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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italian Wine Laws Change

For all of us who have battled for years the alphabet soup of Italian wine laws  (DOC, DOCG, IGT, VDT), get ready to have your world rocked as they are changing.  Originally formulated in 1963, the laws are being standardized to match the other member countries of the European Union (EU).

The purpose of the laws, both original and new, is to protect the reputation of regional wines and prevent knock-off products (e.g. Algerian wines bottled as a pricey Barolo).  The laws protect not only the names and origin of wines, but other food products such as cheeses (Parmiggiano-Reggiano), hams (Prosciutto di Parma), balsamic vineagar (Balsamico di Modena).

Here’s a recap of how the Italian laws will change:

  • There will be no more D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. wines
  • D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. will now be called D.O.P. (“P” for “Protected” origin)
  • There will be no more IGT wines
  • I.G.T. wines will now be called I.G.P. (like above, “P” for “Protected” origin)
Just like when Italy’s currency changed from the Lire to the Euro, there will be a period when both the old and the new systems will be used.  This is good news for consumers who can gradually ease into the transition of the new system (note:  it is unknown at what point this dual system will end).

While standardization among EU countries will make it easier in many ways, it’s still hard to teach an old DOCG new tricks.   In some ways, one could argue that the new DOP is for DOPEs.

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