In my article entitled Why Is Italian Wine Intimidating?, I highlighted two of the complexities associated with Italian wine: wine naming conventions and the vast number of wine regions, wine producers and wine varieties. In this article, I will do my best to decode the Italian wine classification system.
The Italian wine classification system, called “New Discipline of Original Location Certification”, is a lot like the system in France (see my blog series on French wine laws). The Italian system was created in 1963 and updated a few times since then to protect wine quality and region standards.
The system features four designations. I will start with the top designation and work my way down. Note that a wine that falls into the “worst” designation isn’t necessarily a bad wine. It might just not abide by the Italian wine laws.
1) DOCG (Vino a denominazione di origine controllata e garantita) – This designation denotes the highest quality recognition for Italian wines. Wines grown in DOCG regions have a very strict set of laws, including grape varieties, maximum yield of grapes per hectare, vineyard and winemaking practices and more. This designation also requires a blind quality taste test (my next job)! In Italy, there are just over 30 DOCGs, most of them in the Piedmont and Tuscany regions.
2) DOC (Vino a denominazione di origine controllata) – This designation has slightly fewer laws than DOCG. There are over 300 DOCs in Italy.
3) IGT (Vino da tavola con indicazione geografica tipica) – This designation is for “table wines” that meet geographic and grape varietals requirements. The IGT standards are less rigid than for DOC and DOCG wines. There are close to 125 IGT areas in Italy.
4) VDT (Vino da tavola) – This is the least strict designation. It’s given to table wines that don’t have a specific geographic origin or that don’t follow current Italian wine law.
Our Italian road trip will continue next week. I hope you will join in on the fun. Once again, if you know a lot or a little about Italian wine, please contribute to our learning by sharing some information with us here.