As Prosecco continue to thrive, we investigate how it has managed to become a fixture on every supermarket shelf and wine list
While Champagne is still the go-to for celebratory events such as weddings, receptions and ushering in the New Year, lower cost sparkling wines – particularly Prosecco – now increasingly own everyday drinking territories among consumers.
The causes of the Prosecco revolution are legion: a sweeter, less acidic taste which is hard to fault; Italy’s reputation as a source of stylish food and drink; and the way we live now – a more on-the-move, spontaneous, event-driven world. nnovation in packaging (such as the production of mini-bottles – complete with straws) All these factors, plus some innovative packaging and expert marketing, have allowed Prosecco to become not only a regular at the dinner table but also at garden parties, picnics festivals, after-work drinks, and nights out.
The marked shift from occasional high-spend splurges to frequent low-cost purchases has driven the huge volume growth of sparkling wines we’ve witnessed in the major English-speaking markets of UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and also in more traditional sparkling wine markets of Germany, France and Northern Europe.
Prosecco’s no-frills, no-fuss style has allowed it to occupy the gap in the market between entry-level Champagnes and lower priced Cavas. While consumers will often tell us in focus groups that they prefer “dry” wines, their actual purchasing behaviour often tells a very different story. Commercial success, as evidenced by major brands such as Echo Falls and Barefoot, hinges on delivering an accessible taste: fruity, floral and sweet. Prosecco ticks all the boxes.
Buoyed by Prosecco’s success, wineries across the US, Australia and continental Europe are developing new sparkling products at great speed, often featuring the Glera grape (from which Prosecco is made within the DOC area in northeastern Italy. Watch out too for New Zealand, where Glera vines have been cleared from quarantine for planting, and should hit the shelves in a few years’ time.
There is also competition a bit closer to home with regional French sparkling wines from Loire and southern France, a resurgence of interest in Lambrusco, and a small but growing fan base for German Sekt. So far success has been limited; while all have their supporters among wine anoraks and sommeliers alike, neither possess the easy drinking and fruit-forward appeal of Prosecco.
Moscato, on the other hand, with its heady grapey and floral overtones, does hit the same sweet spot as Prosecco: well-priced and fruity. It is the varietal of choice for many winemakers looking to add a sparkling wine to their offerings, particularly in Australia and the US. Whether Moscato will be able to capitalise on the popularity of sparkling wines or if another unknown player will emerge to dominate the market is unsure, but Wine Intelligence is on hand to find out.
Author: James Wainscott