This week in class I learned an overwhelming amount about wine law and wine classification systems.  Regulations vary world wide.  Consider how many wine regions there are (a ton).  Consider how many districts there are within those regions… and villages within those districts… and communes within those villages!  Now, not every commune has its own classification system, but many do.

Wine laws came about not long after the industrial revolution.  Before we were able to import and export our fine goods, vineyards and wineries had a firm grip on their products and knew how to take care of what they grew and sold.  Introduce some fresh Cabernet Sauvignon cuts from North America to say, France?  Wah-pow: fungi, bugs, disease.  Vineyards die, wineries are left with little to no yield.  We then end up with bottles of “wine” made from prunes from Algeria and thousands of cases of Bordeaux sold in England when only a few hundred were actually made.  Interesting.  There was a handsome amount of fraud going on, so in came the regulations…

Wine regulation systems such as France’s Apellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) or Italy’s Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) help to moderate what everything is called.  I can’t import grapes from northwest Italy, make a sparking wine in my midwest kitchen and call it Moscati d’Asti.  For Moscati d’Asti to be legitimate, it must be made from Muscat grapes and it must be made in the town of Asti.  This helps the consumer consume what they want & the wine maker sell their unique product and uphold their terroir.

More on the romance and silliness of terroir later…

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