My fiancee and I are going to Tuscany on our honeymoon also. However, we will be there early September 2004. I asked similar questions, and here is what I found...
1) Will I find the best $$$ deals at the wineries, or are the wine shops in the towns going to have pretty good prices?
2) What is the best way to find interesting wineries that are visitor-friendly? Should I make appointments, and if so, how far in advance? (I don't speak Italian, btw)
-- Most wineries speak English... DEFINATELY make appointments. Most require 24 hours in advance.
3) Due to budget restrictions, I'd like to buy several bottles in the $30-60 range, and take a few precious bottles in the $60-100 range home as well, maybe a case in total. Any thoughts on a good buying strategy?
-- I am going to try wines at the wineries I visit, and buy directly from them. Also, I'm told there are quite a few larger format bottles available, which are next to impossible to get in the US. So, that may be a way to go.
4) What vintages should I expect will be available to taste and purchase?
-- Taste... 2003 Purchase... probably a lot
5) If I end up with a case of wine (or two), should I ship it back, or try to carry it back (and presumably pay some import tariff)?
-- Carry the wine... and ship your clothes. The tariff is VERY small, so even if you declare, customs usually lets you go.
6) Anything wine or winery related that I should just not miss?
I'm told Banfi is like the Disneyland of Italian Wineries.
Let me know how it goes, and if you have any recommendations for me!!!