Italian Wine accounts for nearly a third of all wine produced worldwide, from almost a million vineyards, situated in nearly every region of Italy, allowing for a broad variety to be available.
Some of the oldest wine producing regions are in Italy, with dating showing that wine was cultivated here as far back as 800BC, although wine was produced prior, it is only when the greeks came along that true wine was produced.
There are many Italian Wine varieties and many of the grapes are only found in specific regions within Italy itself.
The appelation system in Italy was introduced as recently as 1963 and after a few modifications we now have the following wine classifications -
Vini - can be produced anywhere in the EU and only colour of wine need be indicated
Varietali - normally produced from other varietals found outside Italy (Cabernet, Chardonnay etc) and produced anywhere in the EU
IGP - Indicazione geografica tipica - (Protected Geographical Indication) These wines must follow certain EU rules such as area, grape variety, vinification process etc and are labelled as such
DOP - Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) These wines are protected by law to certain areas and grape varieties. This category is split into three main subcategories of:
DO - Denominazione di Origine - designation of origin
DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata - is a wine from a well defined area, such as a commune, a farm or a single vineyard
DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita - this is as above, but after a time as a DOC a wine may go under further scrutiny, including a tasting by an appointed committee and show that it is of superior quality and success.