Question & Answer Time
  • The Protected Designation of Origin mark, better known by the acronym P.D.O., is a mark for the legal protection of the name that the European Union attributes to those foodstuffs whose intrinsic quality characteristics are due essentially or exclusively to the geographical area in which they are produced. 


    The geographical area includes both natural factors (climate, environmental characteristics), and human factors including agricultural techniques developed over time, which together enable the creation of a unique product that cannot be recreated outside the specific production zone. For a product to qualify as P.D.O., the production, transformation and processing stages must all take place in a defined geographical area. Those who make P.D.O. products must comply with the strict rules established in the Production Specifications. An independent supervisory body ensures compliance with these rules

  • The product can certainly be used beyond the expiry date indicated and poses no health risk, nor any other risk.

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  • The P.D.O. product, which is at least 12 years old, is normally less dense with sharper acidity: it is therefore especially suitable with strong-flavoured dishes and game. The older TBVM can be used in any dish and brings an incredible intensity of aromas and… emotions. In general, use is dictated by the consumer’s personal preference

  • As this is vinegar, acidity is indispensable for the success of the production process and for achieving the product’s final characteristics. In accordance with the Production Specifications, acidity must be at least 4.5% by weight: indeed, if the vinegar has a lower acidity, it will simply be sweet while lacking all the organoleptic complexity typical of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. In addition, if the product has low acidity it can present a breeding ground for mould and pathogens that also create defects in terms of the organoleptic profile

  • Since there are countless imitations on the market, certification is of great importance because it guarantees product controls at every stage of the production chain and ensures fully compliance with the Production Specifications: certification thus guarantees the authenticity of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O., which stands out from other products also thanks to the exclusive 100 ml bottle designed in 1987 by the famous automotive designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro. This is the only bottle that can and, indeed, must be used by all producers and the product can only be bottled by the bottling centre expressly authorised by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF)

  • TBVM is normally used cold as a condiment in the final stage of preparation. This is in order to preserve all the intensity of the aromas gained with the product’s long ageing. Some recipes, however, especially meat dishes, call for the use of TBVM during cooking too. In this case, the product brings softness and sweetness to the meat, while a few drops at the end also give the typical aromaFRAGOLE di Giuseppina3

  • Certainly, and in this case it becomes unusable

  • The best way is to ask to see the original bottle, which should be opened and in use in the kitchen.


     Since dishes made with TBVM are certainly more expensive than others, the absence of the original bottle is a clear indication of dishonesty, as only the certified product contained in the officially authorised bottle can be called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O.

  • Density can be considered an indicator of quality if it is exclusively the result of the long ageing period required by the Specifications, and in this case it must be accompanied by intense aromas and a harmonious balance of sweet and sour notes on the palate, which are indicators of quality in Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O. If, on the other hand, as often occurs with imitation products, density is obtained through a process of concentration or by rapid evaporation, it is merely an indicator of sweetness.

  • This idea is completely unfounded. The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena production process consists of more than just ageing. The producer undoubtedly ages… whereas the vinegar actually improves with the passage of time! Indeed, the whole process is highly complex and develops over time in the various barrels that make up the battery. It begins with fermentation, followed by the oxidation of the alcohol that gradually forms, accompanied at the same time by a multitude of different reactions in each barrel that tend to stabilise the particular quality level. As a result of this, every year, when it comes to decanting, a small amount of vinegar is moved to the next, higher level of quality, bringing renewed energy and reactivity for the following year. It is a unique product, therefore, and not a blend, which reacts and changes over time, maturing and ageing until it achieves its final characteristics. The carefully-controlled long ageing and low annual production yields guarantee ageing of the product in compliance with the prodotto batteria

  • If the bottle is different to the so-called “Giugiaro bottle”, the product is definitely not genuine and cannot be called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

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  • There is no need to keep the bottle in the refrigerator after opening. It is best kept properly stoppered to prevent any evaporation of the vinegar.

  • In line with both age-old customs and the Production Specifications, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is produced with a single ingredient: cooked must obtained from grapes grown in the province of Modena in vineyards managed to produce a maximum yield of 16 tonnes/hectare, as specified in the Production Specifications.

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  • Protected Designation of Origin, granted under a European Union quality scheme, recognises the fact that production is strongly linked to the territory of origin and, in particular, every part of production takes place within the province of Modena.A3 Loriginale2

  • The two products stem from the same production tradition which over time has specialised and differentiated in response to market demands. Balsamic Vinegar P.G.I., enjoyed and recognised the world over, is produced in larger barrels with a quicker ageing process. It is made in much larger quantities using a blend of concentrated or cooked grape must and wine vinegar as raw materials. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, on the other hand, is made exclusively from cooked must which is aged for an extremely long time in small barrels arranged in batteries

  • If it has clear or hidden defects, it must be downgraded and removed from the production chain. This is a very rare event however, thanks to the care and attention paid by producers to every step of production. Very frequently, on the other hand, a product which is not granted approval simply needs to continue ageing

  • The colour, aromas and taste sensations of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O. are the result of a myriad of natural chemical components that form over the extremely long ageing period. These are often molecules of considerable volume and weight that continue to form, increasing the viscosity of the product. As they tend to gradually settle over time, they create the typical deposit in the bottom of the bottle, which can vary in thickness

  • The numbered seal is designed to guarantee product authenticity (certifying that controls have been carried out by the Supervisory Body appointed by MIPAAF, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies at every stage of the production chain), correct bottling of the approved product and the product content in terms of quantity.

  • As vinegar, it is an excellent preservative for foodstuffs and does not actually expire, so its shelf life is unlimited. To guarantee consumers a perfectly preserved product, an expiry date of 10 years from bottling is normally printed on the label

  • The product requires the approval of a panel of expert tasters to certify that after the requisite ageing period stated in the Production Specifications, the vinegar has effectively reached the required quality level. For this purpose, their work is overseen by the Certifying Body


  • The most commonly used woods are oak, chestnut, cherry, mulberry and juniper; robinia and ash are also sometimes used. These are the woods which have always been most readily available in the local area and each one endows the vinegar in the barrel with unique aromas, contributing to that complexity of fragrances and flavours typical of TBVM

  • The problem this vinegar has always faced is the threat from imitations. Acutely aware of this, in 1987 the Modena Chamber of Commerce appointed the then-young designer Giorgetto Giugiaro to come up with a 100 ml bottle so distinctive that it would symbolise and denote the actual product. For this reason, the Giugaro-designed bottle has since become the only one that producers are permitted to use, making the bottle itself a guarantee of authenticity

  • Because as an uninterrupted, extremely artisanal process that is handed down from one generation to the next, it has become the pride and joy of producers and the area’s oldest production tradition, testifying to Modenese know-how, patience and determination.

  • Because bottling concludes a long series of production chain checks and controls, and it constitutes a critical step for the guarantee of authenticity, which is why it requires special attention and controls.

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  • The product must be granted approval because the prescribed period of barrel ageing, although certified, is only of the parameters that determine the final quality of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O.; other key factors are the characteristics of the grapes, the cooked must obtained from the latter, the quality of the barrels and the wood they are made of, along with their size. The microclimate within the vinegar loft is also very important, as is meticulous attention to precision in topping-up and decanting operations. In short, results can vary hugely from one vinegar loft to another and from one battery to another, and it the tasters’ job to approve the product only once it has the required final characteristics at the end of the whole process. If the product is not granted approval, unless it has specific defects it normally just needs to continue ageing