An Easy Guide to Verona Wine – The Fine Garda Wines and Winery Experiences that you will love
A wine lover visiting Verona? Welcome! I am glad you are here. The one thing that you must do, amongst others, when visiting Verona is to indulge in their culture of wine drinking. Taste some of the very best Verona wine from one of the very best wine producing regions in the world. Unwind at the end of the day or week with a glass of wine and it does wonders! Complement a meal with the carefully selected wine, and you shall want more. Wine, somehow, magically relaxes one’s senses, body and mind. Wine is both delicious and potent, aptly described in one of Homer’s poem:
“[I]t is the wine that leads me on,
the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing
at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the
man to dancing… it even
tempts him to blurt out stories
better never told.”
― Homer, The Odyssey
I love wine. A bit too much at times. I am passionate about red wines, especially Chianti, Amarone or Valpolicella DOC. There is something special about red wines. A dynamic red drink, with scents of fruits and spices, brought to greatest perfection, enjoyed lazily, savoured passionately, and pairs perfectly with seafood, steaks or risotto igniting greater appreciation of the bottle that sits on the table. Can’t imagine a meal without a red in Verona.
Though I am a little bias, as red is my favourite, I do, on occasions turn to Chiaretto or Soave to complement the dishes at hand.
Therefore, in this easy guide you shall find information on Verona wine, whether it is the full-bodied red, delicate rosé or the distinguished white to help you make simple choices when dining in the historic city. I have also included suggestions on matching your wine to the dishes in Verona. All in all, this easy guide is suitable for first-time travellers as well as repeat travellers to Verona. Whether you are a novice or an aficionado of wines, this simple guide to Verona wine is a handy resource for your trip to Verona.
For context, we begin with Verona, the crossroad to European wine trade. Followed by an overview on the history of wines in Italy, what makes Verona wine special, the rich tradition of wine-making, and the types of wine offered in this unique destination. Finally, ways in which you could have timeless Verona wine experiences. Read along all the way. However, if you are pressed for time, you could bookmark the page, pin the post on Pinterest or skip ahead via the navigator below.
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1 | A little about Verona
Verona, a small province in the Veneto region of Northern Italy is a leading wine city in Europe, producing the highest quality wines. This historic city is located at the foothills of the Lessini Mountains, protected by Lake Garda and dotted along the shores of the Adige River.
The best thing about the city’s unique geographical location is that Verona enjoys the perfect favourable weather conditions for the production of sumptuous wine all year round. It is also strategically located for the north-south and east-west European commercial traffic, hence garnering the reputation of being the major leading wine city in Europe and contributing to foreign trade. This is one reason why this city is special and features a myriad of Verona wine tasting activities along with vineyard visits.
Besides the Verona wine that you get to experience, this pretty city is one of its kind. Cobbled streets, narrow alleys, vibrant piazzas, ‘painted city‘, — all displaying the romance, culture and story of the passionate people of Verona.
Read: Your one-stop resource to the historic city of Verona.
Prefer an all-round experience of Verona?
Experience Verona in a unique small group History, Food & Wine tour in half-a-day. Includes lunch, snacks, wine, local guide and depending on the season of your visit, a funicular ride to Verona’s most scenic part of the city.
2 | A brief look at the History of Wines in Italy
Italy, once known as ‘Enotria’, the ‘Land of Wine‘ has its roots in vine growing and wine making going back to ancient Greek. The ancient Greek developed their wine through grape-drying methods. By drying the grapes, they ensured that the sugars in the grapes remained concentrated, hence ensuring longer shelf-life, higher alcoholic content and sweeter wines. Supported by the pleasant Mediterranean weather, vine growing thrived wherever they were planted and led to the production of the best wines. The love of wine innate to the Greek culture became one for the Romans as well. They brought it along to wherever they went.
2.1 | Vineyards and Wine-making Technique
As the Romans expanded in the mid-second century, so did the Roman vineyards throughout Italy. The local farms began to flourish, replacing traditional food farming with vineyards. The Roman winemakers advanced the growing of vines and the quality of it through wine making.
