Italian Wine - Italian Appellation System

Italian Appellation System

Italy's classification system has four classes of wine, with two falling under the EU category Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region (QWPSR) and two falling under the category of 'table wine'. The four classes are:

Table Wine:

  • Vino da Tavola (VDT) - Denotes simply that the wine is made in Italy. The label usually indicates a basic wine, made for local consumption.
  • Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) - Denotes wine from a more specific region within Italy. This appellation was created in 1992 for wines that were considered to be of higher quality than simple table wines, but which did not conform to the strict wine laws for their region. Before the IGT was created, "Super Tuscan" wines such as Tignanello were labeled Vino da Tavola.

QWPSR:

  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)

Both DOC and DOCG wines refer to zones which are more specific than an IGT, and the permitted grapes are also more specifically defined. The DOC system began in 1963, seeking to establish a method of both recognizing quality product and maintaining the international and national reputation of that product. The main difference between a DOC and a DOCG is that the latter must pass a blind taste test for quality in addition to conforming to the strict legal requirements to be designated as a wine from the area in question. After the sweeping wine laws of 1992, transparent rules were made regarding requirements for DOCG entry, imposing new limits regarding the production of grapes per hectare and minimum natural alcohol levels, among others.

The overall goal of the system is to encourage producers to focus on quality wine making.

Presently, there are 120 IGT zones. In February 2006, there were 311 DOC plus 32 DOCG appellations, according to the PDF document V.Q.P.R.D. Vini (DOCG – DOC): Elenco e Riferimenti Normativi al 07.02.2006, published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

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