New Regulations from The IVDP
It is the responsibility of the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (Port and Douro Wine Institute, or IVDP) to regulate and monitor many facets of the Port wine industry as well as to promote Port wine throughout the world. Once a new regulation is to go into effect, it must first be published in the official governmental gazette, Diário da Republica. This daily newspaper prints all the laws and regulations decided upon and approved by the Portuguese Parliament, which is based in Lisbon. The new law officially goes into effect the moment of its publication and is made part of the public record.
The official nomenclature of the “Special Categories” of Port, as well as the laws governing these categories, has now been officially ratified by the IVDP’s Board of Directors. You are seeing the very first English language version of the new regulations. “Special categories” refers to the specific Port types such as Vintage, LBV, Colheita, etc.
I have been aware that modifications to existing laws were in the works, but not until I knew they appeared in the Diário da Republica on May 17th 2005, was I able to request that Mario Ferreira, the IVDP’s Marketing Coordinator and “unofficial Port Ambassador to North America,” translate them from Portuguese to English for this newsletter.
I am very grateful for his hard work in helping with the text that follows. Please note that the translation may vary slightly due to the difference in languages, and is an unofficial translation of the original document. I explained to Mario, that it would be a great service to those reading, FOR THE LOVE OF PORT, to understand the new regulations and be able to see the new names and regulations within the categories.
PLEASE NOTE: The text below is of a semi-technical nature and is meant for those with a serious interest in Port wine, or those in the wine business. Of course, it can be read and enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in learning more about Port wine.
THE PORT AND DOURO WINE INSTITUTE (IVDP)
Article 1: Special Categories
- The Special Categories of Port have been using traditional classifications (i.e. LBV, Vintage, Ruby, Tawny), which are also recognized by the current regulation which is associated to the aforementioned Denomination of Origin and are also regulated to the physical and organoleptic characteristics and also to the rules stated in this Regulation.
- “Vintage” - Port wine must already possess organoleptic characteristics (Roy’s Note: “organoleptic characteristics” = pertaining to the senses of taste, smell and texture) of exceptional quality, which is from the fruit of only one harvest, full red color and full-bodied, with fine aromas and flavors, recognized by the “The Douro and Port Wine Institute” (IVDP) with the right to use the Vintage Port designation and corresponding vintage year, in the terms of the following statements.
Article 2: Vintage Port
- To get approval for the designation “Vintage”, the Port cask samples should be delivered to the IVDP, in the 3rd week of the months from January to June of the 2nd year after the harvest, four sample bottles of the wine to be analysed, representative of the whole blend.
- At least 15 days before the beginning of the bottling, the Port producers and shippers may request that the IVDP provide an evaluation of the characteristics of the effective blends made to be bottled.
- At the beginning of the bottling, whose date should be announced to the IVDP, the Institute will collect five sample bottles and record the amount of the bottled wine, and wine in bulk.
- The last bottling should be made no later than by July 30th of the 3rd year counting from the year of the harvest and must be announced to the IVDP to update their official log.
- The commercialization, understood as the moment in which the product is introduced into the market place; can only start after May 1st of the 2nd year counting from the respective harvest.
- At the bottling line, dark glass bottles and natural cork closures should be utilized.
Article 3: Late Bottled Vintage or LBV
- “Late Bottled Vintage” or “LBV” - a Port wine must already posses high organoleptic characteristics, from the fruit of only one harvest, red color and full-bodied, of fine aroma and palate, recognized by the IVDP with express right to use the designation, in the terms of the following statements:
- To get Late Bottled Vintage or “LBV” approval should be delivered at the IVDP, between March 1st and September 30th of the 4th year counting from the harvest, four bottles samples of the wine to be analysed, representative of the whole blend to be made.
- At least 15 days before the beginning of the bottling, the economic agents (producers and merchants) may request of the IVDP, an evaluation of the characteristics of the effective blends made to be bottled.
- At the beginning to the bottling, whose date should be announced to the IVDP, the Institute will collect five bottles samples and record the amount of the wine bottled and in bulk.
- The last bottling may be made through December 31st of the 6th year counting from the year of the harvest and announced to the IVDP in order to update their records.
- The introduction of these Ports to the market place can commence immediately following approval and their registration with the IVDP.
- Port wine with the right to use Late Bottled Vintage or the LBV designation, and is then matured in bottled for a minimum period of 3 years, may use the nomenclature “Bottle matured” or “Envelhecido em garrafa”, if in Portuguese.
- In the case referred to in the previous paragraph, the Shipper/Producer must advise the IVDP, at the moment of the respective bottling, their intention to reserve some given quantity of wine for “Bottled matured” or “Envelhecido em garrafa.” This label will be approved after the required time in bottle, as previously mentioned.
Article 4: Port wine with date of harvest – “Colheita”
- “Colheita” or “Port Wine With Harvest Date” - Port wine, red or white, with high organoleptic characteristics from one harvest only, matured in wood for the minimum period of seven years after the harvest and recognized by the IVDP with the express right to use the designation, in the terms of the following statements:
- To get approval for Colheitas or Port wine with indication of harvest date, may be delivered at the IVDP, beginning September 1st of the 7th year counting from the date of the harvest, six sample bottles of the wine to be analyzed and approved without the possibility of making corrections to the wine.
- The introduction of these Ports to the market place can commence immediately following approval and their registration with the IVDP.
- Port wine with the right to use the term, “indication of harvest date” and after its wood maturation is kept inside glass receptacles for a minimum period of eight years, and bottled right after, could use the mention “Garrafeira”. (Roy’s Note: Garrafeira is the rarest category of Port and is basically a Colheita which is then stored in glass demijohns. Niepoort is the most well-known producer of this style of Port).
