The Consortium for the protection and certification of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP is the body set up to guarantee the quality of this type of Balsamic Vinegar, loyalty to tradition, and to promote it all over the world. So let’s see everything there is to know about the organization.
Balsamic Vinegar, IGP or DOP, is certainly among the most popular Italian culinary products and exported around the world and to protect the tradition, as well as to ensure the quality on our tables, there was the need to create a consortium to protect Balsamic Vinegar, actually, more than one.
In fact, the international bodies of duty have recognized not one, but three certifications of Balsamic Vinegar, each of which corresponds to a well-defined type of product, referring to its own consortium of reference.
We have two DOP certifications (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia DOP) and one IGP, the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP. It is on the latter and the relative consortium, the Consortium for the protection and certification of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP, that we will focus in this article.
Before starting, it is necessary to clarify one point: all the vinegar producers who want to market Balsamic Vinegar with the IGP mark must join this consortium and carefully respect the rules deriving from tradition, which start from the choice of grapes and go all the way to bottling.
History of the Consortium for the Protection of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP
The Consortium for the Protection of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena was founded in 1993, when a group of producers created an association with the aim of obtaining the prestigious IGP mark for their product.
The intent of this group was to create an association able to protect the consumer, ensuring standards in the quality of the product and honouring tradition, but unlike the DOP mark, leaving more freedom to the producers and with the ultimate goal of large-scale marketing.
The IGP mark was formally recognized by the European Union in 2009 and since then the consortium has begun to expand to include the many companies that are part of it today.
What the Consortium does to protect Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP
Today the Consortium to protect Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP has three main functions: defense, protection and promotion.
Defense of consumers, who when buying a certified product know they have certain quality standards and a strong control over the selection of raw materials and production methods.
Protection of tradition, ensuring that the production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP always complies with the traditions that have been handed down for generations in the rural populations.
Promotion of the product in the world, exporting even outside our borders a food and wine culture of great tradition.
Today there are 51 IGP certified companies and they produce a total of 97 million liters of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP per year, 92% of which is sold abroad, following a policy that also sees the future of the product in international marketing.
Today, the industry of Balsamic Vinegar IGP grosses about one billion euros per year, placing it in first place among the Italian IGP foods and surpassing even that of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP, which however has a higher cost per liter being a more valuable product.
The specification of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP
The specifications are nothing more than documents that dictate the law on the production and marketing of a certain product that boasts a certification, such as DOP or IGP.
The consortia are those bodies that ensure that the laws of the disciplinary reference are respected. It should be noted that as laws, violations of regulations constitute real crimes.
We have already mentioned the three consortia of Balsamic Vinegar, each of which, of course, refers to a specific disciplinary.
The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP has a strict specification, necessary to maintain high quality standards of the product. For example, the grape varieties from which the grapes can come (all traditional Emilian, such as Lambrusco, Sangiovese or Trebbiano) are catalogued or it is explained how it is mandatory that the main phases of the production of Balsamic Vinegar, such as processing and aging must take place in the provinces of Modena or Reggio Emilia.
Last rule – but not least – is the one concerning the allowed ingredients, few, but of high quality: grape must, vinegar at least 10 years old, wine vinegar and, at the producer’s discretion, a maximum of 2% caramel e150d.
For more information about the specifications, we recommend reading the full text.
If Balsamic Vinegar today is a product so loved and exported all over the world, surely part of the merit can be found in the work of the consortia, which ensure that all production operations are carried out perfectly, so as to bring to the table always products of excellent quality.
If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to read also our article on the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP and the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia DOP.