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Winemakers mark 50 years of quality approval

Italian winemakers on Friday celebrated 50 years since the Controlled designation of origin (DOC) stamp was introduced, which gave quality wines the seal of approval.

Winemakers mark 50 years of quality approval
The first wine given DOC status was Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Photo: Dinner Series/Flickr

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.  

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Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps

People living in a small village near Modena, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, got a surprise on Wednesday when they turned on their kitchen taps and got wine instead of water.

Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps
File photo: Flickr/Nardino

Not a miracle, but a fault at a nearby winery meant wine had accidentally been pumped into the local water supply, technicians later discovered.

Residents said the smell of the pink liquid coming out of their taps was unmistakably that of the locally-produced Lambrusco Grasparossa, local newspaper Gazzetta di Modena reported.

The wine ended up being piped into homes in the Castelvetro area of Modena from the nearby Settecani winery after a “technical fault” in one of the winery's silos meant wine was leaking into its water pipes. As the wine reportedly had a higher pressure than the water in the pipes, it began to run through the system and into nearby homes.

The local water board quickly sent technicians to put things back to normal – but not before residents “bottled as much of the precious liquid as they could,” wrote the Gazzetta di Modena, “to enjoy later at a lunch or dinner along with other typical Modenese specialties.”

The local council issued an apology for the incident on Facebook, and while some village residents voiced concern about the safety of their water supply, other complaints were directed at the council and local water company for fixing the problem too quickly.

Though Lambrusco doesn't have the best reputation abroad, Modena's Lambrusco DOC is a well-regarded lightly sparkling red wine with a complex flavour and a history dating back to Etruscan times.

READ ALSO: Not just Prosecco: here are the other Italian sparkling wines you need to try

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