A family that has been involved in viticulture for generations, like that of Gaetano Zeni, decided at the beginning of the nineties to share spaces and knowledge with the public.
Zeni was an innovator, bringing various initiatives to his cellar as early as the 1950s, when he founded this new location among these Garda moraine hills and, later, a museum to promote the importance of the wine production of these lands. Hence the homonymous wine, the red Bardolino which shares a lot with Valpolicella, having Rondinella, Corvina Veronese and Molinara as cultivated vines.
The Wine Museum in Bardolino has been opened in the Zeni cellars since 1991, a town on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda famous for its microclimate and the characteristics of the soil, perfect for cultivating vineyards.
A visit to the Wine Museum, to get to know Bardolino DOC and more …
The exhibition space was set up inside the Cantina dei Fratelli Zani in the Costabella locality, a hill in front of the town of Bardolino overlooking the Garda. Wanted by Gaetano Zani to testify the wine culture of the area, it represents a very popular destination not only by tourists of Lake Garda, but also by viticulture enthusiasts from all over Europe – who can, in this way, enjoy a holiday and deepen their passion for nectar of Bacchus.
The Zeni family has been linked to their vineyards for generations, and offers a fascinating journey into the world of wine, beyond teaching.
The exhibition rooms on cultivation, winemaking and bottling
Once you arrive at the museum, you will find a special path waiting for you, which winds through different rooms, exhibiting panels, photos, objects and tools of viticulture.
The itinerary in the world of wine and its particular history in the Garda area begins with a journey through the rooms divided into thematic areas. Each area is dedicated to an aspect of the wine chain, from cultivation to labeling: an interesting path for visitors, who will be able to learn the entire winemaking process.
The first three rooms are dedicated to viticulture in the vineyard, to the harvesting and processing of grapes for the preparation of the various winemaking methods. A series of vintage equipment and photos reveal how an excellent wine is born. The various types of cultivation are exhibited (double overturned, Trentino pergola, spurred cordon, simple and double guyot), with a hint of today’s trends and the display of ancient tools.
In the second tour you learn a lot about the transformations of the harvested grapes, so that they become wine. The working tools of the harvest are exhibited, including the manual weighers of the baskets, the ancient pressing plants (including a medieval crusher!), In which the harvested grapes were pressed barefoot as per tradition. In the rooms you will also find two ancient grape transport wagons, and a grape drying plant which in the Veneto area was used for the production of famous wines such as Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella.
How wine is made: wine production at the museum
Housed right at the Zani winery, the exhibition itinerary focuses in the final parts above all on the actual production phases of the wine, winemaking and its methods.
In this area, equipment used in the cellars are exhibited, such as an ancient 15th century press, the oenological pumps to transfer the wine from one barrel to another (to improve its final clarity), the capping machines – including some medieval ones made of wood.
In the Wine Museum in Bardolino you will learn more about the work of the cooper, the origins of this profession and the cellars, within the winemaking activities. In charge of making barrels and wooden containers of all sizes, the cooper was once a very popular profession and the museum displays the many tools for working the wood and iron of the barrels.
The tour ends in the wine shop with wine tasting in the Galleria degli Odori; a corner in which the special sensory experience of those who want to know better the wine aromas is amplified. Each visitor will be able to experience a unique olfactory experience, which is associated with the flavor of Zeni wine and gourmet finger food specialties. Some tasting “packages” combine food and drinks in order to develop a sensitivity not only for smell but also for taste – it is known that a good sommelier tests each wine by pairing it with the most varied dishes.
How to visit the Wine Museum
Tours to the museum can be done by individual visitors or by groups (maximum 10 people) and it is possible to visit the Wine Museum for free without being followed by a guide.
Guests can enter the wine shop, taste the wines and, if they wish, buy the bottles of the Zeni winery – and not only, since there are also brandy, vinegar and grappas of own production, as well as products typical regional products, olive oil, baskets and gift ideas for every occasion.
The Wine Museum is located as we have seen in Costabella di Bardolino, not far from Verona – a city known for its hospitality every year to sector events such as Vinitaly.