Will an Italian wine bought in Italy be different from Italian wines sold in the U.S.?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

A friend has offered to bring some wines back from Italy. Will they be different from Italian wines sold in the U.S., in terms of alcohol content or sweetness?

—Mizel, Chicago

Dear Mizel,

A bottle of wine from a trip abroad is always a thoughtful gift. In any foreign country you’ll find wines that aren’t exported to the United States. They might be small-production wines, or made in a style more popular with locals than with Americans, but there’s nothing inherently or legally different about wines made abroad for domestic consumption vs. those made for export.

I checked in with Wine Spectator senior editor Alison Napjus, who reviews wines from both France and Italy: “Wines have varying alcohol levels, sweetness, etc., so it's almost impossible to generalize that Italian wines only available in Italy might be different from those available here in the U.S.”

She also noted something that I have experienced as well: the “vacation factor”—that phenomenon wherein we romanticize local wines while traveling. “The bottle that seems so amazing while you're sitting in a beautiful, historic piazza somewhere may not always be quite so fantastic when it's just part of a regular day at home,” she reminds us. Travelers can attach special meaning and affection to a wine tasted abroad, but those sentiments aren't necessarily going to be shared by someone who didn't make the trip.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Legal and Legislative Issues Winemaking Techniques Explained

More In Dr. Vinny

Is there any risk to a wine’s quality, or the health of people drinking it, if the winemaker adds too much yeast or nutrients for the fermentation?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains why there are limits to how much yeast …

Nov 11, 2019

What causes the blue tinge when I clean red wine out of my wineglass?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains why anthocyanins, which give red wine its …

Nov 8, 2019

Why are wines made from winemaking kits ready to drink so much sooner than commercially made wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why commercially made wines can take years to …

Nov 6, 2019

If a wine is aged in 55 percent new French oak, what is the other 45 percent?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how "new" and "used" oak barrels influence wines …

Nov 4, 2019

Some wine pros say bottles don't need to be stored on their sides. Is that true?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine bottles are stored on their sides, how …

Nov 1, 2019

What is malolactic fermentation? Does it occur naturally, or is it artificially induced? Does it change the taste of the wine?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains "ML"—how it happens, and how it affects the …

Oct 30, 2019




Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search