Wine was preferred over any other drinks and became a staple drink in their daily diet. The ancient Roman wines followed much of the winemaking processes developed by the ancient Greek, namely the grape-drying process to lock-in the sweetness and to produce high alcohol content. These strong wines were religiously diluted with water or other flavour changing properties. Salt water, honey, herbs and spices were used to flavour the wine. Storage methods were also developed to reduce the acidity and to flavour the final taste of the wine. A popular way to store the wines were in the Roman amphorae.
The wines produced using the grape-drying technique are still used today. These wines are simply called ‘passito’ wines which refers to the sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes. The word ‘passito’ comes from the word ‘appassimento’ which means ‘withering.’
2.2 | Producing Good Quality Verona Wine
This ancient culture was probably the first to understand that grape varieties produced different quality of wines due to the varying growing conditions. Thus, matching specific grape varieties to their ideal growing conditions and producing good quality wine. This selective cultivation of wine grape and vines is ancestorial to the grapes grown in Italy today, giving Italian wines its distinct native characteristics.
Given the wide ranging territories in Italy, from north to south, east to west with mountains, valleys, lakes, islands, sea and continental as well as Mediterranean climate, there are more than 500 varieties of Italian wines. Each variety, with its unique characteristics, having grown in a specific region for centuries with particular traditions in wine making. About 329 varieties of wine in Italy are labelled Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), which means “designation of controlled origin” in English.
Some of the most popular varieties of DOC and high quality Italian wines originates in the Veneto region, northern Italy.
3 | Veneto and Verona Wine
Unsurprisingly, Verona with its central role during the Roman times, has a long-standing tradition in vine growing and wine making, inextricably linked to Veneto region’s history and culture.
3.1 | Verona Wine from the Hillsides of Lake Garda
It is the great grapes of Garda on the hillsides of Lake Garda, near Verona where some of the world’s most famous Verona wines are produced. such as the Amarone and Recioto of Valpolicella.
The Valpolicella area is located in the hills on the north of Verona. This area is crossed by three streams which flow from the Lessini Mountains towards the Adige River, creating three parallel valleys.
From the valleys of the Valpolicella comes three varieties of grapes – Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara. These are typically used to produce the Valpolicella wines.
Three further Verona wine producing areas in the hills of Lake Garda are Soave towards the east of Verona, Custoza to the south of Lake Garda, along with Lugana, which is also home to beautiful towns of Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda.
4 | What types of wine Verona is famous for?
The 11 Fine Varieties of Verona Wine from the hills of Garda
The region of Veneto in Northern Italy is vast and reputed as one of the best wine producing region in Italy. Broadly, Veneto is world famous for its Amarone, Valpolicella, Soave, Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. The Amarone is considered the most prestigious wine of the Veneto region. It is one of the Italian ‘big red’, which is also a little highly priced.
Below is a list of the most popular wine Verona is famous for which you could experience:
4.1 | Bardolino
Corvina Veronese and Rondinella are the two grape varieties used to produce this ruby red, fruity wine. Laced with cherry, strawberry, raspberry, red currant and spices, this unique wine is highly drinkable and goes well with almost any dishes.
If you wish to try the Bardolino, try the ‘Bardolino Classico’, a label exclusively reserved for production from the oldest area of origin, Morainic Hills, Lake Garda.
TTS Best Tip:
Fun Experience of Bardolino Inland
Have fun riding a bike on the hills of Bardolinowe, surrounded by enchanting landscapes and stop for tasting of three varieties of local wine and quality local food.
4.2 | Chiaretto
Chiaretto, meaning ‘pale’ in Italian is a rosé, variant of the Bardolino red wine family and made from the same grape varieties of Garda. This wine has been produced in the Veneto region since 1896.
Chiaretto is fresh and delicate, laced with wild berry and vanilla. Usually consumed as an aperitif or as a perfect accompaniment to light dishes such as appetisers, fish or pizza.
