The government introduced the measure in 1963, although the ministry of agriculture said it was more than 40 years in the making.
Arturo Marescalchi, the founder of the Italian Winemakers Association (Assoenologi), first presented the idea of creating a way of recognising “traditional wines” to the government in 1921.
The idea became law in 1930, the ministry said, but was stalled for nearly three more decades.
Lawmakers grappled with terminology and eventually - thanks to the Treaty of Rome which set up the European Economic Community in 1957 - settled on “Controlled designation of origin” (Denominazione di origine controllata, DOC).
The DOC law was enacted six years later, with Vernaccia di San Gimignano gaining the first seal of approval in 1966.
The wine consortium of San Gimignano, a hilltop town in Tuscany, describes the variety as “a straw yellow wine with golden reflections that are accentuated with ageing”.
The DOC authorities have had a busy half a century and have now approved 403 different varieties.