Spotlight on the 16 Magnificent Wine Denominations of the Italian Region of Marche

Dubbed as "I Magnifici 16" which means The Magnificent 16, the Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini (IMT) or Marche Institute for the Protection of Wines, has ventured on a promotion project of Marche's 16 wine classifications by starting off on an event dedicated to the professional wine sector. IMT, established in 1999, is a consortium of 519 members representing 16 denominations in the region of Marche. The three-day event gave a full panoramic view of Marche's oenological amplitude focused on winery visits, tastings, presentations, meetings with wine producers, underlining the importance of the wine production in the region to the national and international markets. It was participated by over 120 wine producer and 70 national wine journalists. They believe that the wines of the 16 denominations have the excellence of quality and personalities to be conveyed and we, with our pens and and paper, and glasses filled up, have their story to relay. 

"The Marche region is a true paradise for tourists wine enthusiasts. Going up from the Adriatic coast to the eastern slopes of the Apennine mountains, the Marche in every corner holds a surprising diversity and filigreed, with different terroirs, mesoclimates and native vines, translated into a rich winemaking tradition. Our region is home to multiple varieties and styles of wine, which have evolved through centuries of trade and exchange with the numerous cultures they have passed through the Mediterranean. Our Institute represents sixteen denominations located between the provinces of Pesaro Urbino, Ancona and Macerata. We like to identify them with the nickname of THE MAGNIFICENT 16 bring with them quality and value. Waiting to be tasted and discovered, all I can do is wish you a good journey among our wines!" - Michele Bernetti, President of Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini (IMT)

"Le Marche, a unique mosaic of terroirs and denominations. The Marche Institute for the Protection of Wines (IMT) is an important "consortium of conzorzios" an umbrella institution bringing together representatives of 16 appellations from the Marche (12 DOC and 4 DOCG). The IMT is a one-of-a-kind organization which the multiple territories of the region come together to promote not only wine, but also culture, the traditions, gastronomic heritage and landscape of the Marche. IMT manufacturers know that their responsibility is, ultimately, that of interpreting and preserving a unique natural, cultural and historical heritage. A landscape of contrasts, which connects the past and the future, the mountains and the sea, the soft summer breezes and the harsh mountain gusts. All of these conspire to produce wines with character which are an invitation to enjoy and discover the many faces of Brands in every glass." - Alberto Mazzoni, Director of Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini (IMT)


The name Le Marche comes from the plural form of the word "marca", which was derived from the Frankish word "marka". It was used to refer to border territory on the edge of a domain. This was because, historically, the region was situated on the eastern border of the Papal States and the name reflects its role as a borderland territory.

There are twenty regions in Italy and Le Marche (or Marche) is one of them. Centrally located, bordered by Emilia-Romagna and the Republic of San Marino to the north, the Adriatic Sea to the east with a long and mostly flat coastline that stretches at 173 kilometers, Tuscany to the west, Umbria to its southwest and Abruzzo and Lazio regions to the south. Inland, the area is hilly and mountainous with the Apennine mountain range running longitudinally along the the eastern border that descends towards the sea. The lush hilly area covers two-thirds of the region with numerous small rivers, alluvial plains, gullies and deep gorges. It has a rich contribution to Italy's beautiful medieval hilltop towns, and cultural traditions and unique gastronomy.

The climate is generally characterized as Mediterranean. Generally, summers are warm and dry while winters are mild with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Whereas along the coastal areas, the climate is more temperate because of the moderating effect of the Adriatic Sea. However, the Appenine Mountains in the western part of the region provide colder temperatures in the inland area. In addition, with a varied topography of the region, there is a multitude of microclimates that are favorable viticulture.

The Wine Denominations

Like all of the regions of Italy, Marche has its own share of wine production. However, it doesn't have a high production volume compared to the other major producing regions like Tuscany, Veneto, Sicily, Piedmont and Puglia. What it does have is a smaller production of distinctive wines which are known for their high quality. 

The 16 wine denominations repreented by IMT in the region of Marche. DOCG: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva; Conero Riserva; Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva; and Vernaccia Serrapetrona. DOC: Bianchello del Metauro; Colli Maceratesi; Colli Pesaresi; Lacrima di Moro d'Alba; Esino; I Terreni di San Severino; Rosso Conero; Pergola; San Ginesio; Serrapetrona; Verdicchio di Jesi; and Verdicchio di Matelica; Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva; Conero Riserva; Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva; and Vernaccia Serrapetrona. DOC: Bianchello del Metauro; Colli Maceratesi; Colli Pesaresi; Lacrima di Moro d'Alba; Esino; I Terreni di San Severino; Rosso Conero; Pergola; San Ginesio; Serrapetrona; Verdicchio di Jesi; and Verdicchio di Matelica.

