Wine Classifications

Wine Classifications

The French appellation system is the most widely known system of quality control for wine. Other European countries have roughly equivalent gradings, though some have more categories. However, quality within any of the bands is not consistent and a good example of a simple wine can be better than a poorly made wine that has complied with the rules to achieve a higher status.

In this section we look at the different classification systems used by France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain, and the different terminology that you might find written on your wine bottle.

French Classifications
The wine classification system for France, including Vin de Table, Vin de Pays, VDQG and AOC ...
German Classifications
Looking at the differences between QbA and QmP wines from Germany ...
Italian Classifications
The wine classification system of Italy, including VdT, IGT, DOC and DOCG ...
Portuguese Classifications
The IPR and DOC wine classifications of Portugal ...
Spanish Classifications
The five wine classification levels in Spain: VdM, VC, VdlT, DO and DOCa ...

The following table is a summary of the European wine classifications:

Country Basic Wine Regional Wine Quality Wine Special Quality Wine
France Vin de Table Vin de Pays Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC or AC) or Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) No category
Germany Tafelwein Landwein Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) - divided into 6 styles: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese
Italy Vino da Tavola Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)
Portugal Vinho de Mesa Vinho Regional Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) or Indicação de Proveniência Regulamentada (IPR) No category
Spain Vino de Mesa Vino de la Tierra (VdlT) or Vino Comarcal (VC) Denominación de Origen (DO) Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC or DOCa)