Understanding Italian wine labelling terms and mandatory labelling requirements.

Italian wine label

EU wine law requires the following information on wine labels.

  1. Name of the appellation. It could be a place (Barolo) or a combination of grape and place (Barbera d'Alba) or a region/sub-region (Grechetto Umbria IGT).
  2. Name of the quality designation (DOCG, DOC, IGT). DOP can replace the DOCG and DOC category; IGP can replace the IGT category.
  3. Country of origin.
  4. The year of the vintage. This is mandatory for all DOCG and DOC (DOP) wines. Sparkling and fortified versions do not need to show the vintage.
  5. Name and location of the bottler.
  6. The batch number.
  7. Alcoholic strength.
  8. Quantity of wine in litres, centilitres, or millilitres.

Italian wines must also show a sulphite warning and, if required, the government warning about health and wine consumption.

Other Italian Wine Labelling Terms

These labelling terms, which you may find on your bottles, are legally regulated:

Term Definition
Abboccato Medium-dry wine - maximum 12g/l or 1.2% sugar
Amabile Medium-sweet wine - maximum 45g/l or 4.5% sugar
Annata Vintage
Bianco White wine
Chiaretto Rosé wine made in specific DOCs
Classico Wine produced in the original historic wine growing area of a DOCG or DOC
Dolce Sweet wine - more than 45g/l or 4.5% of sugar
Fermo Still wine
Frizzante Semi-sparkling wine
Imbottigliato all'origine Estate-bottled
Liquoroso Fortified wine
Novello Wine released shortly after it is made (like Beaujolais Nouveau)
Passito Wine made from semi-dried grapes
Riserva Denotes a wine that went through an extended period of ageing compared to the non-riserva version
Rosato Rosé wine
Rosso Red wine
Secco Dry wine - maximum 4g/l or 0.4% of sugar
Spumante Fully sparkling wine
Superiore Denotes wine with a higher minimum alcohol content compared to the non-superior version - ranges from 0.5% to 1% more alcohol
Vendemmia Harvest or vintage
Vendemmia Tardiva Late harvest
Vigna Single vineyard wine
Vigneto See Vigna
Vino Wine
Vivace Lively, lightly fizzy wine