LAKE GARDA WINE & VINEYARDS
In addition to the beautiful landscapes and points of historical interest, Lake Garda is also renowned throughout the world for its vineyards. The wine tradition has its roots in the Bronze Age, and was praised by the Latin poet Catullus, the barbarian king Theodate, and the marquise Isabella d’Este.
Thanks to the proximity of the lake, the temperate climate and the particular composition of the soil, here you can find truly unique wines, from the famous Lugana to lesser-known delicacies, such as Bianco di Custoza.
All these wines are recognized as DOC, an acronym which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (“controlled designation of origin”): this implies that the origin of the grapes is always certified and that the production of that wine must follow a precise disciplinary imposed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The vineyards are an integral part of the history and landscape of Lake Garda: come with us to discover the authentic taste and scents of this fascinating territory!
Wine in western Lake Garda
Riviera del Garda Classico DOC
Riviera del Garda Classico, which until a few years ago was called only “Garda Classico”, is a family of wines produced in a vast area that runs along the entire western shore of Lake Garda (i.e. the Brescia shore, from Limone to Sirmione).
Due the vastness of the territory of production, under the name Riviera del Garda Classico DOC are different wines:
- Riviera del Garda Classico Bianco (white wine)
- Riviera del Garda Classico Rosso (red wine)
- Riviera del Garda Classico Rosso Superiore (superior red wine)
- Riviera del Garda Classico Groppello (red wine)
- Riviera del Garda Classico Chiaretto (rosé wine)
- Riviera del Garda Classico Rosé (rosé sparkling wine)
The territory of Valtenesi is located within that of the Riviera del Garda Classico, but since 2012 is a DOC in its own right.
This family includes two types of wine, Valtenesi and Valtenesi Chiaretto, both produced from the Groppello grape variety, native to the area. These are red wines with a alcohol content of about 11.5°.
In this area there are many farms with a long tradition behind them, such as Azienda Agricola Bottarelli, which produces wine and oil since 1937.
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Wine in southern Lake Garda
Lugana is a group of white wines produced in the southern part of Lake Garda (particularly in the municipalities of Lonato, Desenzano, Sirmione, Pozzolengo and Peschiera del Garda), from grapes of the “Turbiana” vine.
The colour tends to be straw yellow, but can also turn towards golden, and the alcohol content is about 11°. The perfume and taste depend on the individual wine: in fact, within the Lugana family there are Lugana, Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva, Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva and Lugana Spumante, each with different organoleptic characteristics.
Here, too, there are numerous family-run farms that carry on a tradition handed down from generation to generation, such as Perla del Garda.
Custoza is a white wine, which takes its name from a small hamlet in the municipality of Sommacampagna (in the province of Verona) and is produced in a handful of surrounding municipalities.
This wine is produced with a mix of different grapes, which give it a fresh and fragrant flavor, and has a alcohol content of about 11°.
In addition to the traditional Custoza DOC, you can also find the Custoza Riserva, Custoza Spumante and Custoza Passito.
Wine in eastern Lake Garda
Bardolino is another very famous wine from the Lake Garda area, and is produced in the municipality of the same name (on the eastern shore of the lake) and in the surrounding areas, such as Lazise, Castelnuovo, Torri del Benaco and Peschiera.
This is a red wine with a brilliant colour, a fruity bouquet and a dry, soft flavour and a alcohol content of about 10,5°. In addition to the “classic” Bardolino, this area also produces Bardolino Chiaretto, a rosé wine typical of Lake Garda (it is also produced on the western shore).
Valpolicella is a famous red wine that is not produced directly on the shores of Lake Garda, but on the hills of Verona (east of the lake). It is a wine with a long tradition, which dates back even to the Roman era, and still highly appreciated throughout the world.
This wine is present in the variants Valpolicella Superiore, Valpolicella Ripasso and sometimes as Valpolicella Valpantena, if it is produced in this specific part of the vast production area. The alcohol content depends on the type of wine, and goes from 11° to 14°.
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Although produced with Valpolicella grapes, Amarone della Valpolicella is a denomination in itself, since it follows its own specific regulations.
This is perhaps the most famous wine of this area, a red wine with a full, warm and velvety flavor, with a alcohol content of about 14°.
WINE FESTIVALS on Lake Garda
Since wine is one of the most important products, there are many festivals that celebrate it in all its forms. Here are the most important ones:
- Festa del Vino in Polpenazze (Brescia): for seventy years takes place in the last weekend of May and is dedicated to the wines of Valtenesi and Riviera del Garda.
- Italia in Rosa in Moniga (Brescia), during the first weekend of June, is dedicated to rosé wine and especially to Chiaretto, the most important local rosé wine.
- Profumi di Mosto in Puegnago (Brescia) is dedicated to Groppello, the autochthonous vine used for many local wines, and takes place on the first sunday of October.
- Festa dell’Uva e del Vino in Bardolino (Verona) for ninety years celebrates the homonymous wine, and takes place during the first week of October.