Understanding the Italian wine acronyms

January 19, 2017


DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)

If a wine is labelled DOCG then the grapes are grown and the wine is made in one of Italy’s best wine producing areas. There are strict rules permitting the grapes varieties (and clones) used, the yield per hectare, the percentages in which they can be blended and the length of time for which the wine must be aged before release.


DOCG is now included under the new European wide category DOP, but, because DOCG status is so prestigious, it is unlikely that you will find a DOCG labelled as DOP. It is important to remember that, whilst a wine labelled as DOCG will, more often than not, be top quality, the “Garantita” doesn’t guarantee that the wine will be excellent. It simply guarantees that the wine is from the specific region, made with the right grapes and has followed all the rules.


DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)

The are so many DOC zones in Italy that I doubt if anyone can remember them all. These are wines specific to an area and made with particular grape varieties under particular rules.

A DOC is, in theory, superior to the next category IGT, but many winemakers choose to ignore their local DOC because the rules are inflexible and hardly anyone outside the area has heard of it. DOC wines are also included in the the new DOP category and sometimes you will see “DOP” on the label.


IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)

A much looser category that many wine makers prefer for their wines as they are not constrained by grape variety. You will find the region in which the wine was grown, whether it is red or white, and, if a grape makes up 80% of the total, the wine can be labelled as being of that variety.

Originally introduced as a way of classifying quality wines that fell outside the DOCG and DOC categories, IGT wine is widely produced across Italy and often includes international varieties of grape. You will often find that IGT wines are excellent value for money. IGT is equivalent to the European wide IGP label and you will sometimes see it on bottles.


VdT (Vino da Tavola)

To be labelled VdT, a wine has to come from Italy and be made from grapes.

The grapes may have been grown in one region and the wine made in another.

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