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Viticulture Oenology

The role of this section is to monitor and control the practices and processes utilised in the production of wine grapes and wine products. In addition, the unit also regulates the labelling of these products and the quality requirements which these products must conform to, in order to be placed on the market.

Wine Quality Schemes

The wine quality scheme is the framework within which the DOK and IĠT wines are produced and regulated.  

DOK wines are PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) wines produced from grapes cultivated in Malta and Gozo and are designated as wines having a “Denominazzjoni ta’ Oriġini Kontrollata”. The IĠT wines are PGI (Protected Geographicala Indication) wines produced from grapes cultivated in Malta and Gozo and are designated as wines with an “Indikazzjoni Ġeografika Tipika”The Maltese DOK Wines are divided into two categories of wine. DOK “Malta” wines can only be produced from grapes grown on the island of Malta whereas DOK “Gozo” wines can only be produced from grapes grown on the island of Gozo. Both denominations of origin are reserved for red, white and rosé wines. IĠT wines are produced from grapes cultivated on both the islands of Malta and Gozo and are therefore termed IĠT “Maltese Islands”. This term is also reserved for red, white and rosé wines.

The definitions, technical specifications and all the quality parameters that must be respected during their production of the DOK and IĠT, in order to classify as such wines are laid down in S.L. 436.05S.L. 436.06 and S.L. 436.07. Both regulations fall under the umbrella of the Wine Act, 2001 (CAP 436), laying down the general principles and requirements for the operation of the wine sector in Malta and  GozoThe certification of these wines involves the collection of wine samples by officials from the Agriculture Directorate from wineries who apply to participate in this scheme and submitting the wine samples to accredited certification body appointed by the Ministry through a tendering procedure.  The wines that successfully pass this certification process are awarded DOK and IĠT status, identified by the presence of the banderoles on the wine bottle.

For this purpose, the Directorate performs several tasks in order to monitor and control the wine sector and ensure that wine laws are enforced on the national territory. These  include regular inspections that are carried out in the wineries during the harvest period to monitor the quality of the wine grapes arriving at the wineries, maintaining a Vineyard Register with all the information regarding the areas that are planted with vine in Malta and Gozo, implements a certification system for DOK/IGT wines and collects data such as the yearly grape harvest, wine production and wine stocks to monitor the wine market.

Other objectives :

  • Control the quality parameters of IGT and DOK wines in order to ensure that they conform to the specifications laid down in the respective Regulations.
  • Maintain the Vineyard Register for Malta and Gozo.
  • Carry out research projects in Viticulture and Oenology, aimed at improving the local wine sector. - Regularly hold Wine Regulations Board meetings aimed at monitoring the implementation of the Wine Act and discuss policies, regulations and other issues covered by this Act.

LEGAL BASIS:

The viticulture and oenology sector is regulated nationally by the Wine Act, 2001 (CAP 436). This act came into effect on the 23rd October 2001 and lays down the general principles and requirements for the operation of the wine sector in Malta and Gozo. The Wine Act also covers the rules as regards the vineyard register, vintners' licences, compulsory declarations and the gathering of information to monitor the wine market.

Under the umbrella of the Wine Act are a number of Legal Notices (L.N.) that cover specific wine sector aspects:

  • The Denomination of Origin and Geographic Indications Regulations, 2006 (L.N. 190 of 2006) lays down detailed rules relating to categories of grapevine products, oenological practices and restrictions.
  • The DOK (Wines) Production Protocols Regulations, 2011(L.N. 168 of 2011) and the IGT (Wines) Production Protocols Regulations, 2007 (L.N. 167 of 2007) regulate wines having a Denomination of Controlled Origin (Denominazzjoni ta' Origini Kontrollata) and wines having a Typical Geographical Indication (Indikazzjoni Geografika Tipika) respectively. These Regulations lay down detailed rules relating to these two wine product categories, oenological practices, labelling and presentation requirements, traditional terms and restrictions.
  • The Classification of Vine Varieties (Production of Wine Grapes) Regulations, 2006 (L.N. 188 of 2006, lists those wine grape varieties that may be cultivated on the islands of Malta and Gozo for the production of wine products.
  • The Wine and Vitivinicultural Products (Stocks Declaration) Regulations, 2006 (L.N. 189 of 2006​), covers the rules as regards the compilation of the stocks declaration of wines and musts.

DIRECTORATE'S ROLE:

The Directorate performs several tasks in order to monitor and control the wine sector and ensure that wine laws are enforced on the national territory:

  • Regular inspections are carried out in wineries during the harvest period in order to monitor the chemical parameters of the wine grapes arriving at the wineries for compliance with the requirement for DOK and IGT wine production.
  • A Vineyard Register is maintained with all the information regarding the farmers who cultivate vines, the areas that are planted with vine in Malta and Gozo and the vine varieties that are cultivated. The information that is contained within this registers is utilised by the Agriculture Directorate for statistical purposes, in order to monitor vineyard plantings and maintain a record of all the farmers who cultivate vines. The maintenance of a vineyard register is an obligation under the Wine Act 2001.
  • A certification system is implemented for DOK/IGT wines. Wine samples are collected for certification four times a year. Wines destined for IGT certification are chemically tested in order to verify that their chemical parameters comply with the specifications for IGT wines, whereas wines that are destined for DOK certification are not only tested chemically but also organoleptically in order to verify that they do not possess any sensory defects. Only wines that are found to be compliant with the chemical/sensorial parameters as laid down in the DOK/IGT production protocols and which are certified by the Agriculture Directorate may be labelled as DOK/IGT wines.
  • Data on the yearly grape harvest, wine production and wine stocks is collected from vine growers and vintners in order to monitor the wine market. These are all obligations under the Wine Act 2001

For relevant application forms and information sheets, please Click Here​​