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Doc Garda, born in 1996, insists on the area of ​​ten historical denominations, such as Valpolicella to the East and Lugana to the West: 31,100 hectares of territory, dedicated to viticulture under the pedoclimatic influence of Lake Garda, from which today they produce more than 20 million bottles, mostly varietal wines, but also sparkling wines, both classic and Italian methods. After a path that we can define as “maturation”, made up of “stop & go”, of one-way choices then revised during construction, the Consortium for the protection of Garda Doc, at “Garda Wine Stories”, at the Dogana Veneta in Lazise , officially presented, at an international level, the reason for being of the denomination and its current and future physiognomy.A presentation that hinged not only on the high quality of Garda Doc wines, but also on the powerful beauty of Lake Garda, creator of the pedoclimatic condition of the surrounding territories, a well-known international tourist destination and, therefore, an important element for the marketing of name.
The “Garda region” is one of the world’s privileged wine destinations: it counts on a holiday flow of 13 million tourists, who exceed 20 with daily visits to amusement parks, and is also fueled by the proximity of cities of art, such as Verona, Mantua and Brescia, and the ease with which it can be reached thanks to highways and airports.
The productive enclave surrounding Lake Garda is a “piece of the Mediterranean” at the foot of the Alps, from which it is protected, enclosed by a frame of morainic hills of different undulation that have been generated over the millennia by repeated glaciations. To the characteristics of the soil and the climate – also told by the presence of olive trees, capers, lemons, cedars and agaves – is added the particular brightness, amplified by the refraction generated by the considerable water surface of the lake. to be scientifically investigated, which translates into an oenologically recognized “viticultural terroir” for three characteristics: softness, fruitiness and fragrance.
The use of the geographical term “Garda” for the labeling of Garda DOC wines dates back to 1968. In 1996 the recognition of the DOC for the varietal wines of the area circumscribed by the 10 historical denominations of the Riviera Bresciana, Alto Mantovano and Veronese and the birth of Voluntary consortium. In 2016, one year after the ministerial recognition of the Protection Consortium, the approval of the new disciplinary focused on the production of sparkling wines which in 2017 sees the first production in Veronese with the Italian method. And we come to today – 1,800 hectares claimed to Doc Garda by 250 vertical producers and cooperatives for 20 million bottles, a number that has grown in the last two years – to the return to origins after the growth of bubbles not as striking as expected, although there is was.
“In 1996 in the Veronese, Mantovano and Bresciano districts – tells Winenews, Paolo Fiorini, president of the Consortium (who succeeded Luciano Piona in January 2021, historic president behind the significant growth of the Garda doc, who died prematurely, ed) – there were many vineyards of international varieties not included within the historical doc, therefore not claimable. To enhance these vineyards and varieties, traditionally present in these areas, the idea was born of establishing a “denomination of denominations” that would include, within the perimeter of ten areas doc, varietal wines produced in the Garda area which, as a purely tourist area, has all the credentials to be recognized over time as a land of great wines at an international level. And it is in this direction that we are working: the beauty of these places, the brightness, the unique climate, the idea of ​​a holiday connected here, become in fact the distinctive features of an evocative story, full of suggestions. In 2015, on the basis of the success of the typology, the modification of the disciplinary for the introduction of sparkling wines, which however in the following years until 2020 did not grow as much as expected. Having become president, in light of the numbers of bottling, I wanted to return to focus and give visibility to the expression that varietal wines have in this territorial context. However, the sparkling wines, classic method and Italian white and pink, are an important part of the production of the doc with peaks of excellence and also for this type it has been chosen to focus on highlighting the variety. In this sense, a modification of the specification is in progress in line with the programmatic line drawn up by the Consortium. Request for modification which also includes the introduction of two other varieties for still wines, Rebo and Muller Thurgau ”.
The Garda Doc fits into a complex context – two regions, Veneto and Lombardy, three provinces, Verona, Mantua and Brescia – and “interacts” with 10 historical denominations with which it shares the territory and also vineyards.
“The doc Garda is configured as one more opportunity – underlines Paolo Fiorini, who is also an active part in some Consortia of other denominations – all the actors of the Garda doc are also within the fabric of the ten historical denominations and there is collaboration. We are complementary and act in synergy. There is total clarity on this: there is no competition. Simply, the winemakers who produce in the territories of the historic Doc have an extra opportunity to give dignity to other wines by labeling them as Doc Garda. Furthermore, the Doc Garda gives the possibility to enter the “sphere of sparkling wines” that some historical denominations do not have, giving the opportunity to complete the range of products offered. From this point of view, it makes no sense to refer the production potential to the hectare of 31,100 hectares on which the denomination stands together with the other ten historic ones “.
In this position of the Garda doc that we could define “transversal” with respect to the historical denominations, the Consortium is promoting some research that will be useful to all 4,000 winemakers involved in the production of the territory: an example is the study of the agroclimatic characterization of the area led by Luigi Mariani and Osvaldo Failla of the University of Milan, who will continue with further developments on a smaller scale, and the three-year project started this year on functional biodiversity in the vineyard aimed at reducing the impact of chemistry in the vineyard entrusted to Agrea.

