Italy warns Britons to stop calling sparkling wine Prosecco

Protect Prosecco Photo: pixexid CC / Gratis Graphics

Prosecco has a geographical destination label, meaning it must be produced in one of only 2 Italian regionsto be truly given that name. Especially with New Year’s Eve just around the corner it’s worth noting that anything else is just sparkling wine.

The Italian DOC Consortium has even launched an advertising campaign in London aimed at drinkers: “This is not prosecco. Don’t call it prosecco if it is an ordinary sparkling wine”, say the posters displayed on London’s underground.

15 million people targeted

The message can be found in more than 80 locations throughout the English capital: as the Daily Telegraph explained, more than 15 million people will see it during the 2-week campaign, which began on December18. The campaign is by the Prosecco DOC Consortium, which represents Italy’s prosecco producers, a favourite tipple which has been protected by EU legislation since 2009.

The drink has a geographical denomination (DOC) label, which means that the wine must be produced in one of 2 Italian regions, Veneto or Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Previous to 2009, any sparkling wine made from prosecco grapes could claim the name. In the consortium’s annual statement, attention was drawn to the legal victory against Australian producers at the Singapore Court of Appeal to allow the name Prosecco to be used only for wines of Italian origin.

Protect ‘prosecco’ from abuse

As the Daily Telegraph reported, Australian producers have been making sparkling wine from the glera, the prosecco grape, since 2001, and disagreements over the term have proved a sticking point in free trade agreements with the EU. In 2020, the Australian government funded a project to examine the validity of the protected geographical indication. Stefano Zanette, of the Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC, said, “It is a tradition for us to carry out an international communication campaign at the end of the year, to emphasise the consolidated role of Prosecco DOC in the celebrations”.

Diego Tomasi, of the Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, also emphasised the need to protect the designation ‘prosecco’ from abuse. “Any attempt to imitate or evoke the name must be firmly opposed”, said Tomasi. However, according to analysis by IWSR the global benchmark for alcohol beverage data, in the last 5 years, British drinkers have turned away from prosecco and towards other sparkling wines. Perhaps now is the moment for Spanish Cava to shine in the spotlight.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.