Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita (DOCG)

Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita is intended to be a superior classification to DOC, and is the highest classification in Italy. All DOCG wines from each producer are analysed and tasted by government-licensed judgement panel before being bottled. Once approved, the wines are “guaranteed” with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork, to prevent later manipulation. Where the DOCG classification represents a refinement of an existing DOC wine, the rules for the DOCG wine usually require more stringent quality controls. These controls are usually some combination of a lower proportion of blending grapes, lower yields, higher minimum alcohol, longer ageing requirements, and so on.

The need for a DOCG identification arose when the DOC designation was, in the view of many Italian food industries, given too liberally to different products. A new, more restrictive identification was then created as similar as possible to the previous one so that buyers could still recognize it, but qualitatively different. The three original DOCGs were Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Barolo, all approved by a presidential decree in July 1980, followed by Barbaresco three months later.