Siena is the capital of the Tuscan wine country! Just think that some of the most important DOCG's are within Siena: Chianti Classico (parts of), Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and last but not least, Brunello di Montalcino.

Siena has some very nice Enoteca's (wine shops). Starting with of course, Enoteca Italiana, which is an institution in Siena. It is placed in the fortress of town where it is possible to view the beautiful wine exposition down stairs. It is then possible to relax and try different Italian wines by the glass in the bar, or have a meal at the restaurant. There are also books available at the bar, and wine maps of Italy.

Siena has a good deal of wine shops with great selections, just to mention: Enoteca di Piazza, Enoteca San Domenico, Cantina del Brunello, etc. Most of them ship to other countries, and it should be possible to have a VAT reduction (20% on wine) if you ship outside Europe.

Some shops offer wines for tasting, when you are interested in purchasing bottles. But if you are just interested in the tasting, you should go to a wine bar, as for example L'Enocompagnia or a restaurant like Boccondelprete that also offers wines by the glass. A new event in Siena is the Tuscan Wine School that offers short wine classes every day with tastings of 5 wines. Wine maps of Tuscany are sold here for 4 euros.

The alternative is to take a wine tour. Several tours are offered through Sienese travel agencies or the more wine-conscientious Movimento del Turismo del Vino in Siena. It is possible to do private tours to the surrounding wine regions or group tours in coaches. Prices may vary from the mid 30 euros for a coach tour (just remember you get what you pay for) to a couple of hundred euros per person for private tours with a limousine like service.

Of course, it is also possible to set up winery tours on your own, or cruise a region by yourself. Siena is very central for visiting the wine regions, distancing only 10 minutes from the Chianti Classico and max 45 minutes to regions like Montepulciano and Montalcino. Furthermore, being a small town, it isn't very congested and fairly easy to navigate even for the unfamiliar visitor. It's always a good thing to book ahead of time with the wineries (so email them or phone them up in advance - or if you don't know where to go, contact your hotel for suggestions and help). Here's some good advice for who wants to venture out into the Tuscan wine regions: