October 2018– The Consorzio Delle Venezie DOC Pinot grigio, the first supra-regional experiment ever in Italy able to unite two regions (Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto) and one autonomous province (Trentino) arrived in New York City last month to celebrate the new DOC. Representatives from the “Triveneto” Consortium will also introduce all the improvements taken to enhance the quality and secure the level of control that will ensure the best Pinot grigios for the ultimate palate enjoyment. The new Delle Venezie DOC was created in 2017 as a direct result of the history and culture of generations involved in the creation of the great “Triveneto vineyard”. Over the past few years, the “Triveneto vineyard” or Triveneto zone in the northeastern part of Italy has become one of the most important wine regions in the region. In terms of geography, for oenological purposes the Veneto region is divided into three geographical areas reflecting unique characteristics of topography and ultimately terroir. The creation of a DOC or “Denominazione di Origine Controllata” represents an important step in creating a higher quality and more constant product.
Italian wines fall under their own unique certification and DOC wine rules regarding quality remain very strict, but allow more freedom than DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status. DOGC is considered the strictest certification level, whereas IGT is the least restricted. The distinction between the three different classifications is important yet one can certainly find great wines within all three groups. One key difference is that all DOCG labelled wines are professionally evaluated by government–licensed personnel prior to being bottled. To promote authenticity, DOCG wine bottles have a numbered governmental seal placed across the cap or cork. DOC wines also have a government issued label, a topic important to any wine collector as the label is also a seal of authenticity. Knowing how to identify authentic government labels is key if one wants to spot fakes. And apparently wine counterfeiting is on the rise as bottles become more costly, collectible or both. Finally, it’s worth mentioning there’s a fourth category of Italian wine known as Vino da Tavola (VdT) or “table wine” which falls outside of any DOC classification. The creation of a specific regulated classification for the Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC started in 2017. Since its first harvest in 2017, the entire Pinot grigio production from the territories of Trentino, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia possess DOC status. From The Alps, the Garda Lake right to the Venice lagoon and the Adriatic Sea up to the Collio hills: one will find great diversity and extraordinary terroirs able to express the distinct excellence of the Italian Pinot grigio. To accomplish this, at the end of the entire production chain certification, each delle Venezie DOC bottle is vetted by professional oenologists’ tasting commissions before finally receiving the Italian government seal as a certified quality wine. As of 2018, the Delle Venezie DOC Wines include:
•Pinot grigio, including sparkling varieties
•Pinot grigio spumante (V.S. and V.S.Q. categories)
This is a rather simplified account of the new system; the exact classifications as well as grape varietal restrictions are a bit more complicated. Additional details on the DOC classification may be found at Italian Wine Central, a highly informative source on the topic.
The creation of the DOC was a result of wine producers and consumers desire to protect and promote the complex and versatile production of Pinot grigio, one of the most representative grapes of the region. The positive trend of the first six-months of 2018 has seen a 73% increase in certification requests estimated by the end of the year. These results have been accompanied by the definitive end of the bottling of the old IGT starting August 1, 2018, working in the direction of quality assurance: a historical and important event that closes a phase regarding the entire Italian northeastern Pinot grigio which will therefore produce only guaranteed DOC going forward. The new standards have important implications for foreign markets, as the Pinot grigio Delle Venezie region contains 85% of the Pinot Grigio exported by Italy.
Historically, the Pinot grigio vine was found in the Venetian area at the end of the 1800’s, an extremely favorable area that has produced often complex and difficult to describe wines with different nuances, scents and flavors appealing to many different kinds of consumers. Pinot grigio today represents the main exported Italian grape variety and the fourth one cultivated in Italy. Under the new DOC delle Venezie, yields per hectare have been reduced to ensure a new level of qualitative excellence. Pinot grigio is a wine with a great past but an even more promising future, one that has the potential to create some of the most strikingly diverse wines in the world.