In northern Italy, Lake Garda offers golfing greens and wine tasting side by side. Many passionate golfers are also wine lovers, and northern Italy offers fairways and vineyards side by side. In particular, the beautiful Lake Garda is dotted with courses for all levels, from beginner to championship. The surrounding hillsides grow with grapes like trebbiano di Lugana and corvina, and wineries are willing to open their doors to curious enophiles—the perfect setting to head out to the greens and finish your game with a glass of white Lugana DOC. © Zenato Winery Where to golf in Italy: Lake Garda Lake Garda is surrounded by eleven courses, making it an ideal place for the passionate golfer (four 27-hole courses, six 18-hole courses, and one 9-hole course). The varied landscape makes each course unique: lakeside views, vineyard hills, the Dolomite mountains in the background, and small towns to explore. The courses are spread along the lakeside in Lombardy and Veneto—Lake Garda straddles the two regions—with one located further out in the Franciacorta wine zone of Lombardy near the smaller Lake d’Iseo. Check out this map of the golf courses in Lake Garda. When to go The golf courses are open year-round. Because temperatures are mitigated by the nearby lake, giving the territory a pleasant sub-Mediterranean climate, it’s pleasant to visit any month of the year. Here, golf (and wine tasting) knows no season! We recommend a specific weekend of the year to visit, especially if you relish the collective spirit of competition and golfing fever: the weekend of the Riserva Sergio Zenato Lugana Tournament in early September or October. This tournament offers a chance to taste excellent local wine and play alongside golfers from around the world, including Canada, the USA, Finland, Russia, and Britain. It’s held at the Golf Club Paradiso del Garda, which was designed by the noted American landscape architect and golf course designer Jim Fazio. Golf tournament at Golf Club Paradiso. © Zenato Winery Golf Club Paradiso is one of Italy’s most entertaining and attractive golfing greens. It features eighteen championship holes, numerous bunkers, five lakes, a driving range, putting and pitch greens, a pool, restaurant, wellness area, and bar. Pair golfing with wine tasting © Zenato Winery Over one hundred golfers participate in the tournament each year since the Zenato winery helped initiate the event in 2008. Besides golfing, the participants all have one thing in common: they love good wine. Zenato Winery, located just over the border on Lake Garda’s Veneto side, has collaborated with their neighbors, Golf Club Paradiso, for this annual event since its first edition (€50 to participate). Founded in 1960 by Sergio Zenato, they cultivate ninety hectares of vineyards with trebbiano di Lugana, corvina, rondinella, and oseleta, among other local and international grape varieties. The Tournament is, in fact, dedicated to the winery, and in 2016 their Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato 2013 is the star of the wine side of the show. The wine is the star of the winery, as well. Made from 100% trebbiano di Lugana, the Lugana DOC Riserva Sergio Zenato comes from the oldest vineyards of the winery, and it is only produced in years that allow the wine longevity, helped by aging in wood. Each bottle is signed by Sergio Zenato. Light-gold in color, the Lugana Riserva has floral aromas tinged with citrus and exotic fruit and displays good depth, balance, and persistence on the palate. A thoroughly refreshing and nuanced wine, it perfectly accompanies the wide expanses of green, views of the lake sparkling under the sun, and the relaxed but professional atmosphere of this tournament. Other activities in the area Lake Garda offers countless activities to do and beautiful towns to explore. We’ll narrow down the potentially endless bullet-points of your to-do list and highlight activities located near Golf Club Paradiso and Zenato Winery. Taste wine This should be a no-brainer, but make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to visit a winery while you’re here! Zenato Winery does great guided tours through their cellars alongside a tasting of their wines. And, after the tournament, a buffet and wine tasting will be prepared for competitors. Bike along the river The bike trail that runs along River Mincio is a flat, almost exclusively paved road. Start from the center of Peschiera del Garda at Porta Brescia and travel as far as 45 kilometers to Mantova, where the Mincio waters feed into Lake Superiore and Lake Inferiore. Pass through countless charming towns and beautiful naturalistic areas during your ride. Pass by Borghetto along the Mincio. © Giorgio Rodano Travel the Wine Road The Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori del Garda winds through the hills and lakesides on the Lombardy side of the lake. Follow the signs along the roads from Limone to Sirmione for breathtaking views and beautiful stop-overs in all the charming towns. And certainly don’t forget to abundantly sample the wine and gastronomy of the area along the way! Ride your bike or take your car.