Classification order of Spanish Wine appellations – What do DOP, DOCa, DOQ, VP, VC, IGP Mean?

The denominación de origen system in Spain is used to regulate the quality and geographical origin of Spanish food and drink products. This system is similar to that found in other European countries, and is part of EU regulations. The denominación de origen system covers products such as cheese, olive oil, ham, and vinegar, but here we will outline how it works for the wines of Spain.

The wine region classification in Spain uses a hierarchical form in which the Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) is a mainstream grading, equivalent to the French AOC and the Italian DOC. It translates as Protected Denomination of Origin. The Spanish DOP is a subset of the EU-sponsored Quality Wine Produced in Specific Regions (QWPSR) regulatory code (vino de calidad producido en región determinada (VCPRD) in Spanish) which Spain formally adopted in 1986, when they joined the EEC. In 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain (Ministerio de Agricultura,Pesca y Alimentación) outlined the changes in the naming categories for the wine appellations, which is as follows:

  1. Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP)
    1. Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa)
    2. Denominación de Origen (DO)
    3. Vino de Pago (VP)
    4. Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica (VC)
  2. Indicación Geográfica Protegida (IGP)
  3. Vino de Mesa (table wine)

In 2019 Spain had 138 wine regions under some form of geographical classification – 2 DOCa/DOQ, 68 DO, 7 VC, 19 VP, and 42 VT. The majority of the wine produced in Spain falls under the DOP appellation – our other article gives the breakdown of Spanish wine per appellation for the 2017/2018 campaign.

Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP)

A designation of origin is one of the quality figures that encompasses the concept DOP. DOPs identify products originating in a geographical place, whose quality and characteristics are due to the link with that place and to the natural and human factors inherent therein and in which the production process takes place entirely in that geographical area.

In Spain there are 96 DOPs, that are subdivided into DOCa, DO, VP, and VC:

  • 2 DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada)
  • 68 DO (Denominación de Origen)
  • 19 VP (Vino de Pago)
  • 7 VC (Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica)

The sub-categories can be called DOP, or they can use the traditional terms of DOCa, DO, VP, and VC.

Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa)

The DOCa (Qualified Denomination of Origin in English) is the highest category in Spanish wine law, reserved for regions with above-average prices along with stringent quality controls. The DOCa was created in 1988 when Spain joined the EEC. Initially Rioja was the sole DOCa, eventually joined by Priorat in 2003. (Priorat uses the designation DOQ, for ‘denominació d’origen qualificada’ in the Catalan language.)

In addition to the requirements for DO, the following must be met:

  • That at least ten years have elapsed since its recognition as DO
  • All bottled wine is sold from registered warehouses and located in the defined geographical area
  • Have a control system from production to commercialization with respect to quality and quantity, including physical-chemical and organoleptic control by homogeneous lots of limited volume
  • Coexistence is prohibited in the same winery with wines without the right to DOCa, except for VP wines from the same territory
  • It must have a cartographic delimitation, by municipalities, of the land suitable for producing wines entitled to DOCa

In 2109, Spain had two DOCa wine regions – Rioja in the Alto Ebro region and Priorat in Catalonia.

Denominación de Origen (DO)

Until 1988 this was the highest category of Spanish wine, and comparable to France’s AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). All the DOs have their own regulatory bodies called Consejos Reguladores, that are responsible for creating and maintaining the definition of each DO. These rules include which grape varieties are permitted, the ageing, and the types of wine. The DOs are a specific region, county, locality, or particular place that has been administratively recognized to designate wines that meet the following conditions:

  • Have been made in the region, region, locality or specific place, with grapes from it
  • Enjoy high prestige in commercial traffic in response to its origin
  • Whose quality and characteristics are fundamentally or exclusively due to the geographical environment that includes natural and human factors
  • In addition to having passed at least five years since its recognition as a quality wine with geographical indication (IGP)

In Spain there were 68 DOs in 2019.

