Even if you've done wine tours all over Italy or the world, a visit to Brolio Castle and Barone Ricasoli Winery should be on your bucket list. At Barone Ricasoli you can taste wine, tour the castle museum and gardens, and eat at a fine osteria. The formula for Chianti Classico wine was invented here, so Barone Ricasoli is a great place to start your tour of Chianti wineries.
Barone Ricasoli Winery and Wine Tasting
Barone Ricasoli Winery is the oldest winery in Italy and is believed to be the second oldest continuously running winery in the world. In 1872 Baron Bettino Ricasoli, known as the "Iron Baron", wrote the formula for Chianti Classico wine, which he developed after more than 30 years of research. Chianti Classico wine is made primarily from Sangiovese grapes with the addition of other grapes.
Today, Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio is the largest winery in the Chianti Classico area, with 240 acres of vineyards and modern state-of-the-art wine-making facilities. It produces three million bottles of wine per year and its wines are exported all over the world. In addition to several Chianti Classico wines, the winery produces a very good white wine, a Rose', Vin Santo dessert wine, grappa, and olive oil.
Wine tasting is offered in the wine shop welcome center. The tasting room is currently open every day of the week from April through October (except some holidays), reservations not necessary, and visitors can taste three wines for five euro (refunded if you buy a bottle of wine). Winery tours are available by advance booking.
Brolio Castle Museum and Gardens
Brolio Castle, which has been in the Ricasoli family since the 11th century, is still used as a private residence but a few of the 140 rooms of the castle may be open to the public in the future. Many historical items from the castle are on display in the small museum housed in a castle tower. Guides take visitors through the four rooms of the museums, relating interesting information about the castle and family history, the "Iron Baron", and the winery. It's not necessary to book a tour in advance, they are given every half hour, usually in English. Tickets are currently eight euro for the museum tour and garden visit.
Highlights of the museum are a display of 14th - 18th-century weapons, a room with 19th-century scientific instruments and the research of the "Iron Baron", and a bedroom with furnishings made exclusively for the King of Italy when he visited in 1863.
The beautifully landscaped gardens of the castle can be visited without a guide. Current cost is five euro or eight euro for the combination museum and garden ticket. The chapel by the castle and the English woods leading up to the castle, with plants from all over the world, can be visited for free. Be sure to walk around the castle to see the fantastic views of vineyards, woods, and the valley below.
Winery and Castle Visiting Information
Tasting Room and Wine Shop Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 6 or 7 PM. Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. From January through March, hours are Monday - Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Castle Museum Hours: The castle is open daily from March to November. Hours are 10 AM to 5, 6 or 7 PM, depending on the time of year.
Osteria del Castello: From April through October, the ostria is open Friday - Wednesday for lunch and dinner (12:00-2:30 PM and 7:00-10:00 PM). In November and December, it's open for lunch only.
Winery and Castle Location: Madonna a Brolio, 5 kilometers from Gaiole in Chianti. About 25 kilometers from Siena or 75 kilometers from Florence. See our Chianti Map.
Check out the Visit Barone Ricasoli website.
Article updated by Elizabeth Heath