Denominazione di origine controllata
Denominazione di origine controllata ("Controlled designation of origin") is a quality assurance label for Italian food products, especially wines and various cheeses (Denominazione di Origine Protetta). It is modelled after the French AOC. It was instituted in 1963 and overhauled in 1992 for compliance with the equivalent EU law on Protected Designation of Origin, which came into effect that year.
There are three levels of labels:
- DO — Denominazione di Origine (designation of origin, seldom used)
- DOC — Denominazione di Origine Controllata (controlled designation of origin)
- DOCG — Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (controlled designation of origin guaranteed)
All three require that a food product be produced within the specified region using defined methods and that it satisfy a defined quality standard.
The need for a DOCG identification arose when the DOC designation was, in the view of many Italian food industries, given too liberally to different products. A new, more restrictive identification was then created, as similar as possible to the previous one so that buyers could still recognize it, but qualitatively different.
A notable difference for wines is that DOCG labelled wines are analysed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled. To prevent later manipulation, DOCG wine bottles then are sealed with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork.
Italian legislation additionally regulates the use of the following qualifying terms for wines:
- classico (classic): is reserved for wines produced in the region where a particular type of wine has been produced "traditionally". For the Chianti Classico, this "traditional region" is defined by a decree from July 10, 1932.
- riserva (reserve): may be used only for wines that have been aged at least two years longer than normal for a particular type of wine.
Wines labelled DOC or DOCG may only be sold in bottles holding 5 litres or less.
For wines produced in Bolzano, where German is an official language, DOC may alternatively be written as Kontrollierte Ursprungsbezeichnung and DOCG may be written as Kontrollierte und garantierte Ursprungsbezeichnung.
See also 
- List of Italian DOCG wines
- List of Italian DOC wines
- List of Italian products with protected designation of origin
- Indicazione geografica tipica (IGT), for high-quality wines that do not fit DOC/DOCG regulations, often referred to as the Italian equivalent to the French vin de pays system.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 of 29 April 2002 laying down certain rules for applying Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 as regards the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain wine sector products, consolidated version up until Commission Regulation (EC) No 1471/2007 of 13 December 2007
- An excerpt from the relevant Italian law (Italian)
- V.Q.P.R.D. Vini (DOCG – DOC): Elenco e Riferimenti Normativi al 07.02.2006 (Italian) published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, which lists every DOC and DOCG wine as of February 2006, together with the dates of the decrees by which the appellation was instituted or modified, and the provinces in which the wine is permitted to be produced.
- Link to complete legislation relating to the products protected. (Italian)[dead link]
- Complete list of italian DOC wines (Italian)