The agricultural firm Corte Gardoni stretches on around 54 hectares of land, of which 25 of vineyard and 20 of orchard; the rest has divided between olive grow, wood and sowable land. The vineyards are situated on the south-oriental morainic hills of the Garda: very poor land, gravelly, slime-clayey and sandy-clayey rich of skeleton (pH 7.40), microclimate strongly influenced from the proximity of the lake but with a greater termical excursion because the temperature is very lower, at night, than in proximity of the water. That favors the formation of the precursors of aromas in the grapes, while the constant ventilation of the hills allows to have healthy clusters to each vintage also when the climatic course would favour the formation of rottenness.
From the beginning, much care was dedicated to the renovation of the vineyards: the new vineyards of corvina and rondinella, between the old variety with black berry, and of the trebianello between those with white berry, were effected using the scions obtained from preexistent grapevines. The same was done for the trebbiano toscano.In the more recent vineyards, the density of the grapevines was thickened: the purpose is to have all the vineyards with 5.000 / 5.500 stocks for hectare. The grapevines of corvina are cultivated to "guyot", the other variety to "cordone speronato".
They want to limit the impact on the environment with the help of the integrated defense against the parasitic attacks. Electronic apparatuses, that control all the meteorological variable, allow to intervene against peronospora, oidio and botrytis only when it is tightly necessary, identifying the moment in which the climatic conditions allow the development of these infections in the vineyards. And the search of the quality is translated in a wanted very low productivity: around 80 quintals for hectare for the grapes to black berry, 10-20 quintals more for those to white berry.
The wine cellar of vinification, built in the 1980, is continually adjourned in the equipments, and it is articulated in an unusual way, as it can count on the cooperation of other installed fittings in firm: refrigerator cells, destines to the maintenance of the fruit, for example, are utilized to practise the "criomacerazione" of the grapes.
With the new generation of the family Piccoli, Corte Gardoni guaranteed not only a future in the continuity, but it consolidated the own structure of family firm, acquiring technical-scientific competences that are today essential for the production of wines of high quality. Mattia, the oldest Gianni's child, is an enotecnico and he is by now responsible in first person of all the operations of wine cellar. He is helped by Andrea and Stefano, both agrarian experts.
The firm agricultural Corte Gardoni has an own wine cellar of vinification only from the 1980, however this means only that like manufacturing of wine with a his label is young. But really the Piccoli family, that possesses it, has an experience of at least four centuries in the viticulture and vinification. Is Documented, in fact, that until from the 1600 the progenitors of the actual holder had vineyards to Cellore, in val d'Illasi.
Gianni Piccoli, that has created Corte Gardoni, belongs however to a branch of the family that has left Cellore to the beginning of this century. Three generations do, the vineyards were devastated from the fillossera. And to that point the small ownership was not able to support all. So, one of the five males moved in an other place of the Veronese.
The zone however it was not qualified to the viticulture, and in fact his child Aldo, to develop the firm aimed on the fruit growing. But he always preserve in heart the nostalgia for the hills, where the vineyards, specially those of corvina, give wines of authentic big quality. He was quite therefore to encourage his child Gianni, in the 1971, to acquire an agricultural firm to Valeggio. It was a tempting occasion also because, together with a cultivation of peaches, the land had also a beautiful vineyard. A hill vineyard.
The possibility offered from Valeggio of return to the viticulture was lived from all the family like a recovery of the origins. And in fact ten years after, in the '81, also Aldo Piccoli leaved the lowland, moving in the new agricultural firm, that his child called Corte Gardoni.
The vineyards offered to him a precious patrimony of autochthonous vine: corvina, garganega, trebbiano, bianca Fernanda, trebbianello, of excellent qualitative level and perfectly acclimatized. There was even an international variety: a small piece of ground was cultivated to chardonnay. However Gianni Piccoli acquired Corte Gardoni to continue his activity of fruit grower and the vineyard was for him a collateral activity. Infact he continued for any year to sell his grapes to the wine firms of the zone. Till then the feeling to be in the hands of firms for transformation that didn't care about quality of the grapes and that paid attention only to buy them to the lawest possible price moved him to become suddenly a wine producer.
The only way to escape from the excessive power of the wine houses was not to confer any more to others the grapes but to make wine himself. It was not easy: he needed to build a wine cellar able to operate just from the following vintage. But he was able to do that: he still remember the first vinification, because while he was busy, for the first time, to the oenological practical, November 4 1980 the snow fell to Valeggio. Under the white one baptism was bearing the two wines with which the label of Corte Gardoni started: the Bardolino and the Bianco di Custoza.