrantino are made by passionate winemakers who recognise the potential of these lands and are working to preserve them for generations to come. The soils are mostly limestone, which often favours white wines, but actually, the two DOCG (the highest classification for Italian wine) of Umbria are for its reds: Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso Riserva – more on those later.

Umbria boasts very similar soil types to Tuscany, but here one can find some of the best undervalued wines in Italy. International recognition is continuing to grow as consumers discover their dollar stretches further in Umbria. I firmly believe you can’t go wrong here; wines are being made thoughtfully and soils are working in their favour. The outcome? Exceptional products from authentic people.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of seven Umbrian wineries that are sure to impress, whether you’re new to the region, a lover of all things Umbria or somewhere in between. I guarantee there’ll be something for you here. Walk with me and let’s get lost in the vineyards of Umbria.

Azienda Agraria Carini

Picking white grapes at Carini

Most of Carini’s vineyards fall under the Colli del Trasimeno DOC, which surrounds Lake Trasimeno in north-west Umbria. This working farm grows some of the most sought-after products in all of the region; a favourite amongst locals. The classically-made wines pair perfectly with their homegrown cheeses, meats and more. The entirety of the working farm is certified organic and is also the only producer in Umbria to raise, slaughter, and process cinta senese pigs in the same facility (normally a Tuscan practice). You may visit the pigs, if you wish, and witness their free-range lifestyle. Make sure to request one of their charcuterie boards (tagliere) complete with wine pairings. This is the best way to sample a wide array of products like their many styles of pecorino, legumes, olive oil, prosciutto, and numerous other delights. If you’re looking for an authentic farm-to-table experience, Carini is it.

Cantina Bettalunga

Just outside the tiny village of Castello delle Forme lies Bettalunga, a boutique winery owned and operated by Alessandro Lanterna, a new-generation winemaker pushing boundaries and excelling in his field. Alessandro produces single-varietal wines using Trebbiano, Grechetto, Chardonnay, Sangiovese, and, most recently, Grero (a re-discovered grape varietal found just outside of Todi). Bettalunga wines are vibrant and complex. Mark my words: these wines will soon be the benchmark for all that Umbrian grapes can achieve. The unassuming tasting room is no more than a warehouse connected to the family’s farmhouse. If you stop by, expect to taste between the barrels and stainless steel tanks. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet Alfonsina, mother of Alessandro and his number one cheerleader.

Alessandro has been using organic practices in the vineyard since 2018 and plans to apply for certification soon. Each Bettalunga wine has been given a playful name, like the Sangiovese dubbed ‘Mattata’, which means crazy. Many winemakers of the region choose to blend other grapes with their Sangiovese but Alessandro says he thinks “they’re crazy” to do this since the quality around these parts matches that of neighbouring noble Tuscany. If you’re not a red lover, then the Trebbiano and Grechetto are a must-try to deep-dive into the region’s signature white grape varietals.

Cantine Goretti

Goretti's castle

On a notable family estate just outside of Perugia, the Goretti family has been making wine since the early 1900’s and the family exudes a deep love for Umbria. If you visit, you’ll likely meet two generations of Goretti, but most maybe even three, since Nonna Marcella loves to mingle in the shop as she proudly showcases her family’s products. After consistently producing wines of the Colli Perugini DOC for decades, the Goretti family decided to invest in the Montefalco region, which has been gaining international popularity due to its indigenous grape, Sagrantino. In the early 2000’s the family successfully established a state-of-the art winery and vineyards adding DOC and DOCG wines of Montefalco to their legacy.

The contrasting soil types of these two zones give the wine enthusiast great insight into the incredibly diverse production zones of Umbria. If you ask, they will even show you the soils on display in their restored tower and tasting room. L’Arringatore is Goretti’s signature red wine, which they refer to as a “Super Umbrian” – a nod to the Supertuscans of their neighbours to the north-west. When planning a visit, consider booking an onsite cooking class to learn all of Nonna’s secrets in the kitchen, or opt for a ride in their private helicopter to discover the brilliant landscape of Umbria.

Fattoria Mani di Luna

A family affair at Mani di Luna

Mani di Luna, meaning hands of the moon, is brainchild of three friends who met while studying at university. Two of them actually played in a band together and still get together to perform. The trio produces natural wines that are fresh, vibrant, provoking and downright exciting. Their wines are made on a small scale and are usually sold out. The fantastically quirky labels perfectly match what’s inside each bottle. Sulfites are used sparingly, the vineyards are certified organic and year-round production follows biodynamic practices. It doesn’t get more rustically natural than this.

Mani di Luna has 8 hectares in Torgiano, where the land has favoured wine production since the Etruscan times. The site is a full working farm producing olive oil, wine, and agricultural delights like cherries sold in the spring. An impressive element of this operation is that the grapes are all hand-picked and then foot stomped by female feet (for a gentler pressing) using an ancient press. Rocco, the designated winemaker of the operation, loves to say “[ci sono] solo uve, solo uve.” Just grapes, which really is all it takes to make a wine, naturally. Only grapes and some natural yeast found on grape skins. If you’re curious about natural wine, this one is not to be missed.

Cantina Cenci

Nighttime harvest (and party!) at Cantina Cenci

Hands down one of the most passionate farmers in Umbria and fourth generation winemaker, it is on Cenci’s soil that one remembers what an honest and ancient practice winemaking is. Giovanni is one of the younger generation winemakers in the area and if the future of the region is in his hands, we will all be better for it. The vineyards see regenerative and organic practices with a number of grape varietals planted including Trebbiano, Pinot Grigio, Grechetto, Sangiovese, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. His soils are naturally filled with big blocks of travertino (a terrestrial limestone deposited around mineral springs), which gives the wines a hefty backbone of minerality and salinity. I recommend starting with the Pinot Grigio, Grechetto, and rosé for an indication of Cenci’s white wine style. Giovanni’s reds are also a must, from the splendid everyday-drinking Sangiovese to the age-worthy small production bottles.

On top of the diverse wine offerings, the family produces a number of agricultural products including chickpeas and wild herbs that grow amongst the grape vines. The chickpeas are harvested and sold locally, while the herbs are collected and fed to free-range livestock raised nearby. This adds extra minerals and nutrients to their grazing diet. Once the animals are processed they are sold at a local butcher shop called Etrusco. If you schedule a tasting at Cenci, Giovanni and his partner, Claudia, will serve these local meats alongside their wines. There’s no need to think twice about pairing – it’s already done for you. What grows together, goes together.

Cantine Lungarotti

Lungarotti's cantina

On this list of independent producers, two larger winemakers also deserve a mention. Umbrian wine would not be where it is today without the Lungarotti family who have remained pioneers in the region; pushing boundaries with a firm grasp on the future. The Lungarotti family is filled with ambitious, driven women, making their story even more unique and ahead of their time. Teresa was one of the first female enologists in Italy and remains the family’s winemaker today. Lungarotti is responsible for bringing the first DOCG status to Umbria for their Torgiano Rosso and are the founders of both the impressive Wine Museum (MUVIT) and the Olive Oil museum (MOO) in Torgiano. Cellar tours are available at the vast Torgiano property; combined with vineyards in Montefalco, they have 250 hectares making over two dozen labels for every budget.


Roccafiore's Fiordaliso

Finally, if you’re finding yourself inspired to work your way through this list, Roccafiore’s wine resort is a good home base in plain view of the town of Todi. They produce regionally distinct wines on the property of a luxury wine resort, spa and restaurant where you can indulge and pamper yourself after a long day tasting your way through the region. On this blog you can find Alexandra’s review of her stay in their little “wine chalet” amongst the vines.

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