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Italian Wine

Wine in Italy is a little bit different from the rest of the world, and that is mainly because the wines in Italy are defined by both the geographical provenance and the grapes that have been used in the production.  Other global wines, however, are classified by one or the other.

The Varieties of Wine
The MIRAF (Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) has officially documented 350 grapes variety.  Each of these has “authorised” status.  Also, there are 473 areas that are quality controlled for their production.  Each of these areas has a unique way of producing the wine.

The Italian Wine Classification System
The wine classification system in Italian wines is quite confusing, which is not surprising when you see all these varieties.  However, you have to remember that everything in Italy is done with love, so understanding the labels and classifications is all about understanding the love of wine.

Wine represents a huge chunk of the economy in Italy, and it is the world’s largest producer of some of the wines.  Also, wine has been produced here for thousands of years in lots of different varieties.  The MIRAF is very strict in terms of grapes, names, ageing processes, methods of production and even bottling time.  This is why if you really struggle with the information, you may want to visit the MIRAF website, rather than just looking at the label.

All of this isn’t unnecessary.  Instead, it is a way of making sure that the true wine lover will always know exactly what he gets and when.  There are even parts of the Italian police who are able to perform spot checks on wineries, confiscating wines if they don’t follow the rules the way they should.  For instance, if a Prosecco is pink, it cannot be called Prosecco, but must be named “Raboso”.  The name Prosecco is not allowed to be present on the label at all.

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