QUALITY CONTROL FOR WINES
The majority of the world’s wine-makers must ensure that their products conform to strict quality regulations covering such aspects as the location vineyards, what variety of grape is used, how the wine is made and how long it is matured.
Many countries now give the name of grape varieties on the wine label. Within the EU, if a grape variety is named on the label then the wine must contain at least 85 per cent of than variety. For EU wines, any number of grapes may be listed as part of descriptive text, but only a maximum of two may appear on the main label. For most countries outside of the EU, the wine must contain 100 per cent of the named variety, although there are exceptions. These include Australia and New Zeeland who are permitted 85 per cent and the USA who are permitted 75 per cent, Australia allows up to five varieties, provided each is al least 5 per cent of the blend.
European Union directives lay down general rules for quality wines produced in specified regions (QWPRS) or, in French, vin de qualite produit en regions determines (VQPRD) for example:
- Vin de table: this is ordinary table wine in the cheapest price range;
- Vin de pays: the lowest official category recognized. Wines of medium quality and price, made from certain grapes grown within a defined area. The area must be printed on the label. A minimum alcohol is specified.
- Vin delimite de qualite superieure (VDOS): a quality wine just below appellation – controlled standard. Area of production, grape varieties, minimum alcohol content, cultivation (viticulture) and wine making (vinification) methods are specified.
- Appellation d’origine controlee (AC or AOC): quality wine from approved areas. Grape varieties and proportions, pruning and cultivation method, maximum yield per hectare, vinification and minimum alcohol content are specified.
- Deutscher Tafelwein: wine made from one of the four German wine region designated for table wine (Rhein and Mosel, Bayern, Neckar and Oberrhein). It is often blended. A minimum alcohol content is specified.
- Landwein: quality wine from one of 19 designated districts. A minimum alcohol content is specified.
- Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA): quality wine in madium price range (includes Liebfraumlich) from one of the 13 designates regions (Anbaugetieten). It must carry an “Amtliche Prufungsnummer” (control number).
- Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP); quality wines with distinction. They have no added sugar. The “Pradikat” (distinction) describes how ripe the grape was when is was harvested – generally the riper the grape, the richer the wine. There are six categories:
- Kabinett - Made from grapes harvested at the normal time, usually October, but in a perfect state of ripeness.
- Spatlese – Made from late harvested grapes.
- Auslese – Made from selected bunches of ripe grapes.
- Beerenauslese - Made from selected ripe grapes affected by noble rot.
- Eiswein - Made from ripe grapes left on the vine to be picked and pressed when frozen.
- Trockenbeeranauslese - Made from selected single grapes heavily affected by noble rot.
- Erstes Gewachs (first growth), Grosses Gewachs (great growth) and Erste Lage (top site): newer, higher – level quality designations of wines from the finest vineyards. All classifying regions use the same Verband Deutscher Pradikatsweinguter (VDP) logo for these super-premium wines.
Some German wine labels use the terms Trocken (dry), Halbtrocken (medium dry) or Lieblich (medium sweet) to classify the wine. The two newer classifications of dry wines are “Classic” and “Selection” (which meets additional quality criteria).
- Vino da tavola: ordinary table wine, unclassified.
- Vino tipico / vino da tavola con indicazione geographics (IGT): wine from a defined area.
- Denominazione de origine controllata (DOC): quality wine from approved area. Grape varieties and proportions, cultivation and vinification methods and maximum yield are specified.
- Denominazione de origine controllata e garantia (DOCG): guarenteed quality wines from approved areas. Grape variety and proportions, maximum yield, vinification methods, pruning and cultivation and minimum alcohol content are specified.
- Vino de mesa: ordinary table wine.
- Vino de tierra: wines from specified regions.
- Denominacion de origen (DO): quality wines from specified regions.
- Denominacion de origin calificada (DOCa)
Spanish wines may also have the term “Reserva” on the label. For red wines this indicates a wine that has aged for at least one year in oak casks and two years in the bottle; for white and rose wines this indicates a wine aged for at least two years, including six months in oak casks. The other therm is “Gran Reserva”: for red wines this indicates a wine that has been aged for at least two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle; for white and rose wines this indicates a wine that has been aged for at least four years, including at least six months in oak caks.
- Vinho de mesa: ordinary table wine from no particular region and may be a blend from several regions.
- Vinho regional: quality table wine from a particular place within a specified region.
- Denominacao di origin controlada (DO): quality wine from specified regions. The quality and authenticity of the wine is guaranteed.
The following terms indicate that the wine was bottled on the estate.
- Mise en boutellie au domaine or Mise du domaine (France).
- Erzeugerabfullung or Aus eigenem Lesegut (Gemany).
- Imbottligliato all’origine or Imbottligliato al’origine nelle cantine della fatoria dei: bottled at source in the cellars of the estate of (Italy)
- Embotellado or Engarrafado de origen (Spain)
- Engarrafado na origem (Portugal)
For more information please visit our library or contact