The countryside surrounding Lake Garda is home to some of the largest and most important wine regions of Italy. Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino produce fruity, fresh and full-bodied wines. To celebrate these delicious varieties in true Italian style, there are several festivals on the shores of Lake Garda each summer. Here’s what to expect and when to go.
Chiaretto is made from the same grape variety as the Bardolino red, but by removing the skins earlier, it reveals a light, fruity and fresh rosé that goes well with appetisers, pasta and fish – ideal for warm days in the sunshine.
The annual Chiaretto festival, known locally as the Palio del Chiaretto, takes place over one weekend at the beginning of June. Welcoming in the summer, the lakeshore of Bardolino is decorated from head to toe in pink – balloons, carpets, flowers and ribbon galore.
The festival is free and alongside a host of local cantinas, there’s a packed programme of live music and dragon boat races, all topped off with a firework display on the final evening. Not only do producers from across the region come to proudly display their wines, but local craftsmen and farmers also sell souvenirs, meats, cheeses and fresh fruit.
Pay a small price for your keepsake glass and wander from one end of the promenade to the other to sample each cantina’s wine. And when you find a favourite, you can always buy a bottle and have a glass while enjoying the entertainment. Or take it home as a reminder.
Returning to Bardolino each year and wrapping up the summer in style is the Bardolino wine festival. Translating literally as the grape and wine festival, the Festa dell’Uva e del Vino celebrates local varieties from the light and fresh Lugana white wine to the fruity and full-bodied Bardolino Classico red.
The five-day festival usually takes place around the end of September or beginning of October and comes with an exciting and lively schedule of exhibitions, crafts, concerts, fireworks, and of course, wine. Stretching along Bardolino’s lakefront, you can taste the delightful selection and hear all about the wine making process. What better way to enjoy a drink in the late-summer sunshine?
If you miss the festivals on Lake Garda, book onto one of our wine tour excursions, or head into the hillside and visit a local cantina yourself.
The countryside surrounding the lake is dotted with vineyards, which are open throughout the summer. Many of these offer tours to learn about the wine process with walks around the vineyard, the pressing room and cellars filled with aging wines in casks. And of course the chance to sip and savour the wines themselves.
In the hills behind Garda and Bardolino, wander along the vines of the Tenuta La Cà cantina, or visit the wine museum at Cantina Zeni to find out about the popular Bardolino red wine. Le Morette, located in the countryside near Peschiera, is well known for the Lugana grape variety grown in special clay soil. It’s close to the Lombardy region and famous for the crisp Lugana white wine. Or sample some of the Trentino specialities at Cantina Toblino to the north of Riva del Garda. Their Marzemino grape produces one of the oldest Italian wines – known for its deep ruby-red appearance.
Visit Lake Garda this summer and sample some of the world-renowned wines.
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