Imagine riding a bike through the places where Puglia Wine Culture was born.
Of skirting rows of vines, dry stone walls and immense expanses of vineyards on two wheels, at your own pace.
Of setting out to discover the beauty of an area but joining it with an encounter with the local food and wine tradition and feeling that, slowly, the tale and what you see coincide.
What the territory outwardly expresses has also inexorably shaped its gastronomic, economic, and cultural identity, and you, at each stop, can experience scents, tastes, and colors.
It is time to begin this journey around Puglia Wine Culture, to be enjoyed in sips as well as in stages.
Ready? Let’s begin.
The meaning of the vine, in Puglia
The roots of wine culture in Puglia are very ancient.
Vines were in Puglia since the time of the Greeks, in the 8th century B.C.: they introduced varieties now recognized as indigenous, such as Negro Amaro and Uva di Troia, and started the cultivation of vines using the “tree” method. Among the most eloquent evidence is a trace that Pliny the Elder, in his works, defined Manduria as viticulusa, or full of vines. Even Brindisi and Taranto, however, according to historical records have been flourishing places for the wine trade, due to their proximity to the sea and the presence of large ports that allowed its export.
Wine, with its history and traditions, runs through the soul of these lands, and it is no coincidence that Puglia has more than 25 wine DOC zones, Denominazione di Origine Controllata. On our Bike&Wine tour we taste several of them up close.
Puglia Wine: discovering the DOCs by bike
Our tour dedicated to Puglia Wine start in Putignano, an elegant village part of the Gioia del Colle DOC known for its Primitivo wine. Here we have a food and wine stop to discover the Cantine Aiello of Giovanni Aiello, “winemaker for love” as he likes to call himself.
We continue in the direction of Crispiano, in the province of Taranto, to reach Amastuola Wine Resort: a vineyard that follows the undulating profile of the hills, designed by Fernando Caruncho, welcomes travelers and immediately transports them into the atmosphere of the place. All around, wide expanses of vines and olive trees, ravines and rock caves and wild vegetation with the scents of rosemary, thyme, hawthorn, blackberries, with a Mediterranean soul.
And after this poetic stage, there are the DOCs of Martina Franca and Locorotondo, the heart of the Itria Valley. A corner of Puglia with fairy-tale, almost surreal features. Trulli, dry stone walls, vineyards, wheat fields, unfurl one kilometer after another. Home of Verdeca and Bianco d’Alessano grapes, these areas are known for producing light, fresh and delicate wines with grassy notes, including Verdeca, whose name derives from its color tending toward green.
The journey into Puglia Wine Culture continues to a very distinctive and fascinating area of the region. From Locorotondo we pedal along the Pugliese Aqueduct Cycleway, the first great architectural work that allowed the redemption of the South. An itinerary between history and nature that winds along quiet bicycle paths and leads to Ceglie Messapica and Ostuni. Here the production of extra virgin olive oil excels due to the presence of centuries-old, monumental olive trees, but wine, too, has its reason: in the Ostuni DOC, in fact, the Susumaniello and Ottavianello, wines known as early as the 1600s, are worth tasting.
Having reached this point, it is up to the upper Salento to show off its wine culture embodied here in Primitivo, Negroamaro and Salice Salentino wines. In addition to tasting, cycling, and being inebriated, the Bike&Wine tour allows you to get in touch with Puglia wine and food traditions with cooking classes, visits to wine-related libraries and museums, and lunches or dinners in selected restaurants.
There is no single season that is not beautiful to experience this tour: we recommend autumn and spring, avoiding the warmer months of July and August.
Not just Puglia wine
Think some of the sea is missing? Maybe you’re right, that’s why in the last part of the tour you pedal along a heavenly stretch of coastline. Crystal clear waters, nature reserves, ancient defense towers and the sea, where you can regenerate, swim, relax.
Moreover, it is known that drinking well recalls eating well, and in this, Puglia cuisine is a wise master. Here we leave you some pairing suggestions:
– Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops with Negroamaro or Primitivo di Manduria
– Rice potatoes and mussels with a white wine from Locorotondo
– Cooked meat with Primitivo di Gioia del Colle or Nero di Troia
– Focaccia, local cheeses and cured meats with a fresh rosé wine
– Fried fish and spaghetti with mussels with Fiano or Minutolo
– Dried figs and almond sweets with Moscato di Trani
If you would like to discover more of Puglia wine culture and tradition by bike, take a look at the tour details by clicking here, or write to us to get in touch with one of our travel designers.