Welcome to the official webpage dedicated to Maltese Quality Wines. This webpage has the objective to provide all the necessary information regarding quality wines. The legal framework for the production of quality wines is within CAP 436 of the Wine Act, as further specified by Subsidiary Legislation 436.05, S.L 436.06 and S.L 437.07

Quality Wines may be produced only:

  1. From grapes of vine varieties which appear on the approved or recommended list, and which are harvested within a specified region
  2. By processing grapes into grape must and processing the must thus obtained into wine, as well as by the production of such wine within the specified region where the grapes used were harvested.

In this regard each specified region must be precisely demarcated as far as possible on the basis on the individual vineyard or vineyard plot, such demarcation must consider the factors which contribute towards the quality of the wines produced in those regions, such as the nature of the soil, the climate, and the situation of the individual vineyard or plot.


Quality Control Performed for the Production of Quality Wines

With reference to quality wines produced in specified regions, CAP 436 (Art. 12) states that: Each specified region shall be precisely demarcated, as far as possible, on the basis of the individual vineyard or vineyard plot; such demarcation shall take into account the factors which contribute towards the quality of the wines produced in those regions, such as the nature of the soil and sub-soil, the climate and the situation of the individual vineyard or vineyard plot.
Quality wines are made from grapes cultivated only on the islands of Malta and Gozo, in accordance with the highest quality requirements. Grapes used to make high-quality wines are grown under tight guidelines. There are restrictions, for example, on the number of grapes grown per hectare. Lower yields are preferred to ensure that the grapes grow uniformly and are high in sugars and smells. In order to generate Quality Wines, the grapes must also meet certain criteria, such as a minimum sugar content, below which the grapes cannot be utilised to produce Quality Wines.

The great quality of the grapes is due to unique procedures used in the vineyard to regulate grape output to retain their qualities and guarantee that they are rich in sugars, have good acidity, and have a vivid colour at maturity. These efforts, however, need extra time and money on the side of the winery. IĠT and DOK wines are all high-quality wines manufactured under stringent controls to guarantee that they meet all food safety standards and are made from high-quality grapes.

In the production protocols of DOK wines, several elements must be established:

  1. the Denomination of Origin (the geographical designation of a viticultural region used to generate a high-quality, well-known product), as well as the various subregions and wine type.
  2. the grape-producing region is defined, and areas that are not especially devoted to quality are excluded.
  3. the production circumstances, particularly the natural qualities of the environment, such as climate, soil, orientation, altitude, and exposure.
  4. the ampelographic scope, which includes the vine varieties that comprise the several wine typologies and their percentage usage.
  5. the minimum vine density and the training forms, pruning systems, and the prohibition of an elevated production.
  6. the maximum yield expressed in wine per hectare, is based on the quantitative and qualitative results of the preceding five years. The limits of yield in wine per hectare may be differentiated by variety, subregion, and fractions.
  7. the minimal natural alcoholic content of grapes during harvesting should be based on the past five years’ results and shall be different for each vine type and subregion involved. This value must satisfy the European Union standards for community viticultural zones. Within the same region, the aforementioned natural alcoholic content of DOK wines must be gradually higher than that of IĠT wines.
  8. the vinification protocols, which include: the region of vinification, the region of bottling, for the various typologies; the methods of grape processing, the eventual date on which it is placed on the market, as well as the boundaries to any oenological practices permitted by Community and national regulations (enrichment, acidification, etc.).
  9. the wine’s physical-chemical and organoleptic properties, including the minimum alcoholic content in volume per volume of the various wine typologies upon consumption.
  10. the specifications and procedures for the possibility of a minimal period of ageing in wooden barrels and maturation in the bottle.
  11. any special requirements for labelling and presentation, such as optional remarks, references to a locality, character size and positioning on the label, the use of the vintage year on the label and the rules for maintaining it in the case of combining wines from various vintages.

Quality Wines in Malta

Malta has 3 wine categories, namely, DOK Malta, DOK Gozo and IĠT Maltese Islands. These are registered wines with the European Union and these wine names are protected accordingly by EU law, via GI (‘Geographical Indication’) recognition. Moreover, these Maltese wines can be granted a GI since they have a specific link to the place where they are produced, therefore, enabling consumers to trust and distinguish quality products, while also helping producers to market their products more efficiently. The process involved entails lots of work and dedication to ensure the utmost quality. DOK stands for ‘Denominazzjoni ta’ Oriġini Kontrollata’ (controlled denomination of origin) whilst IĠT stands for ‘Indikazzjoni Ġeografika Tipika’ (typical geographic origin). Both are related to the product’s origin, in this case wine. Malta officially implemented the wine quality scheme framework more than a decade ago, which is based on the EU system for quality wines and allows vintners and local wine producers to designate certified products as DOK or IĠT wines in accordance with EU and local legislation.

After the wine has fermented, tasting is the next stage in guaranteeing that the consumer is delivered a GI wine that adheres to the production process to the letter. As a result, any wine that aspires to be recognized as DOK or IĠT must undergo precise chemical analysis to ensure that it adheres to the protocol’s standards. The Agriculture Directorate in Malta collects samples from wineries five or more times per year as needed. To guarantee full responsibility and traceability, sample taking is also recorded in a special register held by the winery and signed by police and a winery official. Only after sampling and analysis are the wines confirmed as completely complying with the production process can they be certified as DOK or IĠT. Certification ensures that the minimal chemical and sensory standards have been satisfied.

This is the main feature that has contributed to the success of GI marking for wines throughout the EU, and therefore also in Malta. Wines may only be certified if they go through this arduous process. This is the secret that every GI wine contains and that wineries all over the EU are pleased to provide to clients all over the world.

There are 3 main stakeholders involved;


The growers work hard all year round to maintain the vineyards healthy and productive. Besides producing top quality grapes, they maintain beautiful green vineyards amidst an otherwise dry Maltese landscape in the summer months.



The Wineries transform the grapes produced by the growers or on their estates in white, red or rosé quality wines of various typologies. In order to obtain the certification of DOK or IĠT quality, the wineries need to adhere to strict production protocols.


The Directorate monitors and controls the whole process from the vineyard to the market by performing inspections at vineyards, inspections at grape harvest, sampling and certification at an accredited laboratory and finally checks at market level.


Malta’s climate is typically Mediterranean and is much influenced by its surrounding sea. The monthly mean air temperature ranges from 9.9°C (during the winter period) to 31.7°C (during the summer period).



Gozo’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typically Mediterranean. Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.