Apart from grape seeds (pips), classified as belonging to the species vitis silvestris, found in the bronze age pile dwellings discovered at Peschiera del Garda, Pacengo and Cisano di Bardolino, the oldest finds that have to do with the use of wine in the present-day Bardolino zone are from the Roman era.
These are objects used for religious rites (situlae and paterae) and for storing wine (amphoras). It is likely that the first cultivation of vines in the area also dates back to that period, a hypothesis reinforced by the rediscovery of agricultural settlements, including the rustic villa found near the little church of San Vito at Cortelline, in the hills of Bardolino (inside the church there is a fragment of a Longobard ciborium with, sculpted on it, bunches of grapes).
The first written documents regarding viticulture in the area of Bardolino date back to the early Middle Ages. It was the religious institutions that encouraged the growth of agriculture, favouring the cultivation of olive trees and of vines.
In particular, in the year 807 the monastery of San Zeno in Verona received from King Pippin a church in Bardolino, as well as the land belonging to it: near the church there was a “caneva” (cellar) that served as a warehouse for the rent in kind paid by those who cultivated the monastery’s lands. Similar rental agreements, calling for payments in the form of cartloads of grapes, would also be underwritten in the subsequent centuries by other religious bodies, such as that of the Parish Church of Garda.
Some 15th century authors, referring to the zone, talked about “gentle, natural wines” (Francesco Corna da Soncino) and “extremely perfect wines” (Marin Sanudo).
The nineteenth century