Italy and Wine – two terms, which are deeply connected with each other. With a cultivation area of 840.000 hectare Italy is regarded as the biggest wine producer world wide. Its viticulture is older than 3000 years. The Greeks brought the first vines to Sicily and Calabria, where they started to spread north. Since the 7th century BC the Etruscans grew vine in Tuscany. The Romans influenced the progress in viticulture in Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Portugal profoundly. Under the influence of the Roman culture consuming wine became part of daily life and was accessible to all social strata. That is why the demand could not be covered merely by Italy and the vine-growing spread through the Roman Empire.
When the Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD a large part of the vineyards was destroyed, wine became scarce and the consume plunged. Only in the 13th century the cultivation of vine experienced a new flourishing.
The uniqueness of the Italian landscape with the Alps, the north Italian lakes, the rivers, the plains, the Appennines, the condition of the soils, hot summers or summers, depending on the zone cooler rainy, are the reason for such a high diversity of vines. About 1000 varieties of grapes are registered and 400 of these have DOC status.
Four levels of wine quality can be distinguished:
DOCG: Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita
The highest level of the Italian wine law. It has stricter requirements and restrictions in quantity than the DOC.
DOC: Denominazione di origine controllata
Covers requirements regarding the boundaries of the vineyards, the registered varieties of vine, the kind of ageing of the wines and the date of release.
IGT: Indicazione geografica tipica
category of regional wines, which corresponds with the local wine. The requirements on the maximum yield per hectare and minimum alcoholic strength are below DOC-level. Variety of vine, method of vine cultivation and region are allowed to be presented on the label.
VdT: Vino da tavola
Table wine with low quality requirements. Only alcoholic strength, colour and country of origin are allowed to be presented on the label, but not the vintage.