Over the centuries, Angera and the entire Province of Varese have been celebrated by writers and visited by prominent personalities, like the King Umberto I of Italy and Giuseppe Verdi, Amilcare Ponchielli and Arrigo Boito; more recently, Giosuè Carducci and Matilde Serao had been regular guests of the Excelsior Hotel of Varese.
In the early ‘900, wine-growing was still wide spread. Vineyards would cover the hills and produce sugar grapes, good for getting sweet wines, by leaving the berries to dry on racks, like in Tuscany with the Vin Santo. It is no coincidence that today a “botrytized wine”, even compared to the finest French “Sauternes” is being produced.
The Fifties represent the swan song of wine-growing in Angera. The economic boom pushes young people to leave the hard rural life and search for a job in the big companies of the territory. Despite the “rural flight”, in his “I vini d’Italia” (Italian wines – 1961), Luigi Veronelli cites the “Rosso d’Angera” as a ruby red lively wine, tending to maroon-red with aging, with a delicate fruity flavour, a bold and rounded taste. Being defined as a table wine, it should be drunk at room temperature.
In 1994, a new quantity and quality assessment of the remaining vineyards begins. It results that only in the territory of Angera, Ispra and Taino almost 500 acres of vineyards have been converted to woods, bushes and residential settlements.
By enhancing the quality of a vineyard and getting the most out of advertising and promotion, in the 2000s a new successful “era” of wine-growing in Angera was born. These new circumstances led some winemakers to go through the bureaucratic process and get the official Geographical Indication, a distinctive sign which is necessary to start producing and selling wines of the lower Lake Maggiore in the Province of Varese.
On October, 21st 2005, the Protected Geographical Indication “Ronchi Varesini” was officially granted. The term “Ronchi” indicates the typical terraced vineyards of the territory around Varese, known since the Charles Borromeo times.