In August I’m going to Lake Garda with my partner. We’re staying in Garda for 10 nights so are looking to venture out for a few of those days. What vineyards/winery’s and also places of general interest, are nearby that are worth visiting. I’m thinking of going to Valpolicella and Soave two of the days so would love to know what winery’s are worth going to. Also thinking of going to Verona and Sirmione.
Please recommend anything and everything that’s worth doing/seeing.
PS places to eat at would also be great!!
Worth linking with a similar current thread ? Travel to Italy - advice (Verona, Padua and Venice)
Apart from what’s posted there already - using the ferries on the lake is fun; chilling in any number of lakeside cafes, cable car up to Monte Baldo (though is usually covered in mist in my experience), venturing north to the astonishingly scenic vineyards of Trentino; Marzemino, Teroldego, Tramin the (falsely) claimed home gewurztraminer, and castle Katzenzungen and it’s world’s second oldest vine. Closer to Garda, venturing into the Valpollicella hills is the town of Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella which has a very scenic views of the lake and a nice Trattoria - Della Rosa Alda - for an authentic local meal.
I can’t pretend to have much of a handle on the best wineries to visit, but we have experience of a couple.
You can visit Zeni, which is near Bardolino. It is a big producer. It has a museum, which is a lot better than most. From memory you can taste quite a lot of their wines, the cheaper ones being free to try, and you need to pay for the more expensive ones. Worth a visit IMO, but don’t expect personal treatment. I mentioned them in this blog post of mine. No winery tours when we were there, but through a window you could see a truly impressive bottling line, which bottles, labels and packs into boxes at an incredible rate.
Then there was Cà dei Frati, near Sirmione. It is not particularly geared up for tourists, but they have a cellar-door outlet, where you can taste. We got a quick tour of the winery, as I asked specifically and there happened to be someone (a winemaker I think) available to do it. But it was literally about 5 minutes. However it is not a big place, and it was actually more satisfying than many touristy tours I’ve been on that are stretched over half an hour. They make good wine. My favourite is their Lugana, which I see TWS sell sometimes
We walked to both wineries, from Bardolino and Sirmione respectively, but you might well want to take a taxi if you arrive in the places by lake “steamer”. Check the distances. The walk to Cà dei Frati was not much fun as it is on the edge of the modern bit of Sirmione.
I’d recommend Sirmione as a beautiful place to visit, but it gets completely rammed with tourists, so probably best to get there very early in the day if you want to wander round the old part.
I’ve dug out some old travel photos, to illustrate the possibilities going north from Garda town. From the top, The Marzemino co-op winery and cellar door in Vallagarina (about 45 mins), the Marzemino vineyards, the Rotari / Mezzocorona co-op & cellar door near San Michel (about 80 mins), the Teroldego vineyards, and the misleading sign greeting the arrival at Tramin (about 90 minutes)
Agree, an excellent wine. Their Lugana Brolettino is also delicious and their rosé hits the spot when in the right mood too.
We stayed in Riva del Garda a few years ago and on the way back stopped at Torboli wines, a no-sulphur-added organic producer. It was only a few miles north of Riva.
The visit was memorable because the credit card machines, and much else, had been taken out of action by the storm the previous evening!
We very much enjoyed the wines that we brought back and I would love to go again and get more.
Don’t miss the Groppello grape, much more localised and harder to find elsewhere than Teroldego etc.
Or the top Lugana whites (often late-harvest styles) from the likes of TWS stalwart I Frati. The Pratto usually has the edge over the Brolettino, though naturally with the style it can be vintage-dependent.