DOP or IGP, DOC or DOCG, do you know the difference?

You may have found yourself at the supermarket with coloured stickers with marks attesting to the quality of products, but have you wondered where they come from?

In Europe, it is Italy that holds the record for the number of protected products and our brands are known and shared at national but also European level.

Made in Italy is represented in Europe through acronyms that testify to high quality food products that respect the characteristics and processing methods typical of a given territory. Climate, environment and the human factor make us unique and inimitable elsewhere.

Above are the brands that mark Made in Italy products. Below, European quality certifications

They are the business card with which the State, after appropriate checks, guarantees the origin and quality of the product.

Food certifications: DOP and IGP

As with wine in Italy, the European Union, at the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture, invites producers to certify typical food and wine products in order to combat counterfeiting. It is no coincidence that Italy is the country with the highest number of DOP and IGP products, but how can this certification be obtained?

According to Regulation 1151 established in 2012, it is necessary to identify the distinctive characteristics of the product, its historical origin in the territory, the production specifications and the body that certifies the production process according to the specifications. The colours that distinguish the DOP mark are yellow and red, while the IGP mark is yellow and blue.

The DOP mark (Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees that the production process from the first to the last stage is carried out in a specific territory, while the IGP mark (Protected Geographical Indication) requires that at least one of the stages is carried out in a specific geographical area.

For example, the IGP Piedmont Hazelnut, recognised by ministerial decree as early as 2 December 1993, is produced in the hills between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato but is mainly used by confectionery artisans such as the La Venaria laboratory, in the production of cakes, creams, ice-creams and for the famous gianduiotto or even as a healthy snack!

Toasted Piedmontese IGP Hazelnuts Venaria Piedmont Delights
The IGP Piedmontese Hazelnuts of Cascina La Venaria

This is not the case for DOP products, if we move to the province of Cuneo, in Valle Grana, precisely in the municipalities of Castelmagno, Pradleves and Monterosso Grana, milk is milked from cows of well-defined breeds, then processed and left to mature in mountain pastures and a PDO Castelmagno is obtained from the milking of the milk to the sale in the dairies. 

The name of the cheese comes from the sanctuary dedicated to San Magno, a soldier who became a martyr in that area.

If the production and preservation of Castelmagno DOP takes place above 1000m altitude, it is defined as “mountain pasture” and below 1000m it is considered a “mountain” product.

Castelmagno Guffanti Piedmont Delights
Our Castelmagno by Guffanti

Wine certifications: DOCG, DOC and IGT

The brands recognised in Italy for wines are DOCG, DOC and IGT. We Piedmontese can boast of having no less than 18 DOCG wines of controlled and guaranteed designation of origin and 41 DOC wines of controlled designation of origin.

But what does this band inside the neck of the bottles mean?

We have to thank the lawyer Rolando Ricci, who in the 1950s, an official at the then Ministry of Agriculture, invented the acronym DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin). In oenology, the mark certifies the area of origin and delimits the harvest of the grapes used for production.

The DOC was then established by a decree-law of 12 July 1963.

In order to be defined as DOC, wines undergo a chemical-physical analysis and an organoleptic examination to certify that they meet the requirements set out in the regulations.

Before they can become DOC, they must have been IGT, (Typical Geographical Indication) for at least 5 years, which means that at least 85% of the grapes used to make the wine must come from that geographical area.

After 5 years of IGT, 10 years of DOC, the wine can be promoted to DOCG and bear this designation, which is “G” guaranteed by the result of tests carried out during production and bottling.

Dolcetto d’Alba and Dolcetto di Dogliani 

Our Dolcetto d’Alba DOC from Azienda Agricola San Biagio, is the most widespread vine in the Langa and can be found right on the hill of La Morra in the area of San Biagio and Pria. Protagonist of peasant life for centuries, it was awarded DOC status in 1974, and its scents of violets and ripe fruit will never leave your table again!

Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG obtained this title in 2005, thus highlighting the characteristics that the Dogliani area offered to this vine, of which there are in Piedmont eleven denominations. Thanks to the careful vinification and yield of this vine, Chionetti gives us a product that brings out the best of the characteristics of this vine, fresh, fragrant and with a slight acid note that can accompany an entire meal.

The Ca Mamai vine used to produce Dolcetto di Dogliani

You didn’t think Dolcetto was sweet, did you? 

Now that you know the differences, come and discover our producers and the excellence of our Piedmont! 

– Until next time, with love!