The rows of vineyards in Marche are among the most sustainable in Italy, with a biological impact on the vineyards that has reached almost 7,000 hectares which is equivalent to almost 40% of the total of 18,000 hectares of land cultivated for wine growing between the years of 2022 and 2023 (Source: Marche Region, Department of Agriculture).

The region has a 60% predominant cultivation of white grapes which is mostly Verdicchio and distributed with Passerina, Pecorino, Bianchello, Trebbiano Toscano, Chardonnay and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. Among the reds, the most important ones are Montepulciano and Sangiovese followed by Lacrima, Vernaccia, Ribona and Aleatico.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

The most notable and awarded wine of Marche is their white wine, Verdicchio. It is produced from the indigenous grape variety Verdicchio which is recognized for its crispy freshness, fruity with white pulp, floral and light almond flavors, to more complex and stronger organoleptic expressions of ripe tropical fruits, hints of mineral, sapidity and structure. Verdicchio grapes are characterized by a greenish shade that remains even at full maturity, to which the name of the vine comes from. It is a versatile wine that when young, is enjoyed for its youthful freshness but with more time, it shows a great potential for longevity as it acquires greater complexity and expressiveness. Verdicchio comes in two principal denominations from different origins: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.

The geographical area authorized for the production of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is located in territories of 25 municipalities of the province of Ancona and two of Macerata. The Appenines are on the west while the Adriatic Sea in on the east with Esino and Misa rivers cutting through the central part of the territory while Cesano and Musone run through the borders. The large part is the production area is located at the basin of the Esino River, in the province of Ancona. There is a presence of sedimentary formations from the high hilly zones going downwards towards the sea. Some of these arenaceous-pelitic formations are from the Miocene period which date back from about 23 to 5 million years ago. The soils are varied, mostly clayey and with evident distribution of limestone in the hilly areas rich in iron and magnesium while the soils in the flatter areas are of alluvial origin with predominant calcareous materials. The vineyards are usually cultivated on mostly clayey soils with excellent exposure to the sun. Being sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, the territory enjoys constant drying breezes from both sides and strong diurnal temperature ranges that help the berries develop the right acidity.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the highest classification Italian wines, is assigned to two styles: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Superiore. Whereas for the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) which falls just below the DOCG, the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is produced in more varying vinification styles: Spumante, Classico, Classico Superiore and Passito.

There is a notable change with the denomination to take note of. The meeting of members of the IMT in 2021 approved substantial changes to the specifications of Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi DOC and Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva DOCG. For the latter, the change of the name, which is now Castelli di Jesi DOCG with 'Verdicchio' as optional and the transfer of the 'Superiore' type from the DOC to the DOCG. Bottling in the production area has been made mandatory for the DOC. A choice, that of the name, aimed at valorizing the territory through a precise identification of the production area on the label. With the transfer of the Superiore type, the DOCG will go from 1,000 to 25,000 hectoliters of production at the end of the procedure for modifying the specifications (which has not yet been completed), while the compulsory bottling in the production area will increasingly protect the quality of the DOC.

With the aim of providing a 360-degree panoramic view of the principal viticulture territories of Marche, IMT's event, the "I Magnifici 16", was divided into nine groups with different zonal scopes. One of those was my group "Verdicchio e Atmosfere Misteriose" or Verdicchio and Mysterious Atmospheres. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi was our focus with singular interactions and tasting with a small number of producers. Hosted by Tenuta di Tavignano in Cingoli and Vignamato in San Paolo di Jesi in two groups of tastings and meetings, the producers, mostly small and passed on to the succeeding younger generation of the families, have marked how the vine expresses distinctively with their individual styles and representations of their territories in their bottles. Indeed, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is an eclectic wine that holds the power to surprise with its characteristics in the glass in its youthful elegance that gracefully ages in the bottle, as well as in the sparkling or passito.

Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini (IMT)

Address: Viale dell’Industria 5, 60035 Jesi (AN), Italy
Tel: +39 0731 214827