Why you should plan a wine trip to Italy

Posted on 26 November 2019

Dreaming of sipping an earthy Chianti in sun-drenched Tuscan vineyards and finding the time to plan an Italian wine trip are two entirely different things. Nevertheless, experiencing Italy’s 350 official wine varieties and 20 different wine-producing regions is well worth it. And with a few tricks of the trade, the trip planning can actually be part of the fun.

‘With its extensive range of regions and varietals – not to mention the postcard-perfect scenery – Italy offers countless options for an unforgettable, luxurious wine holiday, a fast-growing type of vacation for travellers,’ says Mr. Jiten Vyas, Regional Group COO at leading visa outsourcing and technology services specialist, VFS Global.

Also read: Things to do in Tuscany: Siena, Florence and the winelands

On the topic of the Vino in Piazza – Wines of Italy exhibition held in Monte Casino, Johannesburg at the weekend, Mr. Vyas says that the stamp ‘Made in Italy’ is coming to signify quality at its best, with more South Africans looking for an authentic Italian experience. ‘From family-owned and produced wines to freshly-hunted truffles and hand-rolled pasta – wine tourism in Italy is a celebration of this.’

Having processed visas around the world for the last 15 years, VFS Global has a partnership with the Italian government and currently provides visa services for would-be Italy-bound travellers in nine countries across Africa – including South Africa and Botswana. ‘We estimate [that there will be] approximately 25,000 Italy visa applications per year,’ says Mr. Vyas, ‘In 2018 alone, VFS Global processed 875,000 Italy visa applications globally.’

Here are three helpful tips for South African nationals seeking a seamless, premium and luxurious visit to this exquisite location:

Knowledge is power

For many people, Italian wine still brings up images of red-and-white checkered tablecloths and wicker-wrapped Chianti bottles, but there is much more to the country’s wine prowess than the ever-popular Tuscan region. Getting to grips with what the lesser-known regions and varietals have to offer means that you can avoid crowds and even impress a few locals.

Try hosting an Italian-themed wine dinner as a fun way to experience some of the different wines and show off your knowledge of other regions like Lombardy and its speciality, Franciacorta, to your guests.

Avoid the hassle and last-minute stress

When planning your travels, always book flights and hotels in advance. Do the same for visas says Mr. Vyas. Italy accepts visa applications up to 90 days before your date of travel. Don’t wait until the last minute.

To avoid the anxiety that comes with waiting for a visa decision, Mr. Vyas suggests choosing the SMS service to track your application. If you are pressed for time and prefer personalised service, he recommends the premium lounge application facility. There is also an optional courier service for the delivery of your passport to your doorstep.

Book in advance

While it’s not always necessary to make wine farm reservations in South Africa – this isn’t the case in Italy. You need to book in advance to avoid being all dressed up with nowhere to go in the Italian vineyards.

It’s important to do prior research on your favourite wine producers (which you may have gleaned after your wine dinner) to check their opening times, booking formats and which options they have for tours and tastings – as well as any special, winemaker-run tastings, chefs’ tables or food pairings.

For more details about visas for your wine trip to Italy, you can visit vfsglobal.com or call +27124253048.


Images: Unsplash and Pixabay

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