- In the case referred to in the previous paragraph, the Shipper/Producer must advise the IVDP, at the moment of the respective bottling, their intention to reserve some given quantity of wine for “Garrafeira”, whose label will be approved after the required time in cask and glass, as previously mentioned in paragraph 4.
- Port wine with the right to use “indication of harvest date” and aged for a period over 10 years may use the nomenclature, “Old” or Velho, and if it’s aged for over 40 years it may use the mention “Very Old” or Muito Velho.
Article 5: Tawny Port with an Indication of Age”
- “Tawny Port with an Indication of Age” - Port wine with high organoleptic characteristics, derived from wines matured in wood and a blend of several vintages in order to get complementary organoleptic characteristics recognized by the IVDP with express right to use the designation, in the terms of the following statements:
- The age specified in print on the label expresses the characteristics of the wine in respect to the organoleptic qualities created by the ageing in cask, which corresponds to the indicated age.
- To get the designation “Tawny Port with an Indication of Age” approved, six sample bottles should be delivered to the IVDP of the wine to be analyzed, representative of the blend produced.
- The ages authorized for labelling as “Tawny Ports with an Indication of Age” are:
- 10 years old
- 20 years old
- 30 years old
- “More than 40 years old” for all countries except the USA, in which this should be labeled “40 years old.”
(Roy’s Note: American authorities did not approve the nomenclature, “More than 40 years Old” as they considered it a vague term.)
- Tawny Port wine with an indication of age of 10 years, 20 years or 30 years may use mention “Velho” or “Old” and for an indication of age more than 40 years old, it can use the verbiage “Muito Velho” or “Very old.”
Article 6: Crusted Port
- “Crusted” - Port Wine with organoleptic characteristics of high quality, full red color and full bodied, at the time of bottling. It is in possession of fine aromas and flavors, obtained by the blending of wines of several years in order to achieve complementary organoleptic qualities, which will lead to the creation of sediment or a “crust” on the side of the bottle. The formation of the crust takes place as part of the maturation process, recognized by the IVDP with express right to use the designation, in the terms of the following statements:
- To get previous authorization for the “Crusted” designation, four sample bottles should be delivered at the IVDP of the wine to be analyzed, that should be representative of the organoleptic characteristics referred in the previous paragraph.
- The bottling of the wine analyzed previously for the “Crusted” designation, should be completed within 30 days of the evaluation, and the IVDP should be advised of the completion of the bottling process in order to record the quantities.
- The final recording of the wine previously evaluated is required to get approval for the introduction to the market place. It can only be made after the minimum of three years from the date of the previous approval, (referred to in # 2), the bottles must show the build up of sediment.
- The Port wine with the right to use the term “Crusted” is permitted to use the designation “Bottle matured” or “Envelhecido em garrafa” (Roy’s Note: which means bottle matured in Portuguese.)
Article 7: Reserva or Reserve Port
- “Reserva” or “Reserve” - Port Wine with organoleptic characteristics of very good quality, showing complexity in its aroma and flavor, achieved by the blending of wines in various stages of maturation that provide the wine specific organoleptic characteristics.
- To receive approval for the designation “Reserva”, six sample bottles should be delivered to the IVDP, which are representative of the blend produced for the “White” and “Tawny” Ports, or for the production of the “Ruby” blend. (Roy’s Note: “Reserve Ruby” replaces the term “Vintage Character”)
- Port Wine with the approval to use the designation “Reserva” or “Reserve” showing a red or full red color may in addition use the term “Ruby.”
- If the Port wine “Reserva” or “Reserve”, made from red or white grapes, is matured in wood for a minimum period of seven years, it can use the term “Tawny” or “Branco” or ”White” respectively.
- To the specific designation of “Reserva” or “Reserve” one and only one of the following terms can be added: “Especial” or “Special” or “Finest.” (Roy’s Note: for example, “Special Reserve” or “Reserva Especial” or “Finest Reserve”.)
Article 8: Common Clauses
- For wines with the right to use the designations referred to in this regulation, with exception to “Reserve” or “Ruby Reserve”, the quantities will be kept on record by the IVDP.
- The record of accounts indicating the specific vintage or year of the harvest for each Port company will be indexed along with the production for each specific year, in the official register of the IVDP.
- The Port wine classifications as specified in the official regulation document, must adhere to the specific sensory criteria, as noted. (Roy’s Note: there are rating points given for color, aroma, flavor, finish etc. and each specific category must meet a minimum standard score for that special category of Port, in order to receive approval to use that designation.)
Article 9: Final Clauses
- The use of the terms related to the vintage or year of harvest and to the year of bottling as well as other specific items in these new regulations can only occur in the conditions stated in the regulation or legislation.
- It is forbidden to use other terms, designations, brands, indications or any other sign or term not stated in the current regulation or legislation.
Article 10: Revoked Regulation
The regulation of the Special Categories approved by the General Council of the IVP on November 27th, 1973 is hereby revoked, with the exception of the Dispositions related to labelling, that will remain in effect until the revision of the regulation of the designation and presentation of Port wine of December 12, 1990, and the official directive #7 June 3rd 1997 and #12 of August 28th 1997.
Article 11: Effective Date of the New Regulations
The present regulation will be in effect at the moment of its publication in the Diário da República. Signed on April 18th, 2005. – by The Board of Directors of the IVDP.
Again, my sincere thanks to Mario Ferreira for creating the translated version of these regulations for this newsletter, shared here, for the rest of the world.