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Allegrini 2018
WINE AND TERRITORY

Garda Doc, a “denomination of denominations” to enhance still and sparkling varietal wines

Divided between Lombardy and Veneto, embraced by 10 historical denominations, it is official with “Garda Wine Stories”

The Garda Doc, born in 1996, extends over the area of ten historical denominations, such as Valpolicella to the East and Lugana to the West: 31,100 hectares of land, dedicated to viticulture under the pedoclimatic influence of Lake Garda, from which today more than 20 million bottles are produced, 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 in the works, the Consortium of protections 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 a daily visit to amusement parks, and is also fueled by the proximity of cities of art, such as Verona, Matua and Brescia, and the ease with which it can be reached thanks to highways and airports. The productive territory 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 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. A unique phenomenon of its kind, yet to be scientifically investigated, which translates into an ecologically 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 the Voluntary consortium. In 2016, one year after the ministerial recognition of the Consortium, the approval of the new specification 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 striking as expected, although there is was.
“In 1996 in the Veronese, Mantovano and Bresciano districts – tells to WinwNews, Paolo Fiorini president of the Consortium (who succeeded Luciano Piona in January 2021, historic president responsible for 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” which included, within the perimeter of ten Doc areas, varietal wines produced in the Garda area which, as a pure tourist area, has all the credential 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 hallmarks of an evocative story, full of suggestions. In 2015, based on the success of the type, the modification of the regulations for the introduction of sparkling wines, which however in the following year until 2020 did not grow as much as expected. Having become president, in the light of the number of bottling, I wanted to back to focusing on giving visibility to the expression that varietal wines have in this territorial context. However, sparkling wines, classic method and Italian white and pink, are important of the production of the Doc with peaks of excellence and also for this type it was decided 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 wines, Rebo and Muller Thurgau”.
The Garda Doc fits into a complex context – two regions, Veneto and Lombardy, three provinces, Verina Mantua and Brescia – and “interacts” with 10 historical denominations with which it shares the territory and also vineyards.
“The Garda Doc is configured as one more opportunity - underlines Paolo Fiorini, which is also an active part in some Consortium 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 Docs 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 perspective, it makes no sense to refer the production potential to the hectare of 31,100 hectares on which the denominations stand 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 can be useful to all 4,000 winemakers involved in the production of the territory: examples are the agroclimatic characterization study of the area conducted by Luigi Mariani and Osvaldo Failla of the University of Milan, which will continue with further developments on a smaller scale, and the three-year on functional biodiversity in the vineyard aimed at reducing the impact of chemistry in the vineyard entrusted to Agrea.

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