A term describing a designated area for grape-growing or food production, which is controlled by governmental (federal, local or both) rules and regulations regarding how wine or foodstuffs are produced. For wine, this includes such matters as which grape varieties do best in particular climates and soils, viticultural and winemaking practices, allowable yields per acre, alcohol content of the wine, and so on. For food productscheese, for examplethe regulations might dictate which breed of cattle the milk must come from, what type of feed the animals must eat and the minimum fat content for the cheese. Such rules vary from country to country but are analogous in their attempt to stimulate the production of quality wines and foods. Countries with their own appellation systems include France (Appellation d'origine ContrôléeAOC), Italy (Denominazione di Origine ControllataDOC), Portugal (Denominação de OrigenDO) and Spain (Denominación de OrigenDO). However, the appellation systems of individual countries are being replaced slowly by those of the European Union (EU). The two most widely used criteria are protected designation of origin and protected geographical indicationsets of standards that apply to all EU-member countries. In the United States, foodstuffs are not yet regulated by such "protected name" regulations, but rather only by USDA rules and regulations that apply to how a product is produced. Wine regions in the United States are governed by american viticultural area regulations, which are not as restrictive as those for most European appellations.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.