how to read an Italian Wine label


Dolcetto Lable

Wine classifications are also indicated on wine labels. The Italians have strict controls on their wines with regulations to ensure origin, inherent quality, and authenticity. The four classifications of Italian wine are:

Vino da Tavola (vee’ noh da tav’ oh lah) — table wine. These wines do not specify the grape variety, vintage or place of origin on their label. They are the wines that do not fit into any other category. They do not conform to DOC regulations on grape types or vinification techniques.

DOC — Denominazione di Origine Controllata (dae no mee naht zee oh’ nae dee oh ree’ gee nae con trol lah’ tah), literally controlled denomination of area.  Signifies an area in which the wine must be produced and also places some controls on grape varieties, color, aroma, flavor, alcohol content, acidity and/or period of aging.

DOCG — Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita  DOCG (typically pronounced as doc gee) literally translates as controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin/area. This is the premier classification, the top dog. In addition to the DOC standards, DOCG wines generally have lower yield requirements, longer ageing requirements, must pass a taste test by a tasting panel as well as undergo an in-depth chemical analyses before bottling.

IGT — Indicazione Geografica Tipica (in dae caht zee oh’ nae gee oh’ graf’ e cah tee’ pee ca), literally typical geographic indicator. This simply means that the wines are produced in a specific area and that they use approved grape varieties, but IGT certification is not as strict as DOC with regard to color, flavor, vineyard yield and other requirements.


Richard Marcis
Updated: January 2, 2018



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