The average knowledge of Italian wine outside of Italy is limited to Chianti, Bardolino, Pinot Grigio and Soave or for those who like to spend a bit more…Barolo and Amarone. So you may be surprised to know that there are in fact over 350 registered grape varieties and that Italy culture is based around wine. In fact Italians lead the world in wine consumption by volume with 70 litres per capita consumption, compared to 25 litres in the US and 20 litres in Australia.
There are 20 wine producing regions in Italy, 3 of which have borders on the shores of Lake Garda: Lombardy in the south and west, Veneto in the east and the Trentino-South Tyrol region to the north. Lake Garda is therefore a fantastic location to begin your adventure with Italian wine. Local reds include the classic Amarone, and also Valpolicella, Marzemino, Lagrien, Garda Classico and Groppello.
My favourite of the whites is Lugana, which is mostly grown along the south shore, where the town of the same name is situated. Soave is from the Veneto region is probably the most well known outside of Italy, and Gewürztraminer, from the Alto-Adige region in the very north of the Trentino-South Tyrol region is a very good find.
Chiaretto is a local rose wine, a wine that is taken so seriously that every year there is a three day festival Italia in Rosa to celebrate it.