The first of Italy’s grape-grower/winemaker consortium was established on May 14, 1924, when a group of 33 producers gathered in Radda in Chianti to create a consortium to protect Chianti wine and its trademark of origin.

In fact, famous Chianti wine was being imitated in other parts of Tuscany and it was necessary to set up an organization to prevent imitations and simultaneously promote a wine territory already delimited in 1716 by an edict issued by Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III. Members of the newly founded consortium immediately chose as a trademark the Black Rooster, historic symbol of the ancient Chianti Military League, and by the end of September 1924 the Consortium had 189 members.

From 1924 to 1967 the Consortium was engaged in long and difficult legal battles to obtain exclusive recognition of the fact that wines made in Chianti territory are different from the wines made elsewhere in Tuscany. A first important step in this direction was the 1932 ministerial decree that identified seven distinct zones of Chianti wine production: the wine made within Chianti’s geographical borders was permitted to use the adjective “Classico” to distinguish it from the others. This concession acknowledged the wine’s territoriality, origin and primogeniture well before the denomination system was introduced. From that moment on, “Classico” meant “the first” or “the original.” Another milestone was reached in 1967 with the approval of a decree recognizing a single Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) for Chianti, within which “Classico” was regulated as a wine with more selective characteristics.

In 1984 Chianti – and consequently the oldest zone of origin, Chianti Classico – obtained Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed (D.O.C.G.) status, the highest recognition for fine Italian wines. Three years later, in 1987, and in anticipation of an imminent law that would oblige tutelary consortiums to grant the trademark to all users of the appellation, the Consortium divided its operations between two organizations: the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico (Chianti Classico Wine Consortium), which was engaged in protection and oversight, and the Consorzio Black Rooster (later the Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico or Historic Chianti Classico Brand Consortium) devoted instead to promoting and valorizing wines bearing the Black Rooster trademark. Finally, concluding a 70-year legal itinerary, a ministerial decree issued on August 5, 1996 gave Chianti Classico its own D.O.C.G., with production regulations different from those for Chianti wine. Since then Chianti and Chianti Classico have been two separate denominations, with different regulations and production zones.

The start of the new millennium saw some determinant steps taken in defining the current “Chianti Classico system”. In June of 2005 the Historical Chianti Classico Brand Consortium was incorporated into the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium. After the merger the Black Rooster trademark was made part of the state hallmark and therefore compulsorily applied to all Chianti Classico wine bottles. The Black Rooster thus returned to being the univocal symbol of all Chianti Classico, taking on a connotation that strongly identifies the territory and the entire production chain.
Finally, since 2007 consumers have been able to check, through Internet, the genesis and history of a wine bottle by means of the serial number given on the state hallmark (the pink neckband distinguishing DOCG wines).

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