As one of Italy's largest wine regions, Lombardy boasts a rich viticultural tapestry stretching across its picturesque landscapes. Bordered by Switzerland to the north and neighbouring regions like Emilia-Romagna, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, and Piedmont, Lombardy stands as a vibrant hub of winemaking.
While Lombardy has long been recognized for its substantial wine production, 2022 proved challenging for the region. Unfavourable weather conditions led to its second-lowest production this decade, yielding 1.2 million hectoliters of wine. However, Lombardy's winemakers remain undeterred, committed to preserving the region's winemaking legacy.
Within Lombardy's vine-clad valleys, two gems stand out among the rest. The famed Franciacorta sparkling wine with its elegance and effervescence, rivalling the finest bubblies from around the world. On the other hand, the Valtellina red wines showcase depth and complexity.
Lombardy's vineyards are a testament to the harmonious coexistence of a diverse range of grape varietals. The region's red wines find their soul in the crimson hues of Croatina, Barbera, and Pinot Nero grapes. Meanwhile, Chardonnay takes center stage as the most cultivated white grape, lending its finesse and versatility to Lombardy's white wine offerings.
Despite the challenges faced in 2022, Lombardy remains a bastion of winemaking excellence, its vineyards serving as a testament to the region's unwavering dedication to quality and craftsmanship. Wine enthusiasts are invited to explore the diverse flavours and exceptional wines that flourish within this beautiful Italian wine region, where tradition meets innovation, and each bottle tells a story of passion and resilience.
Lombardy unfolds under the influence of a continental climate, punctuated by the moderating presence of majestic lakes such as Como, Iseo, Maggiore, and Garda. These shimmering bodies of water lend a gentle touch, bestowing milder temperatures upon the region. The plains areas enjoy warmer temperatures, while a consistent level of humidity sweeps across the landscape, nurturing the vineyards throughout the year.
The soils of Lombardy exhibit remarkable diversity, contributing to the region's winemaking prowess. From limestone to silt and clay, the terroir comes alive in unique expressions. The renowned DOC Buttafuoco dell'Oltrepò Pavese boasts limestone, silt, and clay soils that shape wines of character, while Casteggio reveals gravel and sand-infused soils, offering their own distinct personality.
Sustainable viticulture has emerged as a significant focus in the Lombardy wine region, with several noteworthy initiatives, among which the project conducted by Consorzio Vini Oltrepo stands out as particularly compelling. Commenced in 2015, this project sets ambitious targets for achieving a more sustainable viticultural landscape within the region by 2030.
The project encompasses multifaceted objectives that encompass diverse aspects of sustainability, including the promotion of gender equality within the viticultural sector. By advocating for inclusivity and equal opportunities, the project aims to foster a more balanced and equitable workforce, advancing social sustainability alongside environmental considerations. The project emphasizes the adoption of cleaner energy sources to reduce the carbon footprint associated with wine production and prioritizes the implementation of environmentally friendly winemaking techniques. This entails the exploration and adoption of sustainable practices throughout the entire winemaking process, from vineyard management to grape harvesting and processing. By embracing techniques that minimize chemical inputs, reduce waste generation, and optimize resource utilization, the project aims to enhance the overall environmental performance of the region's winemaking industry.
Most Planted Red Grape Varieties: Croatina, Barbera, Pinot Nero
Most Planted White Grape Varieties: Chardonnay.
Lombardy offers a range of popular wines that showcase the region's winemaking excellence:
The Lombardy wine narrative begins in the Neolithic era, where traces of vine cultivation date back to ancient times. Remarkably, the discovery of wine bottles in the Varese area dating back to the 7th century BC serves as a testament to the enduring bond between Lombardy and the vine.
In the 1st century BC, Roman sources shed light on the cultivation of Vitis labrusca for wine production, revealing the region's deep-rooted connection to winemaking. The Milanese area witnessed a surge in vineyard expansion during the third century, further solidifying Lombardy's position as a land of wine.
Valtellina, nestled in the heart of Lombardy, holds its own chapter in this vinous tale. Traces of wine production in this enchanting region can be traced back to the 9th century, although it would take another century for wine to truly flourish as a vital part of local agriculture. Meanwhile, from the 19th century to the early 20th century, Lombardy experienced a gradual shift away from vineyards, with the allure of cultivating mulberry trees for silk production proving more profitable.
However, Valtellina defied the trend, experiencing a significant upswing in wine production during this period. The region emerged as a beacon of vinous excellence, fostering a winemaking tradition that would stand the test of time.
Today, as you savour the fruits of Lombardy's vineyards, from the renowned wines of Valtellina to the diverse expressions found across the region, you become part of a rich tapestry of history and heritage. The legacy of Lombardy's winemakers, who navigated through centuries of change and challenges, lives on in every sip, inviting you to celebrate the enduring spirit of Lombardy's vinous treasure.