Home International UNESCO Heritage site: Nebbiolo Vineyards in Piemonte, Italy

UNESCO Heritage site: Nebbiolo Vineyards in Piemonte, Italy

written by Penny Sadler

I am just back from Italy and my first visit to one of Italy’s most famous and important wine regions (no, not Tuscany): Piemonte (or Piedmont). The top-producing wine zones in Piemonte are in the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato regions in central and southern Piemonte. You may have heard of them: in 2014, the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato countryside was included as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Postcard Barolo Vineyards in Piemonte's Langhe Region @PennySadler 2015

Nebbiolo grapes ready for harvest.

It was also my first time to visit a vineyard during harvest season – now I understand what all the excitement is about! It’s a lot of work and must be done quickly. If the weather changes the harvest can be compromised. So there’s a lot of work , but also fun and camaraderie. Every place I visited was family-owned and very old. For example, Marchesi di Barolo (which you’ll hear a lot more about later) has a history of 150 years.

In all, I spent spent six days in the area – and only scratched the surface. There are over 2,000 wine producers in the Langhe-Roero-Monferatto regions. I visited seven.

I’m going to get started by sharing this photo postcard (taken with my iPhone) from Barolo, a tiny village which just happens to be the name of a top wine produced there. I spent six days in a lovely agriturismo, Ca San Ponzio, just a short walk from those vineyards. However, the village is farther away than it looks – about an hours walk.

Those vineyards are all Nebbiolo grapes that are grown almost exclusively in this newly designated UNESCO site. Barolo is only about 6 kilometers in size, and under 1000 inhabitants. It’s a charming village to spend an afternoon walking, eating, visiting the wineries, and, of course, drinking Barolo wine.

I will soon follow up with in-depth information about my fabulous tour guides, the wineries, places to stay, the divine food of Piemonte, and more.

Big news! I passed my WSET exam, with merit! That’s right, I’m now a WSET Level 2 certified wino. If you missed my article about studying for the WSET exam check it out! I’ve had great feedback from fellow winos interested in studying up more themselves. Here’s the link.  

Cin cin! As they say in Italy.

Love to hear from you. Have you been to Piemonte? Are you a fan of Nebbiolo?

Postcard from Barolo Vineyard in Piemonte, Italy @PennySadler 2015

A view of the hamlet of Barolo, in the Langhe region of Piemonte, Italy.

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Karen La Rosa March 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

Rode a bike through the Barolo area at harvest time. It was magical. The wine there has such an interesting history and history is sometimes as big a component as the soil! Lovely photos. Congratulations on the WSET!

Penny Sadler March 23, 2017 at 8:31 am

Thank you Karen. Bike riding could be challenging there with all the hills. You must be in great shape! But how fun!

Meg Jerrard November 15, 2015 at 6:36 pm

So question for you since you were there during Harvest season … is stomping grapes a thing??

Penny Sadler November 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Didn’t see it anywhere. 🙂 It’s all done by machines now.

Sand In My Suitcase November 15, 2015 at 11:42 am

A certified WSET Level 2 wino? That’s a good talking point for a resume :-). Barolo looks like a charming village. It would be nice to visit less touristy places in Italy (going beyond Florence, Venice, Rome, etc.) – hopefully Barolo doesn’t get crowded with tourists?

Penny Sadler November 15, 2015 at 11:52 am

Hey thanks you two. Well, the entire Langhe, Roero, Monferatto area is now a UNESCO site so they are expecting a lot more tourism. We shall see! I recommend going sooner rather than later.

Tamason Gamble November 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

This sounds like a trip I would enjoy – a mixture of wine and Italy. Its refreshing to read about people visiting other areas of Italy other than Tuscany. I also enjoy the wines from around Bardolino.

Penny Sadler November 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

Where is bardolino?

Miranda November 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm

This looks exactly how I imagine an Italian wine-producing village to look. Were you able to help out with any of the harvesting? Can’t wait for your follow up post…

Penny Sadler November 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Hi Miranda, I was able to do a bit of grape picking at another vineyard/ producer. It’s fun but really hard work, especially in the Langhe region where the vineyards are mostly on very steep hills! Thanks for the comments.

Nathalie November 11, 2015 at 9:22 pm

We loved Piedmont when we were there a few years ago, ah the wine! Barolo, we couldn’t get enough of it. It’s such a nice area, and the region is so different from the others. Your post makes me want to go back.

Penny Sadler November 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm

I loved it! It was my first visit there and yes, I want to go back.

Ana O October 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Lovely! I’d love to visit Piedmont soon. My great-grandfather is allegedly for that area but nobody is sure.
Anyway, it sounds as if yoibhad an amazing time in Italia.
Ci vediamo!

Penny Sadler November 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Ana, I too have relatives from the Piemonte and Lombardia regions. I wish I could find some ancestors!

ishita October 15, 2015 at 5:14 am

Looks like you had a great time, Penny! Haven’t been to Piedmont yet but on my list (like so many) Barolo seems so quaint and pretty!

Penny Sadler November 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Barolo is tiny and very charming. The entire Langhe area is full of these small villages. Easy to explore.


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