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It's harvest time in Lombardy 

Do you want to spend a day among the vines and barrels, touching the sun-ripened white, red and pink grapes that are destined to become incredible world-famous Italian wines?

 

Then Lombardy is the place to be! Did you know that vines have been cultivated in this region since the Neolithic period? While excavating the prehistoric pile dwellings in the Brescia area of Lake Garda, archaeologists uncovered grape seeds dating back millions of years; on the shores of Lake Maggiore, wineskins have been discovered from the 7th century BC. 
By the 1st century BC, Lambrusco vines were already being cultivated and the wines of Oltrepò Pavese enjoyed a certain fame, as noted by the Mantuan poet Virginio and Strabo, a Greek geographer and philosopher.

Lombardy, land of wine
Some of the best wine producers are found in Lombardy, creating delicious nectars that have made Italian oenology famous around the world. In addition to the aforementioned Oltrepò Pavese, this area is made up of many wine regions: San Colombano al Lambro and the Milan suburbs of Lodi and Pavia; Terre del Colleoni, Valcalepio and Scanzo (in the Province of Bergamo); Franciacorta, Cellatica, Capriano, Botticino, Garda Bresciano, Riviera del Garda, Valtenesi (Province of Brescia); Garda (Provinces of Brescia, Verona and Mantua); Lugana (Provinces of Brescia and Verona); Valtellina (Province of Sondrio); Garda dei Colli Mantovani and Lambrusco Mantovano. With so much on offer, Lombardy is the perfect place to dive into the world of wine tourism and help to create the drink of the gods. 

 

It's harvest time... 
In Lombardy, the months of September and October are a decisive time for winemakers: the period between late summer and early autumn sees every vineyard transform into a hive of activity, from the grape harvest to the first stages of the winemaking process. The grapes ripened by the scorching August sun are ready to be selected and gathered... and that's where you come in! The vineyards and cellars of Lombardy are ready to welcome wine enthusiasts and tourists of all ages into a totally safe environment, having taken all the necessary precautions. In addition to visiting the vineyards, you can help to harvest the ripened grapes alongside the winemakers. If you want a fun day out with your children, there are special educational harvests and grape-stomping activities on offer. The unforgettable night-time harvests and wine baths, however, are reserved for adults only! Before the scent of wine gets to your head, you can peruse our tips and information to find your ideal events and destinations. To celebrate the harvest months, wineries organise a wide variety of activities: food and wine events to sample wines and local specialities, exhibitions, cultural tours, sport activities... everything you need to enjoy a truly special weekend!

A Movement for wine!
The Movimento Turismo del Vino (Wine Tourism Movement) has some interesting plans in the works for summer/autumn 2020. This non-profit association is made up of around 1000 of the most prestigious wineries in Italy—more than 50 in Lombardy—which are known for their hospitality. First and foremost, the Movimento is following the "Tranquillamente Enoturismo: guidelines and good practices for Covid-free wine tourism" international protocol, which promotes the protection of people's health and calls for the adaptation of facilities and services in accordance with the most recent regulations. 

 

Wandering between the rows of grapes
In the months leading up to winter, you can plan safe and pleasant trips throughout Lombardy thanks to Vigneti Aperti (Open Vineyards) and Cantine Aperte (Open Cellars). This programme of events was organised by the Movimento del Turismo del Vino with the support of the Lombardy Region. The activities held in the wineries' open-air spaces will allow you to visit vineyards and cellars in Ronchi Varesini, the Valcalepio, Garda, the Valtenesi, Lugana, the Colli Morenici Mantovani, San Colombano and Oltrepò. The experiences on offer include guided walks with the winemakers, harvests, excursions on the terraces, trekking, horse riding, cycling and even Vespa rides. If you are in need of some sustenance, you can enjoy picnics, aperitifs and dinners in the vineyards, with tastings included. 

Always check the cellar opening hours and remember to book your visit: try out the dedicated Enonautilus App

 

Raise your glass for Franciacorta
A wide-reaching event, the Franciacorta Festival explores the home of the first Italian wine produced using the "traditional method" to obtain DOCG status. In the heart of Lombardy, Franciacorta overlooks the shores of Lake Iseo in the Province of Brescia. On the weekends of 12-13 and 19-20 September, almost 70 wineries in the Franciacorta Consortium will open their doors to everyone who wants to discover this beautiful land. The varied programme has something for the whole family: guided tours of the vineyards, cellars and monuments along the Strada del Franciacorta, as well as brunches, dinners and sunset aperitifs. To dance the night away in a magical vineyard setting, slip on a pair of wireless headphones and join the silent disco. Alternatively, you can participate in a fast chess tournament out among the terraced vineyards. And, of course, you should always end your day with a glass of this Franciacorta, which might just be the best vintage of the last decade!

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ph: bresciatourism.it

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