What does DOCG mean?

The acronym DOCG means Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin in English) and identifies the highest level of protection in the Italian wine classification. It is often accompanied or replaced by the European acronym DOP, which means Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin in English).

Wines with the DOCG appellation are subject to stricter production rules and have much more restrictive production regulations comparing to those ones with the DOC and IGT appellation.

DOCG appellations are often identified with small areas, such as valleys, hills, municipalities. For example:

  • Franciacorta DOCG refers to the Franciacorta wine area, a specific hilly area;
  • Brunello di Montalcino DOCG refers to the municipality of Montalcino, in Tuscany;
  • Moscato di Scanzo DOCG, which is the smallest Italian denomination, refers to a part of the municipality of Scanzorosciate, in Lombardy;
  • Vermentino di Gallura DOCG refers to a geographical area in the north-east of Sardinia.

Subzones and vineyards

The DOCG appellation can include two further classification levels that allow to identify specific territorial peculiarities within the own area. They are:

  • the sotto-zone (sub-zones in Italian), intended as portions of territory;
  • the vigneti (vineyards in Italian), intended as single plots of land.

As it is easy to understand, they envisage more restrictive quality constraints, which must be explicitly indicated in the reference specification. Both levels can be reported on the label with the relevant mentions.

Becoming DOCG

It is not possible to acquire the DOCG appellation without first having a lower level classification. In fact, the DOCG mark is reserved exclusively for:

  • already recognized DOC wines and products in well-defined areas;
  • typologies of wine belonging to an appellation DOC for at least 10 years.

The wines that aspire to acquire the DOCG appellation must be particularly valuable, both for the intrinsic qualitative characteristics and for the acquired commercial reputation. The request has to be made by at least fifty-one percent of the subjects leading vineyards and representing at least fifty-one percent of the total area.


On the label of a bottle of DOCG wine we always find the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita(or the European Denominazione di Origine Protetta) and the vintage of the harvest. In countries where there is bilingualism, it is possible (but not obligatory) to find the words in the language of the local minority:

  • in South Tyrol, in German: Kontrollierte und garantierte Ursprungsbezeichnung
  • inAosta Valley, in French: Appellation d'origine contrôlee et garantie
  • in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in Slovenian: Kontrolirano will guarantee poreklo
Wine itineraries