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Blog: Italy's Appellations | Expertise

Various designations, catchy abbreviations and corresponding banderoles declare Italian wines; they are intended to serve as an orientation aid for the consumer. However, these well-intentioned signposts are primarily collective brands, coupled with production regulations. In addition, the Italian appellations are sometimes rather obstructive because they create even more confusion. Here is our little language course in Italian wine qualities.

DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
This is the controlled and guaranteed designation of origin in Italy for wines that should meet the highest quality standards. These wines receive the state guarantee seal, the banderole on the neck of the bottle. DOCG Wines must be bottled in the production area, so they may not be transported in tanks and bottled in foreign regions. The regulations for DOCG wines are also much stricter than those for DOC wines (see there).

DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata
This Italian designation of origin is similar to the abbreviations used in other EU countries (e.g. Qba, AOC, DAC). The criterion includes, among other things, an upper limit of harvest weight per unit area, that is, double cents of grapes per hectare. The DOC was introduced in 1963 with the aim of achieving a sustainable improvement in the quality of the wines produced and also balsamic grapes. The regulation includes, in addition to the maximum yield allowed, among other things, the permitted areas of cultivation, as well as the permitted grape varieties. The DOC area is very wide, underlining the impression of a state regulation rather than a spirited attempt at quality improvement: thus DOC wines with a production volume of less than 10 HL (Capri Rosso DOC) coexist with those with gigantic production volumes, such as Chianti DOC - with a total volume of over 1.2 million HL annually.

New: DOP - Denominazione di Origine Protetta
The new DOP designation is expected to replace the old DOC in a few years. However, winemakers are still allowed to use the old designation. The new PDO now stands for agricultural products in general, where DOC is reserved only for wine.

IGT - Indicazione Geografica Tipica
IGT is a relatively new level of so-called country wine, intended as an Italian version of the successful French 'vin de pays'. The wines can have a geographical designation on the label, combined with a grape variety. In some cases, even very high quality wines are classified and sold as IGT because they contain grape varieties that are not typical of the region according to DOC regulations.

New: IGP - Indicazione Geografica Protetta
The new IGP designation is to replace the old IGT in a few years. However, winemakers are still allowed to use the old designation. The new IGP now stands for agricultural products in general, where IGT is reserved only for wine.

VDT - Vino da Tavola
Table wines denote the lowest quality category of wine, which is not subject to any special quality control. In Italy, table wines have been called 'vino da tavola' since 1973. In this category you can find wines that do not comply with the DOC, DOCG and IGT rules, but are still convincing in terms of quality. This happens sometimes also because winemakers do not want to be hindered in their creative freedom by the DOC bodies. And/or also because the quality regulations of the collective brands are not consistent enough for them. - Gerardo [TS10/21]

Italiens Appellationen Fachwissen

NameItaly's Appellations