Italian Wine Appellation System and Wine Classification


Italy is the world’s largest wine producer by volume. Its contribution is about 45–50 million hl per year, and represents about 1/3 of global production.
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown. Restrictions other than geographical boundaries, such as what grapes may be grown, maximum grape yields, alcohol level, and other quality factors may also apply before an appellation name may legally appear on a wine bottle label.

In Italy there are four classifications: The first two Italian categories fall into the EU "Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Area" (QWPSR) standard. These wines are labeled DOCG and DOC.These are the best Italian wines.
The second two are; Indicazione Geografica Tipica IGT and Vino da Tavola.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita DOCG
The DOCG category is reserved for the highest quality wines from Italy. In addition to the conditions required for DOC, the wines must be "guaranteed" by passing a blind tasting test, and since 1992 there have been additional limitations on permitted yields and natural alcohol levels, to ensure that the wines that meet the criteria for this prestigious category are undoubtedly the best that Italy has to offer.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata- DOC
DOC was introduced in 1963 with the aim of encouraging wine producers to focus on quality and to protect the international reputation of Italian wine by ensuring that wine exported met the quality standard required. DOC wines must be produced according to strict guidelines, ensuring that the wine is made from permitted grape varieties and meets the legal requirements to be designated as a wine from the region it represents.

Indicazione Geografica Tipica IGT
A third category, the IGT classification, was introduced in 1992, in order to acknowledge the wines that did not fit into the DOC category but were of superior quality to Italy’s table wines. In particular, the new breed of "Super Tuscan" wines, that were made from non-Italian grapes, and therefore could not be considered for DOC according to Tuscany’s wine legislation, required recognition. This has also provided an opportunity for winemakers to experiment with grape varieties that are perhaps not native to their region, and some truly interesting wines have emerged under the IGT classification.

Vino da Tavola
Finally, Vino da Tavola indicates table wine, the most basic wine available. This is genuinely mass-produced wine that is intended for local consumption and is generally not suitable for aging. There are no specifications as to what grapes may be used, the only stipulation being that wine labelled Vino da Tavola must have been produced in Italy.

Each Italian region has many appellations within, which in turn are ranked according to the classification. The appellation can be an indication of a wine from a very specific area, as in "Chianti Classico", or it can name just the region, as in "Sicily IGT". Within the classification system there is movement – wines that hold IGT status can be recognized as quality wines and promoted to DOC. While this might mean that producers will have to be vigilant to ensure their wine adheres to the relevant legislation, it will also improve the profile of the wine in the global market and ensure it is accessible to Italian wine enthusiasts worldwide.

Italian Grape Varietals by Region  
RegionRed Varietal White Varietal
AbruzzoMontepulciano,  Cococciola
ApuliaAleatico, Bombino nero, Montepulciano, Negroamaro, Pampanuto, Susumaniello Bianco d'Alessano, Bombino bianco, Greco bianco
AostaCornalin, Fumin, Petit Rouge, Vuillermin, Prié  
BasilicataAglianico, Aglianicone, Bombino nero  
CalabriaAddoraca, Gaglioppo, Greco nero, Greco nero di Sibari, Greco nero di Verbicaro, Magliocco Canino, Magliocco Dolce, Montonico bianco Malvasia bianca di Basilicata, Malvasia bianca di Candia, 
CampaniaAglianico, Aglianicone, Arilla, Barbera del Sannio, Coda di Pecora, Pallagrello nero, Sciascinoso Biancolella, Caprettone, Coda di Volpe bianca, Falanghina, Fiano, Forastera, Rovello bianco, Pallagrello bianco, Rovello bianco, Sciascinoso, 
Emilia RomagnaAncellotta, Colombana nera, Croatina, Fortana, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Montù, Ortrugo, Sangiovese, Termarina rossa, Uva Tosca, Verdeca Albana, Alionza, Besgano bianco, 
Friuli Venezia GiuliaRefosco dal Peduncolo rosso, Pignolo,Schioppettino, Tazzelenghe, Verduzzo Friulano, Vitovska Picolit, Ribolla Gialla
LazioBellone, Canaiolo nero, San Giuiseppe nero, Sangiovese,  Pecorino
LiguriaBarbarossa, Pollera nera, Albarola, Bosco
LombardyCroatina, Nebbiolo, Rossola nera, Rossolino nero, Uva Rara Brustiano bianco, Italia, Verdea
MarcheCanaiolo nero, Lacrima, Sangiovese Albanella, Biancame, Passerina, Pecorino, Verdicchio bianco
MoliseMontepulciano, Tintilia del Molise  
PiedmontAvanà, Avarengo, Barbarossa, Barbera, Brachetto, Bubbierasco, Dolcetto, Erbaluce, Grignolino, Freisa,Grisa nera, Nebbiolo, Pelaverga, Plassa, Timorasso, Uva Rara, Vespolina Baratuciat,Barbera bianca, Bonarda Piemontese, Cascarolo bianco, Cortese, Luglienga, Muscat blanc à Petits Grains
SardegnaAlbaranzeuli nero, Barbera Sarda, Bombino nero, Canaiolo nero, Girò, Monica nera,  Bariadorgia, Brustiano bianco, Nasco, Retagliado bianco, Torbato, Vermentino
SicilyCatanese nero, Frappato, Nero d'Avola, Perricone Albanello, Catarratto bianco, Grillo, Inzolia, Minella bianca, 
Trentino Alto AdigeMarzemino, Nosiola, Teroldego  Bianchetta Trevigiana, Blatterle, Versoaln
TuscanyAbrusco, Barsaglina, Bonamico, Bracciola nera, Canaiolo nero, Ciliegiolo, Colombana nera, Colorino, Mammolo, Sangiovese, Vermentino nero Biancone di Portoferraio, Drupeggio, Pecorino, 
UmbriaMontepulciano, Sagrantino Drupeggio, Grechetto, Pecorino, Verdello
VenetoCorvina Veronese, Incrocio Manzoni 2.15, Manzoni Moscato, Manzoni rosa, Molinara, Negrara Veronese, Raboso Piave, Rondinella, Rossignola Bianchetta Trevigiana, Bigolona, Durella, Friulano, Garganega, Glera, Manzoni bianco, Marzemina bianca, Verduzzo Trevigiano, Vespaiola