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Home Labels and the law
Reading Italian Wine Labels



1. Castel Giocondo- Estate name

2. Brunello Di Montalcino - Wine type or region

3. 2004 - Vintage year

4. Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the most stringent Italian classification. Similar to the DOC but more stringent. Allowable yields are generally lower, and DOCG wines must pass an evaluation of a tasting committee before they can be bottled. Other classifications include Vino Da Tavola, Vino a Indicazione Geografica (IGT) and Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC).

5. Frescobaldi - The wine producer

6. Product of Italy - The country of origin

7. Bottler information


Italian Wine Label Terminology

Apart from the designations relevant to the Italian appellation system here are some common Italian labeling terms which may be helpful:

Tenuta - a large estate or property
Fattoria - a medium to large wine growing property
Podere/Poderi - a small wine farm or property, sometimes part of a fattoria
Vigna/Vigneto - a single demarcated vineyard with a particular name (like "Smith Vineyard")
Feudo/Feudi - a fief or estate held on feudal tenure
Azienda Agricola - a crop producing farm, not necessarily limited to wine production, that grows all its own grapes
Azienda (Casa) Vinicola - same as azienda agricola but also buys grapes grown elsewhere for their wines


There are other words that refer to various geologies or terrains that are sometimes included in wine producers' names:

Ronchi - terrace
Ronco - hillside vineyard
Bricco/Bric - high, steep ridge vineyard (usually assumed to be of high quality)
Colli - hills
Poggio - mound or knoll
Sorì - vineyard site of the highest quality, usually facing south
Valle - valley, dale


Lastly, there are words that refer to wine property buildings or the producers themselves:

Cantina - a cellar, winery or wine shop
Villa - town house
Castello - castle
Cascina - the house on a farm property where not only wine is produced
Produttore/Produttori - producer, grower
Viticoltore/Vignaiolo - vine grower




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