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Culinary

Grape Harvest & Wine Festivals on Lake Garda

4 min. reading time

Wine festival with lake view: “Festa dell’Uva e del Vino” in Bardolino

Many people are drawn to Italy’s largest lake in late summer because of the pleasant climate and the water. However, the shores of Lake Garda also offer plenty at the end of September and into October, particularly for wine lovers. This is because, from September onwards, the grape harvest is in full swing around the Gardasse and is a reason to celebrate. The best time to do so is at the “Festa dell’Uva e del Vino” in Bardolino.

Internationally interesting wines grow mainly in the south on both shores of Lake Garda, and probably the best-known wine of the region is Bardolino. The production area of Bardolino Classico is the hinterland of the coastal towns of Bardolino, Garda and Lazise; these wines bear the DOC quality mark, which designates the origin and grape variety. An excellent Bardolino must be awarded the DOC Classico quality level and thus, grown, pressed, and bottled there, comes from the core area of this wine region between the municipalities of Bardolino, Lazise and Affi.

Bardolino: A red wine with character

For many years, Bardolino has been hosting a wine festival at the end of September or the beginning of October, which has become a cult event: the “Festa dell’Uva e del Vino”. Every year, the wine festival attracts over 100,000 visitors to the beautiful little town on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. This year, the “Festival of Grapes and Wine” is scheduled from 29 September to 3 October.

The centre of the Bardolino Wine Festival will be, as always, the Parco Carrara Bottagisio. Here, various wineries will invite you to taste their products alongside musical accompaniment and other events.

The very beautiful beach promenade between Punta Cornicello and Punta Mirabello is also integrated into the famous wine festival. Here, visitors can sample regional culinary delights such as special risottos, fish dishes or grilled meat with polenta at many stalls, wineries and local eateries.

For wine lovers, the festival is a good opportunity to get to know the regional wines from more than 20 local producers as well as learn about the cultivation, harvest and ageing of the popular Bardolino wines. For example, it is made from the same grape varieties – Corvina and Rondinella – as Valpolicella. Craft stalls and music concerts accompany the festival, which among its highlights, also includes a big fireworks display on Sunday evening. From Eden Reserve and Gardone Riviera, the Bardolino Wine Festival is just a boat ride away, directly across the lake.

“Festa dell’Uva e del Vino”: The Festival of Grapes and Wine

Bardolino is not the only great wine that grows on the shores of Lago di Garda. There are several renowned wine-growing areas around the lake. Very famous is the Lugana in the south of the lake, which is less than 20 kilometres from Gardone Riviera. Here, clay soil produces white wines with good body and balanced acidity and are made from the local Turbiana grape. Adjacent to the Lugana area to the east is the Custoza (Bianco di Custoza) production area. This interesting white wine, still to be discovered by many, grows in the moraine hills southeast of Lake Garda. The hill country lies between the Adige and Lazise rivers, reaching as far as the Mincio river and Villafranca in the south. The growing area around the eponymous village of Custoza largely coincides with the southern part of the Bardolino D.O.C. zone.

The Valtènesi celebrates its own wine festival in summer

On the western shore of Lake Garda lies the small region of Valtènesi, where an excellent rosé wine is grown and pressed. The Valtènesi rosé is also celebrated with a big event in the unique location of the Castello di Moniga del Garda in the heart of the Valtènesi area, which happens in June.

The Valtènesi area, which covers almost 400 square kilometres and has 20 kilometres of coastline, is characterised by a unique sub-Mediterranean microclimate that is strongly influenced by Lake Garda. The wineries in the Valtènesi have optimised viticulture here for consistently high-quality rosé wine, and there are even some interesting white wines grown in some Alpine valleys near the northern shore of Lake Garda.

The Eden Reserve’s wine cellar has many wines from the Garda region, including Lugana, Amarone della Valpolicella and Bardolino, among the great wines of Italy. The sommelier at the Celeste Restaurant is always ready to answer any questions you may have about the great wines of this extraordinary region.