What is PDO status?
The letters PDO stand for Protected Designation of Origin.
It’s a mark of excellence that proves a product’s unique characteristics ‘depend essentially or exclusively’ on the geographical place where it’s made. They might look like three little letters, but together they’re a promise that the product can’t be imitated outside the protected production area.
PDO status applies to both the natural factors of an area like the climate and the terrain, and the human, cultural factors present there too — like an inherited production technique that’s become integral to a product over time.
Most crucially, to become a legally protected PDO product, everything from the sourcing of ingredients to the transformation and elaboration of the product must be done in the designated area.
What makes Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar of Modena a PDO product?
Our Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is a PDO product because every natural and human factor in our production process is intrinsically linked to our geographical area — and inimitable anywhere else.
Modena’s natural climate is vitally important to us: in particular, the variation between the province’s hot summers and cold winters, and with the year-round high humidity that comes from being beside the slow-flowing Po river.
Thanks to these unique climatic conditions, the vinegar can ‘rest’ during the chilly winter months, before evaporating and concentrating in the intense summer heat, which helps the vinegar to better absorb the complex woody flavours of our barrels. Finally, in order to be classed as ‘Tradizionale PDO’ the product must be made from only 1 single ingredient - our cooked grape must can only be sourced from vineyards in the Modena province and the product must be aged in small barrels for at least 12 years.
As well as the climate, a number of human factors are integral to our Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar of Modena: including the process of ‘rincalzi and travasi’ (the patient act of moving the precious liquid from barrel to barrel), which our cellar master Enrico completes each year.
Italy’s other famous PDO products
Across both food and wine products, Italy has the world’s greatest number of PDO products — including Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Mozzarella di Bufala campana, Pecorino Romano, Gorgonzola, Prosecco, and Chianti Classico.
And on each, you’ll find the same tangible proof of the product’s PDO status: the distinctive red and yellow badge below.