Traditions and appellations

Traditions and appellations

Appelations are made to respect traditions and guarantee a « savoir faire » of an area. Depends where, but it can certify grape varieties, ripeness and alcoholic strength, viticultural practices, yields and winemaking Practices. Because Europe is old on traditions, each country had their own certifications before E.U been created. They most of the time are writing in their own language and have specific rules. It does involve a bit of time to know what include each appellation rules as they are so diverse. For example, Bordeaux includes 60 AOC in 9 975,6 km2. Marlbourough by it self, is 12 484 km² and only one GI…..

Here are few specificities of the old wold:

Europe appellations who include all those particularity:

  • Protected designation of origin (PDO) : 100% produced, processed and prepared in specific area. Quality and properties due to a partial environment. Its obtained from vines varieties belonging to Vitus Vinifera only.
  • Protected geographic indication (PGI) : 85% produced, processed and prepared in specific area.
  • Wine : Do it how you feel!


  • Main appellations are :
    • « Appellation d’origine controlée » (AOC) or « Appellation d’origine protegée »(AOP) = P.D.O
    • vin de pays=PGI), vin de table VdP = VGP(vine)
  • There are different classifications by area : Grand, premier cru, village and regional appellation are appellations but « cru bourgeois » for example is more like contest and the classification can change according years.


  • Qualitätswein (QbA) and Prädikatswein are PDO terms: those PDO are classified based on ripeness harvested grapes and vine style
  • PGI are Tafelwein and Landwein – VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweinguter) it does work like French Grand, premier cru, village and restate classification


they have 2 PDOs: « Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita » (DOCG) and « Denominazione di Origine Controllata » (DOC).

  • DOCG is really easy to identify as they have a specific seal for proof of approval. The wine has to pass a tasting panel.

PGI is either « indicazione geografica protetta » (IGT) or « indicazione geografica tipica » (IGT)


Same as Italy and France, 2 appellations can fit under PDO : « Qualified Denominación de Origen » (DOCa)  and « Denominación de Origen Protegida » (DO) 

Spain has the specificity to include a minimum aging in the winemaking criterias

PGI is vino de la terra

All those regulations are supposed to protect consumers, and sort of guarantee a certain quality. However, good wines are hidden every where! Sometimes producers decide to not follow those rules and skip the appellation, but doesn’t mean they have no ethics…. For example, a viticulturist in « Côte rôtie » can still work properly but grow something else than Syrah or Viognier. a Beaujolais producer can have good practices but decide to machine pick, etc….