Is The Prosecco Bubble Bursting?

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For years and years the word “Champagne” was used as a synonym for sparkling wine in the UK.  Any sparkling wine, and that was testament to the fame and marketing prowess of the Champagne producers.  It’s an aspirational product that everyone wanted to be drinking.  Then Prosecco kicked open the doors with its shiny Italian leather size 9s and gave the UK public what they wanted; fresh, easy going bubbles for half the price. 

For nearly a decade now, the sales figures of sparkling wine have soared over 10% per year on the back of the Venetian juggernaut.  But this year that growth slowed up a touch, leading a few wine industry commentators to question whether this is the year the bubble will burst.

I’d argue that’s been happening for a while now.

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Prosecco (rather unfairly) doesn’t have the same aspirational quality of high end bubbles.  It’s made it a different way.  The tank method of adding the bubbles is a more economical way of doing it, which is a good thing when you’re targeting the mass market. You can put a bottle of decent Prosecco on the shelf for just over £10.  But it also lays the path open for the less scrupulous producers to flood the market with pretty average stuff for well under that.  The quality reputation is becoming a big problem.

We’re also lucky in the UK that we’re still a target market for many different regions. We’ve been best mates with Champagne since 1662, Cava since the 1980s, and are seen as a prime place to test the water for French Crémant and Italian Franciacorta.  Oh, and not sure if you’ve noticed, but the English wine scene is exploding right now, with the industry projected to hit £1bn in the next twenty years.  I’ll drink to that!

So is Prosecco about to feel the fickle finger of fashion turning against it? Well not if they’re smart. Bubbles are good, and Prosecco producers make some incredible stuff.  They make you feel happy, and the Brits are never going to stop buying them.  It’s time for Prosecco to join the premiumisation trend and unleash the high end Cartizze’s and Rive’s on us in a big way.

Leave the race to the bottom to someone else.  That path will only ever lead to producer misery and reputational destruction.  Prosecco is so much better than that.

Cheers

 

 

PHOTO: One of the industry leaders, La Marca Prosecco

12 thoughts on “Is The Prosecco Bubble Bursting?

  1. I am a fan of all kinds of bubbles. I can find a good Cava or Prosecco at a reasonable price. Prosecco and Cava may not be viewed as posh as champagne but they should be. They are in my eyes. 😀

  2. I will forever be a Champagne snob, I love Champagne and Prosecco isn’t close at all, not bad but wouldn’t choose it over Champagne

  3. The problem is that Prosecco sits in isolation with their production method, as everything else you mentioned here (Cava, Cremant, Franciacorta, English sparkling) are made in Classic style. Considering the abundance of classic style bubbles (in the US now almost every winery offers their own Sparkling wine, mostly Classic method) it is given that Prosecco is often relegated as a Mimosa component, and not the wine to serve on its own…

  4. Mike

    Interesting piece.

    What I find interesting is that lots of people want to slag off Prosecco. Don’t get me wrong there is poor quality Prosecco out there, but also poor Bordeaux, poor Chablis…. in fact there are lots of poor quality wines in the market place. You are absolutely right though DOCG valdobbiadene, Rive & Cartizze there are wonderful Prosecco to find.

    Seems like Prosecco getting a bad time because of the sheer volume being sold

    Peter

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