Where wine comes from?

Knowing where a particular bottle of wine is from seems straight forward enough, but there are actually several different terms that can be used to identify where your wine is from.

Let's break down some of the basic terms:

Appellation: a legally defined geographic region. Simply put, this is where the grapes in that bottle were grown.  

Don't be fooled into thinking it's that simple though! Depending on the country, this classification could mean a lot more than just a simple location. Certain European countries will also dictate which grapes can be grown in each area and even winemaking techniques.

France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC): To claim a particular AOC in France, a wine must follow rules describing the area the grapes are grown in, the varieties used, the ripeness, the alcoholic strength, the vineyard yields and the methods used in growing the grapes and making the wine.

Italy's Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC):  Similar to France, Italy has strict rules around geographical location, specific varieties and composition,  yield, alcohol content as well as some technical requirements for the acid content, dry matter, etc. Taking it one step further, after the wine is bottled, they are assessed and approved by a local tasting committee to ensure that the wine contains the notes that characterize the wines of their particular area.

United States' American Viticultural Area (AVA): Less rigid to Europe, a US AVA must prove that the region is distinctive and has relatively uniform terrain, soil and climate, and the boundaries must be agreed upon. AVAs do not restrict what types of grapes can be grown nor how the wines must be made.

Nikki Bittner

Nikki Bittner