The Prosecco debate

Prosecco is popular at the minute.  Talk of expanding plantings and production (rarely a good future quality indicator) and the viscitudes of fashion may suggest that this will not last, but in the interim it looks like good news for the north-eastern Italian wine region.  See here to read more about latest production news: Why Record Prosecco Supply Won’t Make Your Wine Cheaper.

The Prosecco tide may also be benefitting Australian “prosecco”.  I have written on this before, but what in Europe is a wine region and appellation (i.e. Prosecco), in Australia is a description of a grape variety, also called “glera”.  Confusing?  I would say so.  For further see my post here on Prosecco and Prosecco.  Practically, this means that in Australia the consumer is presented with wines named prosecco from say King Valley, and equally from the region itself.  So more or less wines from the opposite ends of the planet with the same name.

Not how it should be?  That is open to debate.  Quite possibly.  The EU tried to argue the case here and lost.  But it does look a bit more like a confusing anomaly as time passes, and this distinction has perhaps the unique ability to potentially confuse for different reasons.  Would the person on the street think they are the same wine?  Would they expect more or less the same style?  Would they think both wines are from Italy?  What about if the wine is from an Australian wine region with Italian heritage?

It reminds a little of the Champagne and Australian sparkling wine debate.  It already seems a bit strange to have once referred to Australian sparkling wine as Champagne.  But then again Champagne is not a grape variety, and prosecco is the name of the grape variety in Australia and was in Europe until 2009, and there wasn’t another choice.  The Australian wine had to be called prosecco.  That in short appears to by why the EU lost in Australia.  Will this thinking change in time?  I would think yes, particularly as the Italian regional identity of “Prosecco” gains prominence.  What do you think?  Comments in The Drinks Business trade journal suggest a combination of confusion and surprise.  Sparkling glera anyone?

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