The Story Of Australian Prosecco & Its Current Day Struggles
Prosecco is a type of Sparkling wine made from the Glera grape, a late ripening variety. Historically, it is believed that this variety comes from Prosek, an ancient Slovenian village, which is now part of Italy. Today, Prosecco is known to come from the north-east Italian province of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia protected as the Prosecco DOC (designated production area).
This bubbly is made through the Charmat method, where unlike the traditional sparkling wine making method, second fermentation takes place in large closed pressure tanks. Prosecco is not aged on lees which makes it less complex than other traditional sparkling wines. The ‘fizz’ of Prosecco is categorized as Spumante, full of lively fizz, as a moderate Frizzante, with comparatively less fizz.
Italy isn’t the only country which has perfected the Prosecco. Australia saw its first Glera vines in Victoria’s King Valley when Italian migrants arrived in Australia.s.In the late 1960s, a man named Otto Dal Zotto from Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOCG area in Italyc started planting International as well as Italian grape varieties and in 2000, the Dal Zotto family planted Australia’s first Glera grape variety. This variety does well in cool climate regions like King Valley or the Adelaide Hills.It has picked up so much momentum that the road that navigates through the valley from the Brown Brothers Milawa vineyards to Chrismont winery has come to be known as the Prosecco Road. The Dal Zotto and many Prosecco makers in Australia are part of a Prosecco growers group called the Prosecco Road. Australian Prosecco makers have for quite some time been involved in a struggle to defend their right to use the name ‘Prosecco’ against the Italian counterpart. Australian Prosecco makers believe Prosecco is a grape variety, and hence using the terms shouldn’t be restricted.
In 2009, the Italian region of production became registered in the EU as ‘Prosecco DOC’ and the grape variety used to make this Prosecco was renamed Glera. Australian Prosecco makers believe it was deliberately done to discourage producers outside the Italian region from using the grape to make sparkling wine. So anyone who grows the grape formerly named Prosecco outside the DOC will not be allowed to use the name Prosecco on the label if they intend to sell it in EU!
Now, Italy is seeking a Geographic Indicator for Prosecco ahead of the negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and EU. A GI would bring many challenges to the Australian Prosecco industry, it would prevent them from using the name Prosecco, the marketability of the wine will be limited, investments and jobs will be at stake andthe current healthy market growth will face a downside.
The Australian Prosecco makers believe it is very important to retain the right of using the name Prosecco as people in Australia know wines by the variety and Australian wines are sold across the globe with the grape variety mentioned on the bottle, unlike European wines which are known by region.
What do you think: Should Australia be allowed to use the ‘Prosecco’ name? Yay or nay?