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Viticulture has a long tradition on the Amalfi Coast: for centuries, some of Italy's best wines have been produced on the typical terraced terrains, which have even been awarded the prized DOC appellation. 
Discover them all!

by Roberta Cascone

Robert Louis Stevenson said that "Wine is bottled poetry." Do you agree with this statement? We absolutely do! 
Italian wines are among the most prized and most drunk in the world, which is why viticulture is one of the country's richest production sectors. Of course, in the panorama of Italian grape varieties, so incredibly complex and diverse, the wines produced on the Amalfi Coast cannot be overlooked!
The history of wine culture here on the Coast began in ancient times, even predating the Roman Empire. The territory of the Coast, with the Lattari Mountains sloping steeply down to the sea, seems unsuitable for the cultivation of vines: instead, for centuries vineyards were arranged on terraces that followed the course of the rock below. In ancient times, vines were planted on the "macère," or retaining walls, to optimize the cultivable space for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Later they were arranged on pergola-like rows, built with chestnut poles.
The most suitable area for wine production is the hilly area that includes the towns of Tramonti, Ravello and Furore. Here the climate has always been favorable to viticulture, which also still performs an important economic function for its inhabitants. And it is in this hilly strip, furthest from the coastal area where tourism is the main economic resource, that some of the most famous and renowned wines are born.

Read on to learn more about them!

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Grapes and vines of the Coast

A number of precise grape varieties are grown along the Amalfi Coast: Ginestra, Pepella, Ripolo and Fenile for white wines; Piedirosso, Sciascinoso and Tintore for reds and rosés. These are native grape varieties, that is, originating in this territory, and from them all the fine Amalfi wines are born. As I have already mentioned, the DOC area includes the whole territory of the Amalfi Coast, but the best known area for wine production are the three subzones of Furore, Ravello and Tramonti.

Furore includes about 35 hectares of vineyards: to this area belongs Cantina Marisa Cuomo, which produces, among others, Furore Bianco, Furore Rosso, Furore Rosso Riserva and Fiorduva.

The Ravello subzone includes the wines of Cantine Caruso, active since 1896, which produces the award-winning Gran Caruso, as well as the famous line with the Costa d'Amalfi Doc label. Also in Ravello is the historic Sammarco Winery, established in 1967, which also labels Klingsor Garden, in homage to Wagner, the composer who found inspiration at Villa Rufolo.

Finally, the Tramonti subzone is the largest in the area with its 500 hectares and the one with the largest number of native grape varieties, such as Tintore and Capranesca. Among the wines produced here, mention must be made of Tenuta San Francesco's Tintore "È iss" and those of Cantina Apicella.

The historic wineries of the Coast

If you are a wine lover you will surely have come across some of the labels I will tell you about below: these are the most renowned wines of the Coast, produced by wineries that have a long history behind them and an unbreakable bond with the territory. 

Let's start with the Furore subzone and the best-known coastal winery in Italy: the Marisa Cuomo Winery. The winery, founded in 1942, produces about 50 thousand bottles a year: among the most relevant types is the Furore Bianco Fiorduva, formed with Fenile, Ginestra and Ripoli grapes, while a combination of Piedirosso and Aglianico gives birth to Furore Rosso. It is one of the most awarded wineries, with "Tre Bicchieri" recognition from Gambero Rosso's "I Vini d'Italia" guide and even a gold medal obtained overseas, in Los Angeles, with the "Best of Class" Award Limited Production. And that's not all: Marisa Cuomo's wines also received the "Cinque Grappoli” award from the Italian Sommelier Association.

In Ravello, Cantine Ettore Sammarco has been carrying on a winemaking tradition since 1962. The 1960s and 1970s were the golden years for Ravello, during which Sammarco's wines were a great success among all the guests of the area's great hotels. Today the winery is run by Ettore's sons and the most valuable wines of its production are the Selva delle Monache White, Rosé and Red, the Vigna Grotta Piana Bianco and the Terre Saracene White and Red. Of these, Selva delle Monache and Vigna Grotta Piana have received many awards, particularly from the Italian Touring Club's "Vini Buoni d'Italia" guide and Gambero Rosso.

Tramonti is the largest subzone. Here lies the realm of Cantine Apicella. Until the late 1970s, Tramonti wine was sold in bulk to buyers in nearby towns. It was Giuseppe Apicella who had the idea of selling it in bottles and labeling it with the name Tramonti. It was an immediate success, which endures to this day.
Tenuta San Francesco, run by the Bove brothers, is also an increasingly important company. It produces about 50,000 bottles a year, including the famous "È iss," as well as Tramonti White and Red, and Per Eva.

Finally, although outside the three subzones, the small winery Le Vigne di Raito, located in Vietri sul Mare, deserves a mention. In particular, their red wine Ragis and rosé Vitamenia should be remembered.

The grape harvest of the Cantine Apicella. Ph. by

Wine tours and Wine tasting

Some of the wineries I told you about organize tours of their vineyards with the unmissable final tasting! Not only will you be able to see up close the grapes from which the best wines on the Coast are made, but you will also be able to taste them in the place where they are made. If you are looking for authentic experiences these tours are for you! I recommend a few right below.

  • Tenuta San Francesco in Tramonti organizes tastings of local products and Amalfi Coast DOC wines, as well as cooking classes and private tours. Click here for all the information.
  • The Vigne di Raito organize Wine Tours with lunches and dinners. The tour is the perfect opportunity to discover all the details of wine production and especially to taste it together with the products of their land in picnic areas surrounded by greenery. For more information and to book click here.
  • The Marisa Cuomo Cellars are also open to the public and offer tastings and guided tours, discovering the wines and wonders of Furore. For more information, click here.

In short, now that you know all about the wines of the Amalfi Coast you have to try them: believe me, you won't regret it!

Tra.Vel.Mar S.r.l.

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  • The Piedirosso variety is also called "Per 'e palummo" in Campania. There are two different hypotheses about it: some believe that the name derives from the particular red tint of the rachis at the time of ripening, which would refer to the color of pigeons' feet. Others, on the other hand, believe that the name comes from the fact that the stalk, that is, the branching of the grape cluster, is reminiscent of the shape of pigeons' legs.

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