Italy

Italy

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With over 350 varieties of indigenous grape varietals grown in Italy, it is only natural that you have to do your homework before getting a good understanding of Italian wines. Today, Italy ranks No.2 on the list of wine-producing nations and No.5 on the list of the largest wine consumers in the world. There are over 1 million vineyards in Italy.

It was during the 2nd century BC that the Romans produced wines in Italy. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that a large amount of Italy’s winemaking and storage techniques have been inspired by the Romans.

Grape Varietals

The two main grape varieties grown in Italy are Bianco, which are the white wine grapes and Rosso, which are the red wine grapes. The 350 varieties of grapes that we mentioned in the first line are only those that have been given “authorized status” by Italy’s Agriculture Ministry. You can spot over 500 more indigenous but unauthorised grapes here.

Some of the common native Bianco wine varieties are Ameis, Friutano, Garganega, Nuragus, Passerina, Pinot Grigio, Trebbliano, Vermentino and more. Some of the common Rosso native wine varieties are Barbera, Agilianico, Dolcetto,Nebbiolo, Sagrantino, Sangiovese and more.

Wine-growing regions

There are 29 wine growing regions in Italy and the grapes grown here reflect the local cuisine of the place. Close to 17% of the total wines are produced in Sicilia, 13% in Puglia, 12% in Veneto and 10% in Tuscany. 

Wine tiers

Almost all the wines produced in Italy belong to one of these four tiers. They are:

  • DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita - This is the top tier and regulates the production of the wine in the country.
  • DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata - Second tier of organization which manages over 300 DOCs
  • IGT - Indicazione Geografica Tipica - Third tier, which refers to the area of the grape cultivation
  • VDT - Vino de Tavola - Fourth and Lowest Tier, which refers to table wines

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