Vino de Pago (VP)

The VP category was introduced in 2003, along with the VC category. Pago means vineyard, so the VP category is for single estate wines. The VP status entails that the estate is perceived to be one of the great estates in Spain and that it can exist outside of an established DO. The wine from a VP must be wholly created and bottled within that domain. Each VP is allowed to draw up its own rules, the grapes used, and the methods of viticulture, vinification, and aging, which provides flexibility not previously seen in Spanish wine regulations.

To date this new category has been recognised by  Navarra, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia y Aragón only, and as of 2019 there were 19 VP wines. Not everyone is convinced with this category. For example, Robinson and Harding (2015) have suggested that ‘arguably too many’ estate wines are in this category of “supposedly exceptionally high-quality, single estate wines”.

Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica (VC)

In 2003, the categories VC and Vino de Pago (VP) were introduced. For VC (Quality Wine with Geographic Indication in English), it is a wine produced and made in a region, county, locality or particular place with grapes from them, whose quality, reputation or characteristics are due to the geographical environment, the human factor or both, in regard to the production of the grape, wine making or aging. The VC category is used for wines that do not fully meet the stringent standards of the DO category, but are above the standards of the VT/IGP category. In 2019 there were seven VC wine regions.

Indicación Geográfica Protegida (IGP)

The IGP wine is a product originating from a specific place, a region or a country, which has a certain quality, reputation, or other characteristic that can be essentially attributed to its geographical origin, and has production phases, at least one of which takes place in the defined geographical area. These can and do use the traditional term Vino de la Tierra (VT).

Vino de la Tierra VT or VdT (“Country Wine”)

Vino de la Tierra is the quality level above Vino de Mesa, and falls under the category of IGP. This category mirrors the Vins de Pays of French wine. A Vino de la Tierra is a wine from a particular place, but with few specifications of grape varieties, yields, site, or, aging. To qualify, at least 85% of the wine needs to come from the named production area. As of 2019, there are 42 VTs.

Vino de Mesa (table wine)

The Vino de Mesa category is the lowest rung on Spain’s wine quality ladder, comprising wines without geographical indication and that do not have to meet the requirements of wines from protected geographical areas. It also includes grapes that have been declassified through blending not allowed under the regulations of other categories.

Wine appellations in Spain

Below is a list of the wine appellations in Spain as of 2019, with links to our guides to the wine regions of Spain. Do you want to learn more about Spanish wines. Why not check out our private wine tours where you can savour the best of Spanish wines.

