September is a great month to visit Tuscany. The big flocks of tourist have left and the crushing August heat has passed. September is also the month of the grape harvest and the perfect time to explore the Tuscan countryside. The town of Greve in Chianti, about an hour from Florence, organises a wine festival in mid September. It is an unmissable event for wine lovers.
Greve in Chianti
Greve in Chianti, due to its fortuitous location on the Via Francigena and near the Greve river that connects it to Florence, started as a market town and wine producer. Already back in the 14th century its wine was much appreciated by the noble families of Florence and Siena.
Greve in Chianti is one of the most important towns in ‘Chiantishire‘ and still the epicenter for Chianti Classico wine production. If you have time and want to know more about the story of this famous red, visit the wine museum in 10 Piazza Nino Tirinnanzi. The museum closes at 6 pm.
Gallo Nero and its legend
Gallo Nero (or Black Rooster) is the symbol given to Chianti Classico wines. Chianti Classico wines can only be produced in the historic Chianti area. The legend of the black rooster dates back to Medieval times when skirmishes between the towns of Florence and Siena were frequent. In order to set an official border between the the two towns, a rider from each city state was sent out at the first crow of the rooster. Their meeting point would mark the new dividing line. Florentines chose a black rooster which they kept in the dark and without food for 3 days. As soon as it was released, hours before dawn, it started crowing. The Florentine rider gained precious hours over his Sienese counterpart, and made the Chianti area fall almost completely under Florence’s rule.
The Wine Festival of Greve in Chianti
The Greve in Chianti Wine Festival takes place the second weekend of September. It regroups about 70 wine producers from 8 Chianti towns. There are more than 100 wines to choose from. The major player of the festival is the Gallo Nero (or Chianti Classico).
At the entrance, you buy a wine glass and a ticket that allows you to try up to 8 different wines. If you want some expert supervision, you can also have a wine tasting with a sommelier (not included with ticket). This event is the perfect opportunity meet winemakers and stock up on your favorite vintage.
Though the main focus of the festival is wine, Greve in Chianti organises many other events including talks, music and dancing, a historical parade, and much more.
Laws are very strict in Italy when it comes to drinking and driving. If you don’t want to worry about driving after all the wine tasting, the best option is to book a private car with driver to take you to the Chianti region.
Greve in Chianti wine festival is the perfect opportunity to get to know more about Tuscany’s most famous wine and put a face on an ancestral art by interacting directly with producers. It is also a good starting point to explore the beauty of the Chianti area (if you like it you can book a private tour of Chianti) with its rolling hills, cypress trees and endless vineyards.