The Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forest Policies has recently issued guidelines on the indication of geographical names, as names of regions, covering a broad territory including the place of production of a Protected Designation of Origin ("PDO") or Protected Geographical Indication ("PGI") wine.
The purpose of the guidelines is to assist wine producers support to correctly label and make commercial of the "broader" geographical name in which their PDO / PGI wines are produced.
European legislation (especially, Regulation No. 1308/2013) prohibits the use of a name protected as a geographical indication for comparable products not provided with the characteristics of the PDO / PGI. This prohibition raises issues when a producer of PDO / PGI wine intends to label his products to inform the consumer of the broader region, where his wine originates, but the name of the region is protected as a PDO / PGI for wines.
For example, Menfi DOC wine is produced within the broader Sicily, which is also protected as DOC. The Italian Ministry guidelines allow the producers to use the indication of the "broader" geographical name under certain conditions.
For PDO wine products (not PGI products), if the relevant product specification allows for the possibility of indicating the "broader" geographical name, this can also be included in the labelling and information concerning the PDO wine product, in fonts having prominent dimensions.
However, if the "broader" geographical name alone is protected as PDO / PGI, it can only be used if this faculty is allowed within the relevant product specifications and the professional bodies representing said PDO / PGI allow for its use with other PDO wines.
If no mention of the "broader" geographical name is provided in the product specification about the indication, the broader indication can only be included solely for the purpose of providing descriptive information. This should be in a font smaller than that used for indicating the PDO / PGI name.
Wine producers warmly welcomed this recent clarification of the Italian Ministry, permitting them to make consumers aware of the place where their wineries are located, without a fear of sanction. This could perhaps become a further tool for enhancing the connection between the protected wines and their territory.