Ultimate Guide to the Umbria Wine Region

Umbria is one of the smallest regions of Italy -- but it doesn't skimp in the wine department. See more wine pictures. ­
iStockphoto/Greg Panosian

­The region of Umbria, Italy, is known as the "green heart" of the country. On a map of Italy, you can find Umbria in the mid-calf area of its knee-high­ boot. To the northwest, Umbria borders ­Tuscany, which holds its own as a center for food, tourism and winemaking. But if you're wary of tourists and want to avoid the mainstream, just head southeast to Umbria. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and scents of one of Italy's smallest regions.

Umbria includes the popular town of Assisi along with towns, cities and villages such as Perugia (the capital), Orvieto, Todi, Spoleto and Norcia. Most of the cities have populations of less than 50,000 residents, giving each a small-town feel [source: UmbriaItaly].

­Italy is world-famous for its wine, and little-explored Umbria is hiding some of the country's greatest treasures. Orvieto, a semisweet white wine, has been one of the region's most popular whites, historically. However, the r­egion's Torgiano Rosso "riserva" is its best red.

The government instituted a system for approving the quality of Italian wine produced in the country in the early 1960s, which is based on French system. It added the IGT classification in the early 1990s. The classifications include:

  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita (DOCG)
  • Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)

[source: ItalianMade]

Wines with these labels have been subjected to strict regulations. Umbria has multiple wines under each.

Umbria's rich history and tradition offers many site-seeing opportunities for visitors such as ancient buildings, religious artifacts and hidden-away vineyards. In this article, you'll learn about the region's history and culture, its wine agriculture, and its famous reds and whites.

To get started, find out how Umbria was put on the map of Italy, and what influenced its culture and tradition of winemaking.