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Published:  23 July, 2008

Nicolas Belfrage MW & Franco Ziliani

The President of the Association of Italian Oenologists, Giuseppe Martelli, has proposed several alterations to the DOC system. Martelli pointed out that in 1980 DOC and DOCG wines represented a little over 10% of total Italian production. Today the figure stands at over 25% and DOC, he said, has become, as it were, the locomotive' of Italian oenology. Currently there are 330 DOCs covering a potential 290,000 hectares (ha) of vineyard. However, only 65% of this potential, equivalent to 190,000 ha, is actually utilised. There are 90 DOCs which use less than 50% of their potential territory. Of these, 28 use less than 20%, 14 under 5% and seven produce no DOC wine at all - the so-called DOC di carta', or DOCs on paper only. To deal with this situation Martelli is proposing that no wine should be allowed to attain the DOC without first having served a minimum of five years as an IGT, and that DOCs which do not utilise their denominational rights should be declassified to IGT. These steps, he maintained, would involve: 1) a reinforcement of the role of the grower; 2) an obligation on the part of all VQPRD producers to state the vintage on the label; 3) a simplification of administrative procedures; 4) a revision of methods of sanction; 5) a redefinition of the role of the consortia; 6) passage of wines from IGT to DOC/G by degrees.