Abruzzo Wine Region – What to Know

Masciarelli Winery in Abruzzo Italy
It feels like everyone and their mother went to Italy this summer — myself included (sorry!). I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Italy’s very underrated Abruzzo wine region, a gem that is mostly known for its incredible Montepulciano but has so much more to offer.

The Abruzzo Wine Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo) invited journalists and wine professionals to visit the Abruzzo wine region and all it had to offer a couple of months ago. And it was one of the most incredible wine experiences I’ve ever had. Plus, it was far less touristy than other wine regions in Italy, which made it an idyllic summer escape. 

If you’re thinking about planning a wine tasting trip to Italy in the future, here’s what you need to know about the Abruzzo wine region.

Crecchio Abruzzo Italy Town

Pasetti WInery in Pescosansonesco Abruzzo Italy
Feudo Antico Winery in Tollo Abruzzo Italy, Farm Rio Yellow 3D Flowers Midi Dress

Palazzo D’Avalos Vasto Abruzzo Italy

The Abruzzo Wine Region – What to Know

Abruzzo Wine Region: How to Get There

Abruzzo is located on the central coast of Italy, about 3 hours east of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea. To reach this wine region, I recommend flying into the Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO), spending a day or two in Rome, and then heading to Abruzzo.

You can also take a bus or train from Rome to Abruzzo for less than $40 USD. But I’d highly recommend hiring a private driver to get around once you get to the region. While local bus and coach companies can shuttle you around Abruzzo, there isn’t much flexibility with their schedules. They operate from 8 AM-1 PM and 4 PM-Midnight daily. And if you need transportation outside of those times, you would be out of luck.

If you opt to rent a car and drive around Abruzzo, note Italy is pretty tough to drive around. If you can handle driving a car manually up and down steep, narrow hills, then go for it. However, driving around Italy is not a task for the faint-hearted. 

Abruzzo Wine Region: Its Rich History

Abruzzo is one of the world’s oldest wine-growing regions, with its winemaking traditions going as far back as the sixth century BC. The Etruscans introduced winemaking to the region, but the population of Abruzzo declined over several centuries. And as a result, viticulture was grounded to a halt.

In the past 40-50 years, the Abruzzo region has experienced a resurgence of winemaking. Producers in the region have refined historical winemaking methods. And the region is now home to around 250 wineries. 

Montepulciano D'Abruzzo from Castorani Winery in Alanno Abruzzo Italy

Barrels from Masciarelli Winery | Abruzzo Wine Region - What to Know

Best Abruzzo Wines

Abruzzo is most known for its Montepulciano wine. However, the region also boasts lovely white wines and delicious rosés. You’re also going to get the most bang for your buck with Abruzzo wines — this region is known for producing high-quality wines for an attainable price point.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has very high production standards, and was first classified as a DOC in 1968. DOC stands for Denominazione di origine controllata, which translates to “controlled designation of origin.” So in order for a wine to be labeled as a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, it has to contain a minimum of 85% Montepulciano grapes, with up to 15% of Sangiovese permitted to fill out the remainder of the wine.

Additionally, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo must be aged for a minimum of 5 months prior to release. And bottles labeled “Riserva” must be aged at least two years, including a minimum of 9 months in wood barrels. 

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of the most widely exported DOC wines in Italy. And it’s fairly easy to find in the U.S. This wine is acidic with high tannins and typically has pepper, cherry, plum, and vanilla tasting notes. I’d pair this wine with smoked meats, pizza, bolognese, and parmesan cheese. 

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo

If you’re a fan of rosé wine, you’re in for a treat. The rosé style of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is known as Cerasuolo, which translates to “cherry-red.” This is a medium-to-full-bodied rosé wine that’s on the drier side. And typically has tasting notes of cherry, strawberry, and pomegranate. 

In fact, my favorite food pairings for this varietal include seafood, chicken, risotto, and soup. 

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

One wine that I was not expecting to fall in love with was Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This delightful, dry white wine is very complex — if you’re a red wine drinker, I think you’d enjoy this varietal. It is a fruit-forward DOC wine with apple and floral tasting notes. And would pair perfectly with a plate of cacio e pepe (which, I could totally go for right about now).


Yes, you probably know Pecorino is an Italian cheese, but did you also know that it was a wine varietal as well? In fact, I had never heard of this type of wine until I visited Abruzzo. And it is a delicious, dry, mineral white wine. This wine typically has peach and lemon tasting notes, and also a bit of a spicy finish.

Finding Pecorino wine in the U.S. can be difficult, but I’ve had some luck locating it on Wine-Searcher.com.

Pasetti Winery | Abruzzo Wine Region - What to Know

Chieti Province | Abruzzo Wine Region - What to Know

Abruzzo Wine Producing Provinces


About 75% of Abruzzo wines are produced in the Chieti province, and it is the fifth largest wine-producing region in all of Italy. Chieti is closer to the coast and has a warm, humid climate, which results in high crop yields. In Chieti, you can easily find the four main varietals of the region.


Some of the highest-rated wines come from the Pescara province. Here, the winters are cool, and the summers are hot. And this ideal climate is the reason why these wines are so highly ranked. Here, you’ll mostly find Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.


Teramo is home to a hilly terrain and more highly-rated wines. This province is warm and experiences a significant amount of rainfall each year. Like Pescara, you can also enjoy mostly Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo wines in this region.


L’Aquila is the most mountainous province of Abruzzo and the region’s least populated area. Rosé lovers, rejoice: some of the best Cerasuolo comes from this province.

Castorani Winery in Alanno Abruzzo Italy

Masciarelli Winery in San Martino sulla Marrucina Abruzzo Italy

Best Wineries to Visit in Abruzzo

Some of my favorite wineries that we visited in Abruzzo include:

  • Castorani (Pescara Province): This winery is co-owned by former Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli, and the wine here is truly exquisite. This is a great winery to visit for any type of wine lover: they produce a good selection of white, rosé, and red wine. They’re also planning on opening an inn in the near future. So I would 100% come back to stay at their vineyard.
  • Pasetti (Pescara Province): You will fall in love with this charming, family-owned boutique winery. This winery was a highlight for me — our group spent hours dining and chatting with their family and sampling their incredible selection of wines. The wine was phenomenal, and it was also a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Masciarelli (Chieti Province): If you’ve ever wanted to go wine tasting in a castle in Italy, this is the perfect place to do so. This winery was founded by Gianni Masciarelli, who is one of the most notable protagonists of modern Italian wine. Here, you can do wine tastings in their barrel room or outdoors, take cooking classes, enjoy the pool, and much, much more — it’s a breathtaking winery where you can enjoy some incredible wine.
  • Feudo Antico (Chieti Province): I’m not typically a white wine drinker, but I was blown away at how complex and elegant the white wines here were. In fact, the Pecorino I had at this winery was one of the best wines I had during my visit. While the winery was being built in 2013, their team discovered that it sat atop some ancient Roman ruins, which were preserved. And so you can enjoy views of these ruins throughout their tasting room.

Pasetti Winery | Abruzzo Wine Region - What to Know

Would you go wine tasting in Abruzzo? Let me know in the comments below!

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