Cristiano Bacchini, Lawyer – Bacchini Mazzitelli Studio Legale Associato, Milan

The regulation of the premium wine characterized by a territorial connotation has been introduced by the DPR 930 of July 12, 1963 following a long-felt need of clear rules in the field of wine, even if the first attempts date back to thirty years ago when the law 1164 of 1930 – which never came into force due to the lack of implementing regulations – had been promulgated

The law currently in force is the Legislative Decree no. 61/2010, according to which the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) and DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) become the traditional specific terms used in Italy for wine products PDO.

That being stated, the recognition of the denomination of controlled origin (DOC) is reserved to wines coming from areas already known with a different denomination (Indicazione Geografica Tipica or IGT) since five years that represent at least thirty percent of production of the relevant areas.

DOCG concern wine of particular reputation for quality that may use the acronym DOC since at least ten years and whose vineyards represent at least fifty percent of the area dedicated to the denomination at issue

Usually the denomination DOCG shall comply with a more restricted specification than that of DOC while the denomination DOC shall comply with a more restricted specification than that of IGT. In case of change of an entire denomination from DOC to DOCG the relevant areas are recognized as DOCG without taking into consideration the date of recognition.

The areas under the protected denomination may include, in addition to the territory indicated in the denomination itself, closed territories provided that in these territories there are similar conditions, same grape varieties and are in use the same cultivation technics. Moreover the wines coming from those areas shall have the same chemical and organoleptic characteristics.

The sole Denominations of Origin shall provide the indication of sub-zones, that shall have particular environmental characteristics and shall be designated with a specific geographical name. In addition said sub-zones are submitted to more restricted specifications.

The specification of PDO wines and therefore DOC and DOCG shall include: a) the denomination of origin or geographical indication b) the definition of the production area c) a description of the chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the wine and in particular the minimum alcoholic strength d) the maximum yield of grapes and wine per hectare, based on the quantity and quality results in the last five years. In addition DOC and DOCG wines shall indicate in the label the date of the grape production. Finally we report here below some cases concerning the Denomination of Origin. In particular, the first registered DOC   was Vernaccia di San Gimignano obtained in 1966, while the first DOCG were Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, obtained respectively on 15.11.1980, 22.1.1981 and 17.2.1981.

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