An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication primarily used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown, although other types of food often have appellations as well. Restrictions other than geographical boundaries, such as what grapes may be grown, maximum grape yields, alcohol level, and other quality factors may also apply before an appellation name may legally appear on a wine bottle label. The rules that govern appellations are dependent on the country in which the wine was produced.


The tradition of wine appellation is very old. The oldest references are to be found in the Bible, where wine of Samaria, wine of Carmel, wine of Jezreel,[1] or wine of Helbon[2] are mentioned. This tradition of appellation continued throughout the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, though without any officially sanctioned rules. Historically, the world's first exclusive (protected) vineyard zone was introduced in Chianti, Italy in 1716 and the first wine classification system in Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary, in 1730.



In 1935, the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), a branch of the French Ministry of Agriculture, was created to manage wine-processing in France. In the Rhone wine region Baron Pierre Le Roy Boiseaumarié, a lawyer and winegrower from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, obtained legal recognition of the Côtes du Rhône appellation of origin in 1937. The AOC seal, or Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, was created and mandated by French laws in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Before 1935, despite the fact that the INAO was yet to be created, champagne enjoyed an appellation control by virtue of legal protection as part of the Treaty of Madrid. The treaty stated that only sparkling wine produced in Champagne and adhering to the standards defined for that name as an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée could be called champagne. This right was reaffirmed in the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.


Germany is unusual among wine-producing countries in that its most prestigious classifications, the various grades of Prädikatswein, are based on the ripeness of the grapes, though their geographical origins are also legally defined. Thus Germany's geographical classification, Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA), is akin to France's defunct Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure, which has been subsumed into the current Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée system.


Georgia has 24 registered wine appellations.


Historically, the world's first vineyard classification system was introduced in Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary, in 1730. Vineyards were classified into three categories depending on the soil, sun exposure, and potential to develop Botrytis cinerea. The subdivisions were: first-class, second-class and third-class wines. A decree by the Habsburg crown in 1757 established a closed production district in Tokaj. The classification system was completed by the national censuses of 1765 and 1772.


Italy's first origin classification system was introduced in Tuscany in 1716 for delimiting Chianti production. After the unification of Italy several attempts were made to introduce some kind of protection for wine appellations, to no avail. Only in 1963 the "Denominazione di origine controllata" law was approved, starting with 1967 vintage.


The world's third-oldest appellation control, after Chianti and Tokaj, was introduced in Portugal in 1756, pertaining to port wine, which was produced in the region of the Douro valley.


Some Spanish wines were already famous or even regulated (Rioja: 1925; Sherry: 1933) when the market started being regulated. It was not until 1980 that legislation on denominación de origen was stablished, following the French scheme with more tiers of classification and prompted by the impending accession to the European Union.

North America


See also: Vintners Quality Alliance § Appellations, and Cellared in Canada

Canadian wine appellations are regulated by the Vintners Quality Alliance system. The system covers the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.[citation needed]

British Columbia is divided into four "Designated Viticultural Areas" ("DVAs"): Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, and the Similkameen Valley. Ontario includes three DVAs: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, and Prince Edward County.[3]

On June 11, 2012, Nova Scotia launched its first appellation, Tidal Bay.[4][5]

United States

See also: List of American Viticultural Areas

The American Viticultural Area ("AVA") is for the United States. The only requirement to use an AVA name on the wine label is that 85% of the wine must have come from grapes grown within the geographical AVA boundaries. The first AVA was in Augusta, Missouri, in June 1980. The approval of the Augusta AVA was based largely on its long historical relationship with wine in the United States.[6] The Augusta wine-growing area is a 15-square-mile (39 km2) plot of land along the Missouri River, which moderates temperature and provides an appropriate climate for growing grapes.[7]

States or counties can also be used in lieu of an AVA to designate the origin of a wine, provided that 75% of the grapes used in the wine are grown in the state or county listed on the label.

List of appellations

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Geoffrey W. Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995, ISBN 0-8028-3784-0, ISBN 978-0-8028-3784-4
  2. ^ Ezekiel 27:18 Damascus was your merchant for the multitude of your handiworks, by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches, with the wine of Helbon, and white wool
  3. ^ "VQA Ontario · the Appellations · Overview".
  4. ^ "Tidal Bay Nova Scotia's Signature Appellation". Gaspereau Vineyards. Gaspereau Vineyards. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  5. ^ "Tidal Bay: Nova Scotia's Signature Wine". Wines of Nova Scotia. Wine Growers Nova Scotia (WGNS). Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  6. ^ Pingelton, Tim (December 8, 2005). "The Soul of Augusta". Appellation American. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008.
  7. ^ "Augusta Viticultural Area" (27 CFR 9 [T.D. ATF-72; Notice No. 325] Final rule). Federal Register. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). June 20, 1980. pp. 41632–41634.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ "ONDOV". August 7, 2004. Archived from the original on August 7, 2004. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation - Table of Australian Geographical Indications with links to maps". Archived from the original on April 22, 2006. Retrieved March 11, 2006. Australian Geographical Indications