Lake Garda wines: the most famous, area by area

What are the typical wines of Lake Garda? Vineyards abound on the shores of the lake for centuries, the climate gives life to grapes for famous wines in Italy and the world.

Home Travel Resources Lake Garda wines: the most famous, area by area

For centuries, the Garda area has been an area where vineyards abound; on the shores of the lake the climate allows for successful cultivation of vines, giving life to an oenological tradition with wines famous in Italy and, by now, all over the world.

Depending on the cultivation of the grapes, the land and the vinification, the Garda wines are differentiated between red, white, rosé and particular specialties between sweet and reserve wines. Let’s see which are the best toasts for those visiting the lake, among all these wine delights!

The distinction between reds and whites, all the colors of viticulture on Lake Garda

The typical Garda wine is the one that comes from the local food and wine tradition and goes well with fish dishes from the lake, but some wine productions are often combined with recipes from the hinterland, perhaps with meat skewers and Brescian cheeses. If the former are mainly white wines, the others are intense reds, all always on a single soil, like that of the lake. Let’s find out the most famous ones!

White wines of Lake Garda


Among the white wines of Garda, Custoza represents a “choice”, in the sense that it is made up of a blend of skilfully dosed grapes, grown between the southern shores of Verona’s Garda, the Mincio and the Adige. Its grape variety is that of the Tuscan Trebbiano, with added grapes of tocai (trebbianello), garganega, courteous, Italian riesling, malvasia, pinot bianco and chardonnay.

It is highly appreciated by contemporary cuisine for its intense aroma and acidic flavor which is nonetheless soft in the aromatic attitude towards sweetness. It goes well with fish dishes, risottos, roast meats and fish, but also as an aperitif and as a dessert wine – a wine for the whole meal, one might say. In fact, there are also versions of the white Custoza passito.


Among the most famous historical white wines is Lugana, born in an area already inhabited during the Bronze Age, whose Trebbiano di Lugana vine is grown in a flat area between Brescia and Verona. The fertile clayey soil is made of layered clays of moraine origin, rich in mineral salts, which become sandy in the Lugana DOC area. The resulting wine is delicate, balanced and soft, with strong aromas ranging from citrus fruits to almonds. Perfect as an aperitif, with appetizers and fish.

Its “strongholds” are in the strip of land between Desenzano del Garda, Sirmione, Peschiera and Pozzolengo, and it is found in addition to the classic version, also as Lugana di Vendemmia Tardiva and Spumante.

San Martino della Battaglia

Another exceptional white, which in pate shares the same production areas as Lugana, is the San Martino della Battaglia wine, produced exclusively with Friulian Tocai grapes which, on this Garda soil, give a soft, slightly acidic product with a very intense and with a dry taste. A fresh, harmonious white wine, which sometimes recalls almonds in the aftertaste and is perfectly suited to aperitifs, appetizers, and lake fish recipes. There is also a liqueur version, which lives on the centuries-old tradition of making wine with care during fermentation and then in the refinement for 6-8 months: up to a full-bodied taste, a floral and fruity aroma, a high alcohol content around 16%. San Martino is also produced in the area between the provinces of Brescia and Verona, between the hills and the Garda hinterland.

Red wines of Lake Garda


In the Valtenesi area of Brescia, Groppello is born, a red wine from Garda renowned for its adaptability with the local cuisine, and which is divided between Groppello Gentile, Mocasina and S.Stefano. The vine compact as if it were a pine cone, cylindrical, gives its name to this wine (from the Lombard grop-pigna) also called Grupela Veronese.

The ancient origins of this red from Garda probably date back to the Roman or barbarian period, and since then many have appreciated this delicate, spicy, velvety and sweet to drink wine, with fruity notes. Ideal to accompany medium-aged or spicy cheeses, soppressa veneta, meat dishes, local cured meats and tasty first courses of Lake Garda cuisine. Groppello is also found in the Riserva versions, more full-bodied than the dry taste of the classic Groppello.

Garda Merlot

Moving on to the hills of Mantua near the Garda, we find the productions of the red Garda DOC Merlot – one of the denominations of the Lombard Garda DOC, made up of at least 85% of Merlot grapes. A ruby red wine, full-bodied, harmonious and elegant, and pleasant to drink and accompany various dishes, including typical dishes such as bigoli with duck sauce, or white meats such as rabbit, recipes with legumes. It is often defined as a “vinous” wine, i.e. with a vat, fermentation scent, which is highly appreciated in young reds.

Rosé wines of Lake Garda

There is no shortage of excellent rosé wines on Lake Garda, and in particular these two are produced on the respective eastern (Bardolino Chiaretto) and western (Classic Chiaretto) shores.


Bardolino Chiaretto represents the rosé version of Bardolino, the famous red from the Verona area, and is vinified in white from the same grapes. The maceration of the skins is minimal, the contact of the must with the skins is limited, and this contributes to increasing the floral and citrus aromas, which are combined with the fresh, light taste, with an elegant structure.
It is often combined with light dishes, soups, appetizers, perfect as an aperitif and in the classic accompaniment with fish dishes from the Garda area.

Garda Classico Chiaretto

Garda Classico Chiaretto, on the other hand, is a rosé that is also obtained from the white vinification of Garda Rosso grapes, with an immediate separation of the must from the fermentation. The wine, therefore, is delicate, with a bouquet of light aromas tending towards almond, a soft but decisive flavour. It should be tasted within the year following vinification, to make the most of it. Also perfect with light dishes and appetizers, the Classico Chiaretto is a Garda rosé often presented in the list as ideal for vegetables, lake fish and white meat main courses.


Ciao lettore 🙂 Sono Michele, ho 30 anni e vivo sul Lago di Garda, più precisamente a Toscolano Maderno. La passione e la bellezza di questo territorio mi hanno spinto a condividere con voi i miei migliori consigli e tutto ciò che riguarda il Lago di Garda. Se avete bisogno di informazioni ulteriori commentate l'articolo e vi risponderò in 24 ore! Buon viaggio a tutti!


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