The many hours of sunshine and the good soil quality on Lake Maggiore are ideal for growing grapes. The wine route leads through beautiful landscapes from wine cellar to wine cellar amidst the vines.
We set off from Tenero, at the Matasci winery, producer of red, rosé and white wine using Merlot grapes. Today this family-owned company offers a variegated and refined range of services open to the public: beside the spacious point of sale the structure hosts the wine cellar “Le Caveau”, the Matasci art gallery, the wine museum, and the Villa Jelmini Events, an ideal venue for conferences, seminaries and culinary evenings.
We then head a little further north, towards the hills and find the Grotto Scalinata, which offers many traditional dishes. After that the road heads up through the vineyards for about half an hour, where the Fraccia oratory is located, and then reaches Contra.
We then continue for about three kilometres towards Brione (possible deviation to the Daniele Poroli and Stefano Haldemann vineyards). After that, proceeding along a beautiful panoramic road we reach the stunning Madonna del Sasso sanctuary. At the crossroads we follow the signposted road down to Locarno, from where we continue following the directions to the Centovalli. After walking along the Maggia river for a good hour we end up in Ponte Brolla. Here, protected by the shade of age-old trees, there used to be many typical Ticino Grottos (traditional Inn). We can still find some of them near the crossroad between Vallemaggia and Centovalli (as for example the Grotto America). We then keep going and discover some pretty and characteristic corners while passing through the villages of Tegna, Verscio and Cavigliano. In Verscio the vineyards of Giovanni Caverzasio are located, where he produces the excellent Rompidèe, one of the first Merlot of Ticino produced in Bordeaux barrique style. Also, of exceptional interest is the Cavigliano winepress, one of the oldest ones in Ticino! Intragna welcomes visitors with the tall St. Gottardo bell tower and the museum. In this village, we can also find the restaurant Stazione, where the Chef Adriana enchants her guests with an innovative cuisine combined with good wines. We head back towards Locarno by following along the opposite river bank and passing through Golino with its pretty village centre. Just a little bit further on, after passing the Melezza campsite we head towards the Zandone area, where Delea, producer of Merlot Carato (winner of several prizes) and of the Charme sparkling wine, is located.
Then we walk on to Ascona, which will take just a little more than an hour and where we can visit the company Chiodi of Giada and Andrea Arnaboldi as well as the company Terreni alla Maggia, which produces wine and grows fruit, vegetables and, unique in Switzerland, rice.
Our journey comes to an end in the charming old town of Ascona, where we can enjoy a stroll through the narrow streets and find museums, churches and houses with a lot of history. Here you can also find a few wineries as for example the Bottega del vino and the Cambüsa.
Due to its length, it is recommended to do the tour in two to three stages or by bicycle.