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Bad weather reduced Prosecco production, winemakers think of destocking 150,000 hl of wine

by Emanuele Scarci

The rainy season may temporary halt Prosecco’s world success. The bad weather that characterized the last harvest heavily reduced production of Prosecco “DOC”. “DOC” is the acronym for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata” (designation of guaranteed origin), the Italian exclusive label for high-quality products.

The board of the DOC Association authorized its President, Stefano Zanette, to allow producers to use the 150,000 hectoliters of wine stocked before the new harvest: current regulations allow such a procedure to prevent demand and prices from being negatively affected by a sharp decline in production.

Last year Prosecco DOC sales rose by 27%. They now total 300 million bottles, 60% of which are exported. Export towards the UK increased by more than 60%, while that to the US “only” by 38%. Besides the DOC Prosecco there is the DOCG Prosecco (“denominazione di origine controllata e garantita”, designation of guaranteed and verified origin), another label that certifies the quality of the product. Two varieties belong to this category, the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco and the Colli Asolani Prosecco. Overall, the Prosecco industry is worth nearly €2 billion, i.e. 400 million bottles sold in 2014.

Zanette said that “final data on Prosecco DOC production showed that it’s pointless to keep it in stock. Hence we decided to put the 150,000 litres of Prosecco DOC we had in stock on the market. Now we need to share this decision with the sector’s professional associations and with the local governments of Veneto and Friuli.”

But there aren’t many doubts on what the final decision will be, since demand for Prosecco remains high despite the decline in production. Furthermore, the DOC Association and the regional governments have always cooperated with each other.

Recently, UK authorities acted to prevent fake Prosecco from being sold in British pubs. The existence of Brazilian and Australian fake Prosecco – which go by the names of “Secco” or “Rossecco” – also suggest that this enjoyable but cheap sparkling wine is much appreciated all over the world.