Winemakers toast record prosecco sales
Sacre bleu! Prosecco sales have surged 40% in France, the home of Champagne.
To add insult to injury, an AP report notes the startling figure doesn't reflect "the seasonal Christmas sales bump of 20%".
Even prosecco producers are startled by the news.
“As the old innkeepers used to say, even the fountain outside the bar is competition,” said Armando Serena the head of the Asolo Consortium of Prosecco makers. “But it is certainly not a phenomenon that we expected. It is cause for reflection for (Champagne producers) perhaps.”
Five years ago, prosecco became the best-selling sparkling wine in the world by volume. It now produces 75% more bottles a year than Champagne.
Champagne still has the highest revenue, but prosecco's exports are up 16% on last year’s record 804 million euros.
Italian agricultural association Coldiretti reports that 70% of the Italy’s sparkling wine production now being exported.
The UK ranks as the biggest market, with a 5% increase in sales in 2018; the United States is in second place with a 13% jump in sales, while Germany is in third place, with an increase of 6%.
Coldiretti notes that it is also very popular in Russia, with a 21% increase in sales; while there has been an 18% rise in sales in Japan.
Prosecco sales surging in Australia
Sales of prosecco in Australia have skyrocketed 53% in the past 12 months. However, it's the local brands that are winning over fans.
Winemaker Christian Dal Zotto noted to ABC News: "Over the last 12 months, Australian prosecco sales in Australia are now 8% higher than what the Italian Prosecco is."
Market research company IRI reported in August that prosecco sales by value nationwide have doubled in the past two years, compared with a 9% rise for champagne.
Its cheaper cost - at almost four times less per litre than champagne - was a major factor, according to IRI.
“Prosecco looks set to drive sparkling wine growth for the foreseeable future,” IRI channel insights manager Daniel Bone said. “It really hits the sweet spot from a price and value perspective; people feel they are getting bang for their buck.
“It is being drunk as a more regular indulgence, whereas champagne is reserved for celebratory occasions.”
WFA's Christmas wish for prosecco
The Winemakers' Federation of Australia released a message this week noting "All we want for Christmas is Australian Prosecco".
It went like this ...
This year for Christmas, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) would like greater protection for Australian wine producer’s rights to grow, produce and label their grape varieties.
The problem is the European Union continues to seek to restrict the use of a number of grape variety names to their own producers. These efforts have the potential to dramatically impact on the livelihood of Australian winemakers to produce and market our great wines. The European Union is seeking to prevent our use of prosecco and other grape varieties under our free trade agreement negotiations.
However, their reach is expanding. Just this week, the European Union have pressured New Zealand to try and restrict 2500 Geographical Indications to European producers. The New Zealand government is now forcing our producers to object to these names, to maintain our right, to export our traditional products to New Zealand. Within the list, which we’ve checked twice, and published by the New Zealand government, are a number of terms that would stop our trade for some wines to New Zealand. We take this very seriously, and think it is well suited to the Naughty List.
Prosecco, and many other varieties at risk in this process, have grown hugely in popularity over recent years. The value they have, and can continue to contribute, to our domestic market, exports, regional communities, jobs and tourism cannot be understated. The EU understands this – and that is why they are looking to restrict our ability to use these grape variety names.
We will be sure to leave out some Australian Prosecco for you to enjoy with your cookies, and encourage sparkling wine drinkers to drink responsibly, and support Australian wine producers, by choosing Australian Prosecco to enjoy with family and friends this Christmas. We need all Australian consumers to get behind us in this battle.
And if you can’t have a Prosecco, try another great Aussie wine… there are plenty to choose from!
We wish you safe travels on Christmas Eve, from the team at WFA.