List of the wine appellations in Spain as of 2019 includes the wine region, autonomous region, name, indication type (DOP (Denominación de Origen Protegida) or IGP (Indicación Geográfica Protegida)), traditional term (DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada), DO (Denominación de Origen), VC (Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica), and VP (Vino de Pago)), and the File number
Wine RegionAutonomous RegionNameIndication TypeTraditional TermFile No. assigned by the Commission
Alto EbroSupra-autonomous regionRiojaDOPDOCaPDO-ES-A0117
NavarraNavarraDOPDOPDO-ES-A0127
NavarraPago de ArínzanoDOPVPPDO-ES-A0183
NavarraPago de OtazuDOPVPPDO-ES-A0184
NavarraPrado de IracheDOPVPPDO-ES-A0182
La RiojaValles de SadaciaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0511
Navarra3 RiberasIGPVTPGI-ES-A0128
AndalusianAndalucíaCondado De HuelvaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1485
AndalucíaGranadaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1475
AndalucíaJerez-Xérès-SherryDOPDOPDO-ES-A1483
AndalucíaMálagaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1481
AndalucíaManzanilla Sanlúcar de BarramedaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1482
AndalucíaMontilla - MorilesDOPDOPDO-ES-A1479
AndalucíaMálagaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1480
AndalucíaLebrijaDOPVCPDO-ES-A1478
AndalucíaAltiplano de Sierra NevadaIGPVTPDO-ES-A1402
AndalucíaBailénIGPVTPGI-ES-A1404
AndalucíaCádizIGPVTPGI-ES-A1405
AndalucíaCórdobaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1406
AndalucíaCumbres del GuadalfeoIGPVTPGI-ES-A1407
AndalucíaDesierto de AlmeríaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1408
AndalucíaLaderas del GenilIGPVTPGI-ES-A1409
AndalucíaLaujar-AlpujarraIGPVTPGI-ES-A1410
AndalucíaLos PalaciosIGPVTPGI-ES-A1411
AndalucíaNorte de AlmeríaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1412
AndalucíaRibera del AndaraxIGPVTPGI-ES-A1414
AndalucíaSierra norte de SevillaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1415
AndalucíaSierra sur de JaénIGPVTPGI-ES-A1416
AndalucíaSierras de las Estancias y los FilabresIGPVTPGI-ES-A1417
AndalucíaTorreperogilIGPVTPGI-ES-A1418
AndalucíaVillaviciosa de CórdobaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1419
AragoneseAragónCalatayudDOPDOPDO-ES-A0247
AragónCampo de BorjaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0180
AragónCariñenaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0043
AragónSomontanoDOPDOPDO-ES-A0534
AragónAylésDOPVPPDO-ES-A1522
AragónBajo AragónIGPVTPGI-ES-A1362
AragónRibera del Gállego-Cinco VillasIGPVTPGI-ES-A0245
AragónRibera del JilocaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0244
AragónValdejalónIGPVTPGI-ES-A0246
AragónValle del CincaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0181
BalearicsIslas BaleresBinissalemDOPDOPDO-ES-A1056
Islas BaleresPla i LevantDOPDOPDO-ES-A1038
Islas BaleresFormenteraIGPVTPGI-ES-A0875
Islas BaleresIbizaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0110
Islas BaleresIlles BalearesIGPVTPGI-ES-A0947
Islas BaleresIsla de MenorcaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0870
Islas BaleresMallorcaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0960
Islas BaleresSerra de Tramuntana-Costa NordIGPVTPGI-ES-A0103
CanarianCanariasAbonaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0975
CanariasEl HierroDOPDOPDO-ES-A1250
CanariasGran CanariaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0112
CanariasLa GomeraDOPDOPDO-ES-A0111
CanariasLa PalmaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0510
CanariasLanzaroteDOPDOPDO-ES-A0113
CanariasTacoronte-AcentejoDOPDOPDO-ES-A0115
CanariasValle de GüimarDOPDOPDO-ES-A0980
CanariasValle de la OrotavaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1040
CanariasYcoden-Daute-IsoraDOPDOPDO-ES-A0114
CanariasIslas CanariasDOPVCPDO-ES-A1511
CantabrianPaís VascoChacolí de Álava – Arabako TxacolinaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0732
País VascoChacolí de Bizkaia – Bizkaiko Txacolina DOPDOPDO-ES-A0746
País VascoChacolí de Getaria – Getariako TxacolinaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0741
AsturiasCangasDOPVCPDO-ES-A0119
CantabriaCosta de CantabriaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0129
CantabriaLiébanaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0130
CatalanCatalunyaPrioratDOPDOCaPDO-ES-A1560
CatalunyaAlellaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1423
CatalunyaCataluñaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1549
CatalunyaConca de BarberàDOPDOPDO-ES-A1422
CatalunyaCosters del SegreDOPDOPDO-ES-A1523
CatalunyaEmpordàDOPDOPDO-ES-A1548
CatalunyaMontsantDOPDOPDO-ES-A1550
CatalunyaPenedésDOPDOPDO-ES-A1551
CatalunyaPla de BagesDOPDOPDO-ES-A1557
CatalunyaTarragonaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1555
CatalunyaTerra AltaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1556
Central RegionCastilla- La ManchaAlmansaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0044
Castilla- La ManchaLa ManchaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0045
Castilla- La ManchaManchuelaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0046
Castilla- La ManchaMéntridaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0047
Castilla- La ManchaMondéjarDOPDOPDO-ES-A0048
Castilla- La ManchaRibera del JúcarDOPDOPDO-ES-A0049
Castilla- La ManchaUclésDOPDOPDO-ES-A0050
Castilla- La ManchaValdepeñasDOPDOPDO-ES-A0051
MadridVinos de MadridDOPDOPDO-ES-A1525
Castilla- La ManchaCalzadillaDOPVPPDO-ES-A0056
Castilla- La ManchaCampo de la GuardiaDOPVPPDO-ES-A0055
Castilla- La ManchaCasa del BlancoDOPVPPDO-ES-A0060
Castilla- La ManchaDehesa del CarrizalDOPVPPDO-ES-A0054
Castilla- La ManchaDominio de ValdepusaDOPVPPDO-ES-A0052
Castilla- La ManchaEl VicarioDOPVPPDO-ES-N1634
Castilla- La ManchaFinca ÉlezDOPVPPDO-ES-A0053
Castilla- La ManchaGuijosoDOPVPPDO-ES-A0058
Castilla- La ManchaLa JarabaDOPVPPDO-ES-01895
Castilla- La ManchaLos CerrillosDOPVPPDO-ES-02228
Castilla- La ManchaPago FlorentinoDOPVPPDO-ES-A0057
Castilla- La ManchaVallegarcíaDOPVPPDO-ES-02085
Castilla- La ManchaCastillaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0059
Del DueroCastilla y LeónArlanzaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0613
Castilla y LeónArribesDOPDOPDO-ES-A0614
Castilla y LeónBierzoDOPDOPDO-ES-A0615
Castilla y LeónCigalesDOPDOPDO-ES-A0622
Castilla y LeónRibera del DueroDOPDOPDO-ES-A0626
Castilla y LeónRuedaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0889
Castilla y LeónTierra de LeónDOPDOPDO-ES-A0882
Castilla y LeónTierra del Vino de ZamoraDOPDOPDO-ES-A0634
Castilla y LeónToroDOPDOPDO-ES-A0886
Castilla y LeónCebrerosDOPVCPDO-ES-02348
Castilla y LeónSierra de SalamancaDOPVCPDO-ES-A0631
Castilla y LeónValles de BenaventeDOPVCPDO-ES-A0646
Castilla y LeónValtiendasDOPVCPDO-ES-A0747
Castilla y LeónCastilla y LeónIGPVTPGI-ES-A0948
De LevanteMurciaBullasDOPDOPDO-ES-A0536
MurciaYeclaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0606
ValencianaAlicanteDOPDOPDO-ES-A1526
ValencianaUtiel-RequenaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0874
ValencianaValenciaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0872
ValencianaEl TerrerazoDOPVPPDO-ES-A0940
ValencianaLos BalaguesesDOPVPPDO-ES-A0941
ValencianaVera de EstenasDOPVPPDO-ES-N1665
MurciaCampo de CartagenaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0607
MurciaMurciaIGPVTPGI-ES-A0608
ValencianaCastellóIGPVTPGI-ES-A1173
ExtremaduranExtremaduraRibera del GuadianaDOPDOPDO-ES-A1295
ExtremaduraExtremaduraIGPVTPGI-ES-A1300
GalicianGaliciaMonterreiDOPDOPDO-ES-A1114
Rias BaixasRías BaixasDOPDOPDO-ES-A1119
Ribeira SacraRibeira SacraDOPDOPDO-ES-A1128
RibeiroRibeiroDOPDOPDO-ES-A1123
ValdeorrasValdeorrasDOPDOPDO-ES-A1132
GaliciaBarbanza e IriaIGPVTPGI-ES-A1255
GaliciaBetanzosIGPVTPGI-ES-A1257
GaliciaRibeiras do MorrazoIGPVTPGI-ES-02238
GaliciaValle del Miño-Ourense/ Val do Miño-
Ourense
IGPVTPGI-ES-A1259
Supra-regionSupra-autonomous regionJumillaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0735
Supra-autonomous regionCavaDOPDOPDO-ES-A0109
Supra-autonomous regionRibera del QueilesIGPVTPGI-ES-A0083

References

Robinson, J., Harding, J. 2015. The Oxford Companion to Wine. OUP. Oxford. 4th ed.

Ministerio de Agricultura,Pesca y Alimentación. 2019. https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/alimentacion/temas/calidad-agroalimentaria/calidad-diferenciada/dop/htm/informacion.aspx

Vinosdo.wine DO organisation http://vinosdo.wine/denominaciones-de-origen/que-es-una-denominacion-de-origen-de-vino/

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