It was in the 19th century that wine production on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda began to be identified explicitly with the name “Bardolino”. The first technical analyses of the local wines (carried out by Giovanni Del Sie) date back to 1873. In 1897 Giuseppe Solitro, a writer from Brescia, talking about the wines of Lake Garda, wrote that “among those with the highest reputation in the area are those of Bardolino, whose name they have spread throughout the whole of Italy and which compete with the finest in the country”.
In his book entitled “La Provincia di Verona ed i suoi vini”, published in 1900 in Verona but referring to studies carried out in the previous years, Giovanni Battista Perez identified three sub-zones in the area of Bardolino: "the foothills of Montebaldo (district of Caprino) with the adjoining upper morainic region, that of Garda (district of Bardolino), and the lower morainic hills (district north of Villafranca)."
In particular, he wrote that the local wines “made as they should be - after ageing in bottle - can seem like Beaujolais”, adding that “the Swiss pass them off in their hotels for French stuff”.
Similar judgments can be found in the volume “La Provincia di Verona” by Luigi Sormani Moretti, published in 1904: “In the hotels of Switzerland, many hectolitres of wine from Bardolino and Garda are enjoyed under the Lyonnais name of Beaujolais”.
Moreover, as long ago as in 1820, in his “Descrizione di Verona e della sua Provincia”, Giovanni Battista da Persico stated that Bardolinos could take on “the colour of Burgundy wine with age”, and that they should only then be put on sale, thus avoiding the prejudices linked to their hue, which is never on its own a sign of quality.
The twentieth century