ITALY AND WINE

Talking about Italy and its wines means, first of all, embarking on a long journey rich in history, culture, ancient traditions and a vastness of types of grapes and wines like no other country in the world. In Italy the vine is grown everywhere: from the Alps to Sicily, passing trough the gentle hills with wonderful views, in every region there are indigenous vines often forgotten or underestimated.

WINE AND ITS HISTORY

The view of this vast expanse of vineyards inevitably recalls the name with which the ancient Greeks called Italy, “Enotria Tellus”, that is “the land of vines supported by poles”, a sign that vine and wine were already present in Italy since the time of Greek colonization.
It is believed that the vine was introduced in Italy by the Etruscans, however some historical evidence would suggest that the vine in Italy was already present before the appearance of this people.

What is certain is that it was the Etruscans who established the first forms of vine cultivation and wine production in Italy and immediately recognized its importance and potential. Although they were not large consumers, they were aware of the enormous commercial potential and even sold it to Burgundy. However they have not introduced the cultivation of the vine in other countries, probably not to reveal the “secret” of their commercial success.
The spread of viticulture outside Italy was instead the work of the Romans who introduced the vine and the habit to the consumption of wine wherever they went and in every place conquered.
Also the Greeks contributed greatly to the diffusion of vine and wine in Italy, introducing new vinification and cultivation techniques and different species of vine, many of which are still widely diffused and from which excellent wine is produced. 

WHY IS WINE SO IMPORTANT?

To see the enormous variety and quantity of grapes present in the territory – more than 300 different species – it seems that Mother Nature has been particularly generous and has chosen Italy has the “country of wine and grape”.
The rediscovery and enhancement of native vines should be an aspect to be valued: it is an explicit invitation to producers to reconsider and enhance the enormous ampelographic wealth of their lands.

QUALITY CERTIFICATION FOR ITALY NATIONALLY PRODUCED WINES

The first attempts made in Italy to regulate quality production and to protect wine-growing areas were made at the beginning of the 20th century. The first real system which established legal rules to guarantee the quality of wines and areas of origin was introduced in Italy only in 1963, when it had to be adapted to the EEC (European Economic Community) directives on the production of quality wines and designations of origin.

The current Italian quality system is regulated by law 192 of 1992 which replaces the previous law of 1963. The law, in addition to protecting the production areas, also establishes criteria and minimum requirements for the inclusion of a wine in a given denomination.
The system mainly defines the geographical area of the denomination, the grapes and percentages with which the wine must be produced, the maximum harvest yields per hectare, the minimum alcohol content, the types of wine covered by the denomination, the minimum aging time before the wine can be placed on the market, the chemical-physical characteristics of the wine and its organoleptic qualities.

The system is divided into denomination categories that establish different quality classes ideally placed in a “quality pyramid” where at the top we find the highest level.
The categories, from the lowest to the highest quality level, are defined as follows:

Table wine
IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)
DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)
DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)

IGT/IGP

The IGT category (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) defines rather vast production areas, in most cases an entire region, and allows the production of wine with authorized and recommended grapes in the area that often provides a wide choice, leaving the producer greater freedom of production.
This category, although representing the first level of quality legally recognized, actually includes a considerable quantity of high quality wines and does not lack pleasant surprises.
This category should be carefully considered by consumers because, recently, producers of quality wines tend to use it for the classification of their products.
The IGP category (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) is equivalent to the category just described.

DOC/DOP

The DOC category (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) defines an area, usually smaller than an IGT, with production criteria more rigid than the previous category. It is a recognized label for wines originating in a small and medium-sized geographical area, limited and circumscribed. The wines are made with grapes from vines recommended and authorized in the region and produced according to a precise specification that establishes the number of strains, the yield and the minimum sugar content. The wines obtained must comply with it for what are the chemical-physical and organoleptic characteristics. Any classic, confidential and superior particulars to be indicated on the labelling must be accepted by the specification. The period between certification and bottling may not exceed two years. The DOP category (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) is equivalent to the category just described.

