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Prosecco: A Victim of Its Own Success

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By Stefano Zanette, President, Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco)

Stefano Zanette
Stefano Zanette

As has been widely reported, global sales of Prosecco reached 306 million bottles last year, compared to 241.5 million bottles the previous year. Even with this documented increase, there have been reports in the media that there is a current shortage. We felt the need to issue a statement to refute this report because despite the fact that the 2014 harvest was hit with some harsh weather, the total certified production was up 17.9% as compared to the previous harvest

Less widely reported than the alleged shortage is the disappointing though perhaps unsurprising fact that many imitators are jumping on the Prosecco bandwagon. Imposters marketing themselves as Prosecco are reportedly being produced all around the world, from Brazil to Romania, from Argentina to Australia.

We would like to set the record straight: Just like Champagne or Barolo, Prosecco is a wine of place. For hundreds of years, Prosecco has been produced in specific areas of Italy’s Veneto and Friuli regions, to the north and northeast of Venice. Those areas are now the protected DOC and DOCG production zones for Prosecco. The primary grape in Prosecco is Glera, which is indigenous to this region of northeastern Italy and can be blended, according consortia rules, with percentages of secondary white wine grapes.

Any bottle that says Prosecco on the label must be produced in approved, designated growing regions according to the strict standards of the Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG Consortia. Prosecco cannot be made in Brazil or Australia (as reported erroneously recently), or anywhere other than these designated regions. The specific environmental conditions of the area are what give Prosecco its characteristic qualities.

It is critical that we protect Prosecco’s centuries-old heritage and, most importantly for American wine drinkers, protect the quality standards of this wonderful wine.  If we don’t expose imitators, consumers won’t be able to trust that the Prosecco they purchase is of a guaranteed quality based on the strict regulations and processes to which our producers are held.

Before Prosecco becomes a victim of its own success, we call on those who write, market and educate people about wine to do their part to inform the public about what Prosecco represents as a specific wine of place — and to advocate for truthful labeling so that when consumers buy a bottle that says Prosecco, they are getting the real thing and not an imitation.

Exports to the United States comprise 18.5% of total Prosecco exports, making the US the third-largest market for Prosecco DOC sales behind the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively. The global demand highlights an increasing interest in and demand for Italian sparkling wine, with which the Consortium’s productions are prepared to keep up for an extended period of time.

We invite you to enjoy Prosecco this summer while celebrating with family and friends as well as throughout the year.

Thank you.

Stefano Zanette is president of the Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC), established in 2009 to coordinate and manage the Prosecco Controlled Designation of Origin. The Consortium brings together growers and producers of Prosecco to ensure that the designation continues to grow and that production regulations are strictly followed.

Prosecco Bottle + glass

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