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"Oenotria" - the Land of Wine

Italy is recognized as the largest wine producer in the world, accounting for a quarter of global production. It holds 20 major wine regions with around 39,300 hectares of vineyards within its territory. It has produced wines for over 4,000 years. Italy is called “Oenotria” – the land of wine – by the ancient Greeks when they first stepped on the Southern part of Italy. Before 2nd century BC, Greeks and Etruscans were growing wines in Italy, eventually the Romans pioneered and increased the efficiency of viticulture and winemaking progress by implementing large-scale plantation.

Today over 350 common native wine grapes varieties are in Italy. Italian wines produced in each specific regions are usually a perfect match with the regional food specialties. Popularity not only goes to those expensive and finest wines, but Italians also favor in drinking sparkling wines, like Prosecco and Moscato. These iconic beverages are also prevalent in other countries like the UK.


The most famous grape variety goes to Sangiovese, having a series of different names planted across different regions. Sangiovese is also the main grape variety in Toscana – named as the Super Tuscan wines of which are high-quality fine wines that do not fit into the traditional wine laws. 


Sangiovese Grape

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The key factor of being the biggest wine producer around the globe lies within the regions climate. Positioned in the extensive latitudinal range, a diversity of varieties can be found ranging from grapes growing regions in the far North near the Alps to those growing in the south near Africa. Its long shoreline is also conducive to moderate climate effects to coastal wine regions, creating cooler weather, while the hilly terrain provides the best soil conditions for different grape-growing conditions.

Vineyards in Monferrato Region

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Despite the vast capacity of wine production, Italians are proud to maintain their wines with high standards and quality. Almost two thirds of the country’s wines are either DOP or IGP, which both stand for quality wine and accounts for 39% and 30% of total yields respectively. The country had implemented an official wine law in 1992, based on the geographical specification and requirements to ensure the authenticity and quality of the wines. 

Italian Wine Classification


Vino da Tavola (VdT) is the first and lowest quality standard, or table wine. Under this classification the wines are restricted by very few rules and regulations. These are your typical everyday drinking wines.

Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) includes grapes from specific geographical areas with relative lenient rules on grape varieites, allowing more freedom to winemakers to craft and blend with different varieties. For instance, the most famous and expensive wines, the Super Tuscans, are also classified as IGT.


The Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) are restrained by legislation of permitted grape varieties, minimum alcohol levels and requirements of ageing process, etc. There are more than 300 DOC wines today. 


Lastly, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) stands as the top position of Italian wine, covering most of the famous wines like Barolo, Prosecco and Chianti. While similar with DOC requirements, DOCG wines have to pass through more restricted rules to maintain their finest quality and wine-making process.

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