How To Read an Italian Wine Label


Do not get wrapped up in the confusing jargon of European labels. If you break it down to its barest form it is simple. Here is an example of an Italian wine label with explanations below.

  • The name at the top is usually the name of the Estate.
  • Next is the varietal (or grape) used to make the wine. It helps to know the more popular varietals so as to easily identify them. Often the region is listed after the grape.
  • DOCG or ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita’ is a classification given by the Italian government once tasted and analyzed to assure quality. Modelled after the French AOC system.
  • The year is the vintage, meaning the year the grapes were harvested.
  • Alcohol content and country of origin are straightforward.
  • The bottlers info (less important thus smaller type).
  • The producer is generally the wine ‘Company’. Wine companies can have more than one estate.

(Graphics compliments of Stacy Slinkard)