What three important issues do most wine laws seek to address? Which one is most imperative?
Wine should be sound to drink and suitable for humans to ingest;
- Any information on the label should accurately represent what is acutally in the bottle;
- Ensuring principles are in place that should protect persons and societies from abuse.
What winemaking ingredient is of special importance to wine laws in terms of production?
SO2 (Sulfur dioxide)
In many countries around the world, the words "contains sulfites" have to appear on the label by law if the amount of SO2 in the wine is above a particular level.
In countries that allow the consumption of alcohol, what two areas are controlled by specific laws?
- A minimum legal age is established for the procurement and consumption of alcohol;
- A legal limit is set on the amount of alcohol a person can have in his/her blood while operating any kind of vehicle.
In what two ways do many governments encourage safe alcohol consumption and safe drinking habits?
- Many governments make recommendations as to the number of drinks per week adults should consume;
- Governments set limits on advertising and marketing of alcoholic products to avoid stimulating overconsumption.
What are Geographical Indications (GIs)?
Geographical Indications, or GIs, indicate the place where a wine comes from.
Note that Geographical Indications can sometimes be as large as a country or as small as a single vineyard.
Which governing body oversees the current system of Geographical Indications used by all significant wine-producing countries?
The World Trade Organization
What are the two quality categories of wines with a Geographic Indication in the European Union?
The more stringent Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and the less rigorous Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
How do Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) standards differ in the European Union?
As a wide generalization, Protected Designations of Origins (PDOs) are smaller, more delimited areas with more restrictions placed on their production methods.
Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) are larger areas with more freedom in terms of what winemaking practices can be employed within their boundaries.
Why are Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) designations rarely seen on wine labels using the European Union's legal terms?
The EU allows appellation designations that were registered before December 31, 2011 to continue to be used on wine labels as long as they fall into the larger European framework introduced in 2009.
This is why you are more likely to see French wines labeled with Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC) designates and Italian wines with Denominazione di Origine Controllata (e Garantita) DOC/DOCG designates as there are historic ties as well as quality perceptions that producers and consumers still hold.
If a Geographical Indication is stated on a label, how much of that wine customarily comes from the stated GI?
For most countries this is the baseline rule, although there are numerous exceptions throughout the world.
In the European Union, if a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is used, how much of the wine must come from the stated PDO?
What are the three tiers of Geographical Indications seen on French wines?
PDO level: AOC or AC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) or AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée)
PGI level: IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) or VdP (Vin de Pays)
Without GI: Vin de France
What are the three tiers of Geographical Indications seen on Italian wines?
PDO level: DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) and DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)
PGI level: IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) and IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)
Without GI: Vino or Vino d'Italia
In what ways does the DOCG level differ from the DOC level in Italy?
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines have to be made within specific, delimited geographical areas as well as there being constraints on which grapes can be grown and how they are vinified and matured.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines must not only satisfy all the DOC regulations, they have to be bottled within the area they are made and they have to go through an tasting/approval process by the Ministry of Agriculture before they can be released.
What other labeling terms are defined by Italian wine law?
Classico and Riserva
Classico wines are the wines that have been made solely from a historically classified wine region (which may or may not have expanded beyond its historic boundaries over time).
Riserva wines are a category that carry a specified extended aging regimen, sometimes in oak or bottle (or both), and are usually higher in alcohol.
Nearly all wines made outside of the E.U. fall into what category of the E.U.'s hierarchy?
Wines with a GI
How do most European wines with a GI (PDO, PGI) differ from non-European wines with a GI (AVA, District, Zone, etc.)?
Non-European wines with a GI rarely have rules or regulations dictating which grapes can be grown within that GI and rarely, if ever, set mandatory vinification methods.
Why do European Wine laws have a greater impact on the world wine trade than other laws from around the world?
Since the European Union makes around 60% of the world's wine and drinks around 50%, European wine laws have the largest impact on wine producers and consumers.