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Lugana and Valpolicella: the beating heart of Zenato wines

The areas around Lake Garda are home to  many important wines, such as those of the Zenato family. 

Wanting to know more about this renowned company, we went to visit Nadia, who runs the family business, along with her brother Alberto and mother Carla. The business was begun by Nadia and Alberto’s father, Sergio.  

Nadia oversees the commercial areas, marketing and communication. When we meet her, she tells us that ever since she was a child, she smelled the scent of wine and played in the vineyards, so joining the family business was a very natural transition for her.

We get comfortable and ask Nadia to tell us about herself.

Nadia, what does wine represent for you? What deep emotion does it arouse in you?

“My father immediately saw the face of Zenato in me. Right from the start, my commitment was to promote our wines and spread the culture of wine, with a feminine touch and with that special team spirit which we all share.

Running a family business is a responsibility that engages us in several ways. We feel it is our duty to carry on the values that our parents have passed on to us, and at the same time we have to be attentive to changing times, to the increasingly important issues of environmental, economic and social sustainability, and to new consumer demands. But it is also a responsibility towards those who work with us and for us, because we want to give them stability and guarantee a serene working environment in which they can feel fulfilled’.

What were the difficulties at the beginning and what are the satisfactions today? 

‘In Italy, as early as the late 1950s, people began to consider wine as a common good, involving both producers and tourism entrepreneurs because of the attraction it aroused in tourists. Lugana played a decisive role in this process, culminating in 1967 with the birth of the DOC, one of the first in Italy. 

Our family history began in 1960, when my father Sergio believed in the extraordinary potential of the native Trebbiano di Lugana vine. He sensed its potential linked to the unique microclimate of Lake Garda and understood that the key to success would be quality. Hence his decision to keep yields low and to put maximum care into work in the vineyard and cellar.  From Lugana to Valpolicella, we have continued our work of experimentation, giving new life to a wine of great tradition and renown, Amarone.  We have also rediscovered an ancient method that had long since fallen into disuse – ripasso – with which we have created a great wine: Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso.  While respecting the ecosystem, we have preserved the environmental profile of the hillside and restored the traditional dry-stone walls, built in perfect harmony with the environment.

Today I am satisfied and proud of what we have created. And all this is an incentive to make Zenato more and more a brand of excellence of ‘Made in Italy’.

Which wine do you feel particularly proud of and why?

‘I am a woman of reds, Amarone is my first great love. It is a wine that with its complexity tells the story of a unique territory, that comes from a great knowledge of the environment, from the culture of the place, from a millenary tradition and at the same time is capable of dealing with that evolution of taste that has made it a modern, current, winning wine’.

What are the characteristics of the soils on which your vines grow?

“In Lugana we have soils of morainic origin, characterised by predominantly clay soils and very rich in minerals. In Valpolicella we are at 350 m above sea level, with limestone soil, rich in minerals, deriving from very ancient rocks’.

Have you received any prizes or awards?

“Our wines have received several awards, both international and national, in particular our Sergio Zenato Reserves of Lugana and Amarone. Among the most important Italian awards, we are proud of the Tre Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso and the 5 Grappoli from Bibenda’.

I know that you organise company tours with a visit to the vineyard and tasting of your wines: what kind of atmosphere do you create?

“Our guided tour allows you to immerse yourself and ‘live’ our work and our passion. The tour starts among the historic vineyards in Lugana. Immersed in the greenery between the rows of vines, you can admire Lake Garda and the moraine hills in the distance, before visiting the cellar to discover how the grapes are processed and how the wine-making process works. We show our guests the rooms dedicated to Amarone and the underground cellar – the oldest part of the winery – where the red wines are stored. And finally we come to the tasting of our wines in a truly evocative environment, surrounded by the ‘libraries’ where the most prized vintages are stored”.

Nadia, can you tell us a particular anecdote related to your work? For example, an amusing or unexpected episode

“A memory from my childhood: the walks with my father through the rows of vines, with his tales of how extraordinary it was to capture the nuances of every single bunch. Then, the emotion I felt when I took my daughter for the first time to our vineyards in Tuscany at Bolgheri’.

What is the secret dream that you would like to come true?

“The last dream that I made come true was to create the Zenato Academy, a laboratory in which to promote experimentation in the cultural field and support young artists. Since 2019 we have already held four photography exhibitions with as many bilingual Italian and English catalogues, in collaboration with international schools from Italy, Germany and the United States. My great passions have always been fashion and accessories. And I have not given them up: I have created my own collection of jewellery inspired by the world of wine, Nadia Zenato Jewelry

My motto is ‘Never stop dreaming and always set yourself new goals! There will always be a dream in the drawer, ready to be brought to light’.

Where we are

Need a "strategically located hotel"? That’s us! Enjoy is

3 minutes away from the motorway exit (1km)
5 minutes on foot from the railway station
10 minutes on foot from the historical centre of Peschiera and the shores of the lake
Few kilometres away from Garda’s main spas
2 km away from Gardaland and within walking distance of the free bus stop
Within walking distance from the Pederzoli nursing home

How to reach us

We feel it is important to give you all you need to live, know and understand our land, so you can feel at home, part of the family.

Peschiera is a great starting point to visit the three shores of Lake Garda (touching three regions: Veneto, where we are, Lombardy and Trentino), each with typical features, customs, traditional food and wines.

By Car

Enjoy Garda Hotel is situated only 1,5 kms away from the motorway A4 Milano-Venezio (exit Peschiera del Garda).

By Train

As it is set in a central location, we are only 100 meters far from the town train station Peschiera del Garda.

By Air

The closest airport is the Catullo (in Villafranca di Verona).