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09.06.2008

Are EU Lawmakers Going to Destroy the Italian Wine Industry?

France, you get a free pass today. The European Common Market Organization is my newest punching bag when it comes to idiotic wine regulations.

I can hardly believe it, but new wine industry reforms proposed by this body apparently will result in the elimination of Italy's DOC and IGT designations for wine.

WHAT!?!?

If that doesn't make your blood boil, then you're not paying attention.

These reforms, which would go into effect in 2009 if adopted, seem to suggest the equivalent action to taking all of the individual Bordeaux appellations and replacing them with just two: "Left Bank" and "Right Bank." For instance, according to Decanter Magazine, one of the proposed new designations would merge all of the surrounding areas (currently designated Barbera and Dolcetto) with Barolo -- making no distinction between those "village" wines and what is certainly one of Italy's most historical and prestigious wine regions. In all, Italy's 316 DOCs, 38 DOCGs and 118 IGT appellations would apparently be collapsed to a mere 182 designations.

Now, I'm not in favor of the mass proliferation of wine appellations. I think beyond a certain point there are diminishing returns to the slicing and dicing of terroir into ever finer designations and regulations.

But how could anyone in their right mind think that reducing the number of Italian wine appellations by 75% could possibly be a good thing?

Would one of my European readers explain to me how on earth this travesty of legislation even got out of committee?

Read the full story. And then if you're an EU passport holder, please, write your parliamentarian, or whatever it is you do when you're pissed off at the government.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.