4.3 | Amarone
Amarone della Valpolicella is certainly the best and one of the most famous of Italian red wines. Generally produced from Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara grape varieties but also at times, using the combination of Forselina, Negrara and Oseleta grape varieties.
Amarone is a passito wine. The grapes are left to dry for four months after harvest, during which time the sugar fermentation is completed. Thereafter, left to age in oak casks for two to four years.
Once matured, this vibrant red dry wine comes laced with scents of red fruits and spicy aromas. A full-bodied red goes well with meat dishes, mature cheese and game.
Best Timeless Experience: Amarone Wine Trail
The Recioto of Valpolicella is a passito wine using the same grapes as Amarone. The grapes are left to dry, just as for the Amarone. However, the process of fermentation is interrupted to stop the lowering of sugar, resulting in a much sweeter wine than the Amarone.
The Recioto is a sweet Verona wine, deep red, with an intense floral and fruity aroma. Ideally paired with desserts and chocolates.
4.5 | Valpolicella
Valpolicella DOC is the product of Corvina, Corvinone Veronese and Rondinella. A superior brand, it needs to age for a minimum of one year. This smooth ruby red wine is laced with red cherries and sweet spices. Best with meaty dishes and mature cheese.
1 | Valpolicella Wine Tasting in the classic Veneto region. With cold-cuts and cheeses.
2 | For the ultimate on Valpolicella Wine Experience: Visit three wineries, a sit-down lunch of local cuisine and Amarone tasting.
4.6 | Custoza
Custoza is produced from Garganega, Trebbianello and Bianca Fernanda grape varieties. The combination brings about a fresh, aromatic and highly drinkable white wine laced with a straw-yellow colour to it.
This highly popular Verona wine is best enjoyed with fresh fish, deep-fried dishes, and tortellini di Valeggio.
4.7 | Lugana
Classified as Superiore, Riserva or Vendemmia tardive (late vintage/harvest), Lugana was the first wine in Italy that was assigned the status, Lombard DOC.
Everything about Lugana is special. Grown in the southern shores of Lake Garda, this white wine is extracted from the indigenous grape variety Turbiana which are grown in the special clay soil produced during the last Ice Age, when Lake Garda was formed.
Ideal as an aperitif, Lugana perfectly complements pasta, rice dishes and pizza.
TTS Best Tip:
White Wine Tasting
Learn the rich history, and the characteristics of Verona’s local white wine.
4.8 | Garda Classico Groppello
Garda Classico Groppello is a unique Verona wine, grown in a specific area of the Veneto region. This special wine is extracted from the Gropello grape variety native to the Lombardy region, specifically the Valtenesi, hills of western Lake Garda. Gropello has been cultivated since the 1500s.
Gropello is a delicate, spicy red wine laced with a fruity flavour. Best paired with meat dishes, or medium mature cheese.
4.9 | Soave
The majority of Soave produced today are simple, easy drinking white wine, and inexpensively priced. Soave makes up almost half of Verona wine production and has been around for a very, very long time.
Cultivated in eastern Verona, at the foothills of Lessini Mountains, primarily the Soave zone, as well as on the hills of Val d’Illasi, Val di Mezzane valleys and the Alpine valleys.
The production of the Soave Classico, a high-end, DOC labelled white wine comes from the hills of Soave. This prestigious white wine, when treated right and allowed to age for up to ten years or longer is a fine wine with a beautiful straw texture.
The principal grape varieties used for Soave is Garganega, while Trebbiano and Chardonnay are sometimes partnered in varying percentages.
In late autumn, the Soave region is affected by the flow of mist from the Po Valley. The mist brings along mold and other grape diseases. The Garganega grape variety is known for its late ripening properties and thick skin. Therefore it can withstand the mist.
Soave has a delicate aroma. It comes in straw yellow, extra dry and with a slightly bitter touch.