Focus – The Garda Doc
Doc Garda was born in 1996 with the aim of enhancing varietal wines. The sparkling wine production and the Bianco and Rosso types are more recent.

Types admitted by production regulations
Still varietal wines: Pinot bianco, Pinot grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling b., Sauvignon, Cortese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Corvina, Pinot nero, Marzemino
Still wines blended and / or cold cut: White (Garganega, Chardonnay, Pinot grigio and Trebbiano), Red (Merlot, Cabernet, Corvina, Marzemino, Rebo)
Italian method sparkling wines: White (Garganega, Trebbiano di Lugana, Pinot grigio)
Classic method sparkling wines (mainly in cuveée): White (Chardonnay, Pinot nero, Corvina), Roseé (Marzemino, Corvina, Pinot nero).

Area under vines and vines
It is equal to 31,100 hectares, most of which are cultivated in the province of Verona (27,889), the remaining 3,211 hectares are divided between the provinces of Mantua and Brescia. The main grape varieties are eight, four white-berried – Garganega, Trebbiano (Trebbiano di Soave and / or Trebbiano di Lugana), Chardonnay, Pinot grigio- and four black-berried Corvina, Marzemino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon. All the local vines of the area complete the ampelographic platform.

The study of agroclimatic characterization
The study conducted by Luigi Mariani and Osvaldo Failla of the University of Milan identified 5 vocational areas for black and white grapes. The analysis carried out made it possible to describe the climate of the DOC Garda wine area in quantitative terms. The results allow us to affirm that the agroclimatic characteristics of the viticultural area under investigation make it a territory suited to quality viticulture. This conclusion is supported both by the analysis of climatic resources and by that of limiting climatic elements. From these analyzes emerge in particular the good or excellent levels of the radiative, thermal and pluviometric resources, which are placed on values ​​similar to those found in the best Italian and world wine-growing areas, while the limitations are in no way capable of compromising the viticultural activity. The area has a marked internal agroclimatic variability which represents a source of winemaking diversity of undoubted value for the development, enhancement and communication policies of the denomination. In particular, the specific conformation of the moraine reliefs and the water mass of the lake determine a situation of marked asymmetry in the availability of thermal resources. The western strip of the southern coast of the lake, with a marked southern extension, benefits from greater thermal resources, while the eastern area of ​​southern Garda is characterized by a milder thermal regime. The mitigating effect of the lake also appears to be spreading in western Valpolicella. The southern area, on the other hand, does not seem to be influenced by the lake effect. The climatic risk levels and the inter-annual variability of climatic resources, however, recommend maintaining the agro-meteorological and phenological survey activities over time in close connection with the regional meteorological services and with other territorially competent services.

The numbers of the appellation, from the 2016 harvest to May 2022
The numbers of the Garda appellation have been continuously growing since 2016, the year of the modification of the production regulations with the inclusion of the white and rosé sparkling wine, to stabilize in the last two years at around 20 million bottles.

The numbers in the vineyard
The claimed hectares have grown steadily: in 2016 there were about 853, in the last harvest campaign the increase was more than double, reaching 1,839 hectares. The quantities of grapes claimed, on the other hand, grew until the 2020 campaign, only to have a slight decline in 2021.

The numbers in the cellar
The denomination, in terms of wine, had a very significant growth from 2016 to 2020 and in 2021, as for the countryside production, there was a slight decrease for both certified and bottled wine. In 2016 the appellation started with a base of 34,000 bottled hectoliters, grown today to 145,717 hectoliters conditioned in 2021. The most certified varietal types are Garganega, Chardonnay, Pinot grigio and Merlot. Sparkling wine is growing, going from 428 hectoliters bottled in 2016 to 4,700 hectoliters in 2021.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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