Wineries in Piedmont?
I'm reviving this old thread because I have the same question. We would also like to visit several wineries but are having a bit of difficulty because a few we've written to don't do tastings unless you are in the trade. So any other suggestions for wineries that either have open tasting rooms (not common in Italy, I know) or are eager to make appointments with the general public would be welcome. So far the only one I've found with an open tasting room is Ceretto.
We are leaving May 5th so need some info soon!
As noted in my earlier post, many, if not the majority, of wineries in the Piemonte and elsewhere in Italy do not operate wine tasting rooms and give tours similar to what is so common in Napa/Sonoma. They do not employ the staffs required to operate the tasting rooms, give tours, etc.
That is why many of the wineries offer their wines thru communal tasting rooms similar to the one I mentioned above in the castle at Grinzane Cavour.
You might want to contact the Slow Food headquarters office in the city of Bra. They might be able to give you a list of wineries that welcome visitors and/or a list of the various regional tasting rooms/enotecas..
As DavidT said, the Piemonte tourist offices are excellent. I have tasted wines at the co-op tasting rooms in an old church in Barbaresco and the castle in Barolo. There are commercial tours available also. In March, we took an excellent tour from the wine shop in Cherasco where I almost foundered on 15 different, wonderful wines. The highlights for me were an introduction to Arneis (‘05 Malvira Roero “Trinita”), an aged Chardonnay (‘97 Moccagatta Langhe “Buschet”), an aged Barbaresco (‘90 Michele Chiarto “Rabaja”) and my favorite, a new style Barolo (“01 Conterno Fantino “Sori Ginestra”). You’re going to have fun; I promise you.
I can recommend 2 wineries worth visiting for more than just the wine. The Fontanafredda winery is in a very impressive country house/hunting lodge that is worth seeing. The Renatto Ratto winery has a small museum of wine making implements that are worth a look.
I would also recommend the enoteca in the castle just outside the village of Grinzane Cavour. You can taste wine from a large number of Piemonte wineries there and also tour the castle to see the home of Count Cavour, one of the founders of modern state of Italy.
My experience is the tourist board for the Piemonte region produces excellent brochures and guides (in English) for food & wine touring in the area. Be sure to visit the tourist office in a town such as Alba or Bra.