In 1980 the Italian wine authorities established a superior classification to DOC wines. Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) began with 5 wines, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti, Barolo and Barbaresco, both produced in Piedmont. All had recognised international reputations, and had been produced for centuries. There are currently 74 wines that have been awarded the prestigious DOCG status.
A DOCG wine must meet standards that are much stricter than those stipulated in DOC regulations. One of the principal differences is the lower yields imposed. The reductions in output have probably done more to improve the quality of the wines than any other condition in the production.


The strict rules also require an in-depth chemical analyses for all DOCG produced wines. Laboratories designated by the government must carry out the examinations of the wines physical composition.
Once the analyses have demonstrated that the chemical properties are in accordance with the standards specified in the DOCG regulations, committees of expert tasters sample each producer's wines. The committees can reject wines that fail to meet the specified sensory standards or instruct the producers to take steps to remedy deficiencies before approving or discarding the wine.
Upon receipt of a favourable report on the outcome of this analysis, the producers' consortia issues small sequential numbered seals that fit over or around the top of the bottles of DOCG wines. Strict controls are applied to ensure that the number of seals issued corresponds to the amount of wine that can be produced in accordance with the regulations.
Today, within the DOC and DOCG wine zones well over 2000 different styles of wine are produced. The extensive preparations the wine producers who apply for DOCG recognition must make are time consuming and require substantial investment. These strict controls placed on DOCG wines, ensures that what finally is produced and served to with enthusiasts all over the world, is of the finest quality wine from Italy.