An easy drinking wine that can please everyone, often enjoyed with traditional regional dishes such as risotto, vegetable soups, white cabbage and celery, along with salami, fish dishes, and cheeses such as Taleggio and Grana Padano.
TTS Best Tips:
1 | Wine Tasting Tours in Soave
2 | Visit Soave Market and Enjoy a four-course meal
4.10 | Marzemino
This red Italian wine is primarily grown in the Isera area, south of Trentino, Lombardy and Veneto regions. Nicknamed “Mozart’s wine” for its mention in the ‘Don Giovanni’ opera, Marzemino is one of the oldest wines in Italy.
The Marzemino grape variety is susceptible to grape diseases and as such the vine requires a long growing season. The grape ripens late, produce light wines and slightly sparkling.This grape variety is often used as a blending variety, matched with Barbera, Groppello or Merlot.
The deeply ruby red Marzemino goes best with mushroom dishes, white and red meat and cold cuts.
4.11 | Prosecco
Prosecco, an Italian sweet, fruity sparkling white wine is a product of the sprawling vineyards located between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the Veneto regions.
The grapes used to make Prosecco are Glera, a fruity, aromatic green grape. Glera is a thin-skinned green grape that has been grown in the Veneto region for hundreds of years. Prosecco wines contain at least 85% of Glera, blended with other grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in smaller quantities.
Prosecco’s sweet and lightly sparkling glass of wine is best paired with seafood, savoury cheeses, cured meats and fruits. It also goes well with smoked salmon, sushi, Thai noodles and Indian curries.
Best Ways to Experience the artful creation of Verona Wine from the hills of Garda
Experience Verona from a different cultural perspective. The artful creation of Verona wine from the hills of Garda handed down from generation to generation is best experienced by joining wine tasting or winery visits activities.
Visit historic wineries that had stood in the very same place for hundreds of years. Take an insider look in the wine-making culture and learn about the local harvesting, history, and processes from an experienced sommelier first hand. Taste local cuisine paired with local wine for an authentic experience of Veronese wine-making culture.
While you are fully immersed in the tasting and learning of the various wines, you are further rewarded with the breathtaking views of the hills and valleys of the Garda area along with the sereneness of the countryside.
What you experience on your visit depends very much on what you select. You could take a half-day trip visit to a winery or join a wine tasting walking experience. Here are some of the very best Verona wine experiences you could go for:
ESSENTIALS FOR VERONA, ITALY
From Verona Airport (VRN) to Verona City Centre/hotel
City of Verona Guide — Your One-Stop Resource
Where to Stay in Verona — Best Places to Stay in Verona
An Incredible Valpolicella Winery Visit in Verona
Verona by Bike — 6 Fun Cycle Tours
9 Charming Walking Tours in Verona
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Our Best Verona Wine Experiences that you may love
This sell-out event offers an all-round experience for wine lovers.
Visit a 17th century winery that has been in the family for 5 generation. Enjoy a peaceful stroll, taste a selection of local wines along with commentary on the wine-making processes.
Add a visit to the picturesque wine region in Lake Garda to your itinerary. Taste up to 6 wines including Garganega and Chiaretto along with cold cuts, Garda’s extra virgin olive oil and bread.
* Visit to the vineyard and cellar is upon request.
Enjoy a peaceful stroll in the quintessential hamlet of San Giorgio that is home to a 12th century Romanesque parish church while experiencing this tour.
Taste four different wines that has been made here for centuries along with cold-cuts, bread and cheese. Learn about the local harvesting, wine-making processes and history from a professional sommelier.
More on Verona Wine and Food Tours
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Verona Wine | 11 Fine Garda Wines first published at timelesstravelsteps.com
Update: August 2, 2022
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Thank you so much Ade. The hills of Garda are indeed spectacular, and their wines, unique.
A few years ago I was a seriously wine person with hundreds of bottles. I remember well some of the unique wines rarely seen outside of the Garda region. Some absolute classics. Great blog for anyone seeking to get behind the wines of the region