A Crash Course On The Wines Of Italy

Italian wines are as delicious as they are complex. Here is a crash course on the wonderful wines of Italy!

The Popularity Of Italian Wine

Italian wine is extremely popular. In fact, vino from Italy is the largest source of imported wine in the United States. Italy is also the largest producer of wine in the entire world, beating out France.

How Long Has Italy Been Producing Wine?

Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world. Italian winemakers have been crafting delectable vino since the 2nd Century B.C., so they really know their stuff! 

Italian Wine Regions

According to Wine Folly, the country of Italy has 20 different unique wine regions, each with their own signature grapes:

  • Piedmont
  • Lombardy
  • Valle d’Aosta
  • Liguria
  • Veneto
  • Emilia-Romagna
  • Lazio
  • Abruzzo
  • Umbria
  • Molise
  • Tuscany
  • Marche
  • Trentino-Alto Adige
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia
  • Puglia
  • Basilicata
  • Sardegna
  • Sicily
  • Campania
  • Calabria 

Italian Wine Grapes

While Italy has more than 700 notable wine grape varieties, some are definitely more popular than others when it comes to winemaking.

Most Popular Italian Red Grapes

  • Sangiovese
  • Montepulciano
  • Nebbiolo 
  • Merlot
  • Barbera
  • Lambrusco

Most Popular Italian White Grapes

  • Trebbiano
  • Cortese
  • Moscato
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Verdicchio

Italian Wine Classification

Italy has four different wine classifications:

1. Vino Da Tavola (VdT)

Otherwise known as table wine, these wines only have to meet one criteria: They just have to be made somewhere in Italy.

2. Indicazione di Geografica Tipica (IGT)

IGT wines are a little more complex than VdT wines because they must be produced in a specific area. The popular Super Tuscans are considered IGT wines. 

3. Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)

The wines of Italy labeled DOC have to meet certain winemaking and vineyard requirements, including:

4. Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)

Wines labeled DOCG are the highest quality in the country. In order to be awarded with the prestigious DOCG status, Italian wines must meet all the same requirements for DOC wines and then some. They are subject to very strict requirements pertaining to vineyard yield and must use grape types grown within precise boundaries.

Other Italian DOCG and DOC Wine Classification Considerations

If you take a good look at an Italian wine label for either a DOC or DOCG wine, you might notice one of these three words:

  • Classico
  • Superiore
  • Riserva

These terms provide a little more information about the wine. For instance, “Classico” means that the wine was made in a designated area of the DOC or DOCG zone. “Superiore” indicates that the winemaker used a higher minimum quality of wine grapes for crafting the wine. And, “Riserva” means that the wine underwent extended aging prior to release.

The Italian Wines Of Land O Lakes Winery

We have a few delicious Italian wines at our winery, including:

  • Super Tuscan 
  • Amarone 
  • Pinot Grigio 

Come visit us at the Land O Lakes Winery tasting room to taste our hand-crafted Italian wines as well as our other delicious varietals. You can also visit our online store