Lake Garda Wineries and Wines: which ones to visit and what to taste in the surroundings
Protected to the north by the pre-Alpine mountains, the waters of Lake Garda contribute to the creation of a particular microclimate along the entire shore of the lake, with mild temperatures in winter and relatively cool in summer.
Due to these particular climatic conditions, lemon cultivation is possible here, the plains and hills around Lake Garda are covered with olive groves and vineyards from which several famous wines of Northern Italy are born.
With its mild climate, medieval villages, modern towns full of art, the many castles with their stories and legends and an endless succession of magnificent landscapes, Lake Garda is a paradise for those who love nature, good food , relaxation, water sports and even excellent wine.
The Main Wines of Lake Garda
The surroundings of Lake Garda are the place of origin of some of the most appreciated wines of northern Italy. We are talking about Bardolino for red wines, Lugana and Custoza for white wines and Chiaretto for rosés.
Bardolino is the most famous red wine of the area. This Lake Garda wine is mainly produced with the Corvina Veronese vine, the local red variety par excellence, and a percentage of Rondinella grapes.
Bardolino wine boasts aromas of wild berries and flowers that blend with a round taste with juicy references of red fruits and spices. Ideal with legume soups, first courses with mushrooms and white meats.
The same grapes used to make Bardolino are also the basis of one of the best rosé wines in Italy, Chiaretto. In this case the red berried grapes are vinified in white, i.e. with the separation of the must from the skins to obtain the typical light color which also gives the wine its name.
It is an aromatic, intense Garda wine with good acidity, perfect with fish first courses, sushi and also with pizza margherita.
Lugana and Custoza
The Lugana del Lago di Garda wine is mainly produced with the native Turbiana vine (local clone of the Trebbiano vine), which gives a round, enveloping and long-lived white wine, ideal for fish dishes, especially from the lake, such as whitefish or perch .
The other white wine of Garda, Custoza, is instead elaborated with a tasty blend of different grapes, which for the majority of winemakers are Garganega, Bianca Fernanda and Trebbianello.
History of the Lake Garda wine
The surroundings of Lake Garda and especially the hinterland have for decades been an important region dedicated to the production of wine with many native vines, several prestigious denominations of controlled origin and a multitude of vineries and wine bars that make it an important wine tourism destination.
The existence of vines in the Garda region has been attested since the Bronze Age. In Roman times, a sweet wine was produced with red berried grapes grown on rural estates.
The production of wine, as well as that of olive oil, then continued in the Middle Ages, thanks to the work of the monks who settled in the various monasteries and hermitages that arose near the lake.
Nowadays one of the main characteristics of the landscape of the hills surrounding Lake Garda are the olive groves and the rows of grapes, which preserve a piece of Garda history in the nectar of their grapes.
The DOC wines of Garda
Wines such as Bardolino, Chiaretto, Lugana and Custoza all have their own denomination of controlled origin - DOC. To these denominations is added the Garda DOC created in 1996.
This appellation covers 31,100 hectares, of which 11% are dedicated to the cultivation of Pinot Grigio grapes, which are relatively new in these parts.
Other grapes grown in the area to produce Garda DOC wine are the international grape varieties Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, while the local red grape varieties also include Groppello, Marzemino, Barbera and Sangiovese.
Behind the town of Salò is Valtenesi, another area of production of Lake Garda wines recognized with its own DOC. Some of the wines, that are produced in this area, are the Valtenesi Chiaretto and the Riviera del Garda Classico Rosso.
The Vineries of the Lake Garda
Most of the wineries on Lake Garda offer tastings and tours by appointment.
Among the companies that are worth knowing during a holiday on Lake Garda are the Le Fraghe winery, located in the heart of the Bardolino cultivation area.
The historic Guerrieri Rizzardi farm offers tastings of Lake Garda wines at its headquarters in the municipality of Campazzi, on the hills around Bardolino.
In Sommacampagna, in the Custoza production area, you can instead make a visit with tasting at the Monte del Frá farm, which produces a wide range of local wines that include the single vineyard Custoza.
To discover the wines of Valtènesi, the Costaripa winery in Moniga del Garda is the ideal place. Founded in 1936 and led with great passion by the celebrated oenologist Mattia Vezzola, this Lake Garda winery offers delicious Rosè Chiaretto della Valtènesi wines such as RosaMara and Molmenti, classic Lugana DOC wines and intriguing Classic Method Sparkling Wines from Lake Garda.
Another Garda winery that is worth knowing is Ottella, which has the production of Lugana wine as its flagship. In the same production area there is also the Tenuta Roveglia, which owns an old farmhouse where tasting the wines of Lake Garda becomes a unique experience.
Finally, a visit to the Franzosi winery located in the municipality of Puegnago sul Garda will allow you to be delighted by the Chiaretto del Garda wine.
If you wish to organize a tour of Lake Garda, and in the meanwhile visit some vineries, contact us to find out all the information of our Lake Garda Boat Trips, using the Contact Us button below or Book Tour at the top right.