DOCG

In the last quality category, at the highest level of the system, the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) defines very limited production areas with production and evaluation criteria more stringent than all the others.
Bottles of wine belonging to this category must be marked in order to guarantee the content of the bottle and, to prevent any counterfeiting, numbered with special seals and issued by the Italian State (also indicating the name). They can be bottled only in the production area. The disciplinary provides for low yields in grapes and higher alcohol levels. In addition, they must undergo a minimum period of aging in tank or bottle. The period between certification and bottling shall not exceed six months.

OTHER CLASSIFICATION

Some denomination specifications also establish additional types attributed to wines having particular production characteristics and which are indicated on the label with the following terms: 

• Classico – indicates a wine produced in the area historically typical and more suited to the denomination to which it belongs

• Superiore – indicates a wine having an alcoholic strength higher than the minimum requirements of the denomination, such as PICENO SUPERIORE

• Riserva – indicates a wine that has undergone a longer aging period than the minimum requirements of the denomination

PRODUCTION AREAS

Italy, thanks to the strong vocation of its territory to viticulture, is rich in both grapes and wine. Its ampelographic heritage is vast and rich like no other country in the world, with more than 300 species of Native grapes . The diversity of the territory, mainly hilly, contributes and greatly favors the cultivation of the vine and therefore the production of wine. 

Unlike other countries, where the cultivation of vines and the production of wine are limited to a few areas compared to the surface of the country, in every region of Italy the production of wine represents a consolidated reality and an important aspect of local economies. Each Italian region produces wine and each region boasts its own local wines that are not found in the others. Every region therefore has its wines and, above all, its typical grapes.

Besides the autochthonous grapes of which Italy is rich, are also cultivated many species of French origin, often defined as “international”, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon with which are produced excellent wines.

CERTIFICATION: ISO 9001/2015

Certifying body: Biolab

ISO 9001:2015 Certification for “Design and provision of scientific, professional and technical services such as: consulting, checks and verifications, studies and laboratory tests to verify the safety and quality of products and processes”.
biolab

CERTIFICATION: VEGAN

Certifying body: VeganOk

It’s the most common ethical standard in the world. Much more than a certification, it is the first and only ethical guarantee mark for Vegan products born in Italy that meets a strict disciplinary. It is present at the most important and authoritative fairs in the natural sector and guarantees the consumer the absence of animal parts in all kinds of products.

CERTIFICATION: ORGANIC

Certifying body: Suolo e Salute

It ensures the conformity of organic productions in all phases of the production chain, from the field to the table, in accordance with the EU rules (Reg. CE 834/07 e CE 889/08). Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) is the mandatory certification to export and market organic products in Japan. Organic products certified in accordance with Reg CE 834/2007 can be marketed in the USA thanks to the equivalence agreement, negotiated between Europe and the United States of America.

PRIZES AND AWARDS

Mundus vini

It is one of the most important wine competition in the world. More than 11.000 wines are presented each year and show the importance of this competition in Germany and around the world. The aim of the competition is to promote the quality and the marketing of the participating wines. The award wants to provide producers, winegrowers, importers and consumers with an ideal platform allowing to compare the participating wines, to offer a valid instrument for decision-making and guidance to purchase and to reach the general public. 

PRIZES AND AWARDS

Merano Wine Festival

Merano Wine Festival is the first event organized in Europe that has been focusing on the quality selected in an elegant and elitist environment since 1992. Its is a meeting of food and wine excellence, a real “think tank”, a forum for the exchange of opinions between producers, opinion leaders, industry professionals and consumers. The worldwide visibility and notoriety of the Merano Wine Festival is a confirmation of quality.

PRIZES AND AWARDS

I Vini di Veronelli

Wines that obtained the highest rating in hundredths in the respective typology.