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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Nicolas Belfrage MW & Franco Ziliani

Italy's National Association of Wine Towns, which includes 488 communes, has, in association with the commune of Montefalco, Umbria, created the National Foundation Centre for Passito Wines of Italy. Its purpose is to protect and promote wines made from semi-dried grapes (on or off the vine) and to protect their systems of drying, or appassimento, via a system of regulation not provided by Italian national law (164/92) or European wine legislation. Italy has 110 IGTs, DOCs and DOCGs providing for the production of Vini Passiti. However, the current legislation confuses Passito wines with fortified wines, or vini liquorosi. Citt del Vino has proposed a modification to law 164/92 to the effect that, Passito wines are obtained exclusively from grapes subjected to surmaturation [drying] by natural or artificial methods, dry or sweet, without the addition of alcohol'.