This is where the grapes grow that have made this corner of Tuscany famous worldwide. Tenuta dell’Ornellaia (home to Masseto, an iconic Merlot, and signature wine Ornellaia) is the first winery you come across, immediately followed by the boutique winery Le Macchiole (famous for Paleo, Scrio and Messorio). Vineyards can be seen every which way, owned by world-renowned wineries that have invested in this area, as well as small-scale operations, less known to the general public but devoted all the same to the production of top-tier wines. In the distance, practically hidden out of sight, you can catch a glimpse of Angelo Gaja’s Ca’ Marcanda and, almost opposite, the vineyards of Campo alla Sughera. Closer to the sea, Antinori’s Guado al Tasso can be spotted, the largest winery in Bolgheri.
Don’t overlook the small- to medium-sized, family-run wineries that focus on high-end wines, such as Ferrari Iris e Figli, Campo al Noce, Il Magazzino, Eucaliptus, Tenuta di Vaira, Guado al Melo, La Cerretella, Poggio alle Querce, Campo al Pero, Podere Giovanni, Giorgio Meletti Cavallari, Serni Fulvio Luigi, La Vigna dei Musi, Fornacelle, Podere il Castellaccio, Sant’Agata and Micheletti Enio. Here you can purchase wine, oil and home-grown fruit and vegetables, such as melons, watermelons, peaches, strawberries, asparagus, artichokes and broad beans, depending on the season.
Heading inland, into the hills that surround the vineyards, olive trees rule the roost, resulting in the production of high-quality olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is an integral part of the history of the Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri areas. The old trees stand witness to the olive growing here in the past, when oil was a precious commodity. The unique coastal soil and microclimate make the area one of the very best for balanced and delicately flavoured oil. Traditional Tuscan cultivars are grown here, such as Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino, as well as other typical local varieties like Olivastro del Palone and Gremignolo di Bolgheri. Countless farmhouses offer accommodation for travellers.