Italian Wine Classification System

If you want to know Italian wines, you must know something about the Italian wine classification system. This system, created by the Italian government, sets the rules for Italian wine makers.

Many would say it complicates an already complicated subject, i.e. Italian wine. However, once you know the basics, it gives you one major factor to use in picking an appropriate wine for the occasion, whatever it may be. In fact, this may be the easiest part of your Italian wine education. The most intimidating thing about the system is the pronunciation of the designations. We will work on that, but the initials will do just fine.

As always, Bambino is the first level, with the basics of the system. The Ragazzo level introduces the DOCGs of Italy, the highest level wine-producing areas. Skip to Ragazzo for the DOCG list.


In keeping with our "simplistic" approach, we placed the basics of the system in a table. For now, this is all you really need to know about the system. You save your energy for learning about the areas and wines that have achieved certain designations, like the DOCGs and DOCs in the Ragazzo level.

Italian Wine Classification System Summary

Highest Quality  Lowest Quality
Classification  Classification
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e GarantitaDenominazione di Origine Controllata Indicazione Geografica TipicaVino da Tavola
Certification of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin Certification of Controlled OriginTypical Geographic IndicationTable Wine
About 41 DOCGsAbout 350 DOCsAbout 130 IGTs 
DOCG sets rulesDOC sets rules  
Has a pink (red) or green (white) seal around neck of bottle with DOCGHas a seal around neck of bottle identifying as DOCSeal around neck of bottle identifying as IGT VDT on Label
DOCG spelled out on main labelDOC spelled out on main labelIGT spelled out on LabelVDT spelled out on Label
Tasted and analyzed by a Gov't CommitteeNot as strict as DOCG.  
Controls on soil,area of production, grapes, yield, techniques,aging, alcohol contentControls on soil,area of production, grapes, yield, techniques,aging, alcohol contentSome controls on area and grapes. Much room for experimentation.No Serious controls
Usually the best wines, but no guarantee Some of the best wines emerge as IGTsSome great bargains. Where many Super Tuscans started.


This section includes a table of the current DOCG wines by Region.

Included are all of the wine-producing areas which have achieved the distinguished DOCG designation, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. The table is ordered by first, the wine-producing areas of our top three wine regions, Piemonte, Toscano, and Veneto, and then alphabetical.

We will add later some of those which are designated as DOCs, Denominazione di Origine Controllata and IGTs, Indicazione Geografica Tipica.

Italy's DOCG Wines

Region (number DOCGs)DOCG Wine Producing AreaDOCG Sub AreaType of Wine
Piedmont (12)Asti Spumanti Bianco, Spumante
 Barbera di Asti Rosso
 Barbera del Monferrato Superiore Rosso
 Barbaresco Rosso
 Barolo Rosso
 Brachetto d Acqui Rosso
 Gattinara Rosso
 Gavi or Cortese di Gavi Bianco
 Ghemme Rosso
 Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore  Rosso
 Roero Bianco
 Dolcetta di Ovada Rosso
Tuscany (7 )Brunello di Montalcino Rosso
 Carmignano Rosso Rosso
 ChiantiChianti SuperioreRosso
  Colli AretiniRosso
  Colli SenesiRosso
  Colli Fiorentini Rosso
  Colline Pisane Rosso
  Montespertoli Rosso
 Chianti Classico Rosso
 Morellino di Scansano Rosso
 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Bianco
 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Rosso
Veneto (4)Bardolino Superiore Rosso
 Recioto di Gambellara Rosso
 Recioto di Soave Bianco
 Soave Superiore Bianco
Abruzzo (1)Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane Rosso
Campania (3)Fiano di Avellino Bianco
 Greco di Tufo Bianco
Emilia-Romagna (1)Albana di Romagna Bianco
Friuli-Venezia Giulia (2)Ramandolo Bianco
 Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit  Passito
Lazio (1)Cesanese del Piglio  Rosso
Lombardia (4)Franciacorta Spumante
 Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Rose
 Svorzato di Valtellina Rosso
 Valtellino Superiore Rosso
Marche (2)Conero Rosso
 Vernaccia di Serrapetrona Rosso Dolce, Secco
Sardinia (1)Vermentino di Gallura  Bianco
Sicilia (1)Cerasuolo di Vittoria  Rosso
Umbria (2)Montefalco Sagrantino Rosso
 Torgiano Riserva Rosso

More to come!

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