Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée

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French AOC logo

Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (abbreviated AOC ; French for about "controlled designation of origin ") was a protective seal for certain agricultural products from France and Switzerland , such as wine , champagne , calvados , butter , cheese and olive oil . In 2014 it finally resulted in the EU- wide system of protected designations of origin .


The Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité (INAO) granted the AOC rights and decided on all related issues.

The prerequisite for the issue of the AOC certificate was compliance with certain control provisions:

  • Manufacturing must be done in a traditional way throughout.
  • The ingredients must come from a certain geographical area and the product must be produced in this region and at least partially ripened.
  • The properties of the product must be approximately constant and meet clearly defined quality standards.
  • The production is strictly monitored and regulated by a control commission based on AOC standards and adhering to them itself.

Under French law it was forbidden to manufacture or sell products under AOC-protected names if they did not meet the required conditions. Not even parts of names were allowed to be used, which - since many AOC names show a connection with the place of manufacture - led to the strange situation that other local manufacturers without AOC certification were only allowed to use the postcode as an indication of origin on their products. With the exception of champagne , all AOC-certified products were identified by a seal on the label or the rind (for cheese). Was the seal missing, e.g. B. with Bordeaux wine, then the AOC character of the wine, z. B. des Médoc, given as "Appellation Médoc Côntrolée", not as "Médoc AOC".


The history of the AOC label goes back to the 15th century, when the production of Roquefort was regulated by a parliamentary decree.

In 1905, a first law made it possible to officially determine the areas of origin of certain products. Quality requirements were not yet planned. Another law from 1919 referred the competence for these determinations to the courts, which resulted in protracted legal disputes in many regions. On July 30, 1935, the INAO (Institut national des appellations d'origine des vins et des eaux-de-vie) was finally established by law, which decides on the granting of AOC rights and all related questions and disputes. It reviews the relevant provisions, which are then issued by decree by the Ministry of Agriculture in Paris . The law of July 2, 1990 finally extended the powers of the INAO to all agricultural products.

Many other countries took the AOC system as a model for their own quality seals, for example Italy in 1963 with the DOP ( Denominazione d'Origine Protetta ) and DOC ( Denominazione di Origine Controllata ), also DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) , Spain with the Denominación de Origen , Portugal with the Denominação de Origem Controlada , Austria with the DAC ( Districtus Austriae Controllatus ) and South Africa with the Wine of Origin .

In Europe , the individual national systems culminated in the EU- wide system of protected designations of origin , to which the individual country systems, including Switzerland, were aligned. They are the result of an EU reform for the common order of the markets. Protection consists of two levels: protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) or corresponding translations in the respective official languages ​​of the European Union . A transitional rule applied until 2014. Until then, the old name AOC could also be used.,

Today, in individual cases in addition to the EU system, the AOC or the other systems are used either in parallel or alternatively for labeling because they are more widely known, but the common European system is gradually gaining acceptance.


There are over 400 French AOC wines (since 2009 they have been called AOP wines ); they make up around 40% of the French vineyards and around 30% of the wine produced (for a list, see viticulture in France ).

An AOC ( AOP ) is based on the terroir idea: The wine produced must have a clearly definable identity based on its origin. It must also reflect local tradition.

However, the AOC seal alone is not a guarantee of the highest quality. In some growing areas such as Bordeaux , in addition to the appellation d'origine, the château and its cru (= plant) are decisive. The Crus Classés were first established in 1855 and denote the top plants in the region ( see : Classification in Bordeaux ).

In addition to wine, AOC is an important marketing characteristic for cheese in France and Switzerland. Only 43 of the more than 1000 French cheeses are allowed to carry the controlled designation of origin, in Switzerland there are only seven. In addition, calvados, pommeau, cider, Poiré, beurre d'Isigny, Rheintaler Ribelmais , Eau de vie de poire du Valais, Abricotine , Cardon épineux genevois , Valais rye bread and Valais saffron bear the label.

The Lorraine Mirabelle spirit has been marketed since 1953 under the statute of the appellation d'origine réglementée (AOR) . Since this should disappear by 2014 according to an EU resolution, on November 3, 2011 the national committee of the Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité approved the transition to the status of AOC. A specification sheet for the fruit harvest as well as its storage and processing was drawn up. The statute is to apply to an area of ​​1,260 municipalities that have been selected according to geological, climatic and historical criteria.

AOC for Swiss wines

In 1988, an AOC regulation was introduced for Swiss wines for the first time. This was done for the terroirs in the canton of Geneva . Valais and the Neuchâtel region followed in 1990, Ticino in 1997 (here called DOC, Denominazione di origine controllata).

The appellation can be awarded by the canton (e.g. AOC Valais ) or by the municipality ( e.g. AOC Yvorne ). In order for a wine to receive this title, strict production guidelines must be met by the respective winemaker. These can differ in the regions and are usually based on the following parameters: tillering, density of the vines , yield per square meter, low sugar content (depending on the grape variety) and process details during production. Laws have been passed on this in the cantons relevant to viticulture. Thereby, differentiated restrictions for the yields per square meter are set for red and white wines in order to ensure the desired high quality criteria.

In order to highlight the top of the quality wines more clearly, additional attributes are awarded according to additional strict regulations. In the canton of Geneva the AOC is Premier Cru , in the canton of Valais it is AOC Grand Cru and in the canton of Vaud they are given in several grades. The quality label of Ticino is Viti and stands for Vini Ticinesi and can only be awarded to Merlot wines. The canton of Neuchâtel enables cantonal, communal or regional appeals. AOC ratings were also introduced in the German-speaking cantons, initially in Aargau , Lucerne , Schaffhausen and St. Gallen .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Julien Bénéteau: Un créneau haut de gamme. L'idée d'une AOC pour l'eau-de-vie de mirabelle aura mis du temps à aboutir. Le Quotidien, December 20, 2011. p. 15
  2. a b c Paul Verrer, Eva Zwahlen: Swiss Wine Guide 2004/2005 . Zurich (Werd Verlag) 2004. ISBN 3-85932-479-9