Italian authorities have given sparkling Prosecco wine DOCG status, a mark designed to improve quality control and which will limit use of the Prosecco name.

The new status, which is a step up from Prosecco's current DOC mark, will be available to producers in just 15 communes from the 2009 vintage.

The name of the new DOCG will be Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and the sparkling wines will have the words "DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore" on labels, according to the council for Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.

A Prosecco DOC zone, covering a wider area, will continue to exist.

Producers outside of the designated DOCG and DOC zones will not be able to use the Prosecco name on product labels, the council said. Instead, they will have to use the name 'Glera', an ancestor of the Prosecco grape, it said late last week.

"In 1969, when we obtained the DOC, the grape variety was grown exclusively in the 15 communes lying between the small towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. However in the last few decades, due to the quality of the wine and the winemaking skill of the producers its cultivation has gradually spread," said council president Franco Adami.

"Given this situation, we had to take action to protect the name Prosecco and to preserve the value created by this area and implement clear regulations that could guarantee a minimum level of quality."

DOCG stands for Denominazione di origine controllata e Garantita.