I saw this one in the press this last week just gone, and I reminded myself about it today as I was chatting with a winemaker from Friuli, the spiritual home of top drawer Pinot Grigio. Asda, one of the big four supermarkets in the UK, have devised an interesting way of getting around the rising price of the UK’s tipple of the decade, Prosecco…
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Progrigio!
It’s called Progrigio. It’s a blend of Glera (the grape that goes into Prosecco) and Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio can be sourced from some fairly cheap regions and blended with a bit of Glera, itself not necessarily from the increasingly expensive regions growing grapes from Prosecco. Then just pump some bubbles into it and bob’s your uncle! A sparkling wine that most of the UK will sort of recognize, and on the shelf for £5 a bottle or there abouts.
Close to tears
Now there’s two ways of looking at this. One way is like my Italian friend today, who was genuinely close to tears. The winemakers of Prosecco are trying to give it a better image than Europe’s Bitch Diesel, and the winemakers of Friuli are trying to drag the reputation of Pinot Grigio away from the clutches of the bulk-generic-shit producers. This kind of thing doesn’t necessarily help.
It also comes hot on the heels of a few wrangles in the EU parliament as the winemakers of Champagne argued that the dirty Brits will ravage the fine names of European wine regions when Article 50 is triggered and we’re no longer in any trade agreements before the new ones are signed. I initially thought this was just a bit of guff, but then it’s a slippery slope I guess in an extremely tight margined industry.
Supplying the demand
On the flip side of that though, who are we to turn round and tell them this is the wrong thing to do. Wine is where 99% of people don’t care and 1% of people care way too much. Most of the people throwing their arms up at this are in that 1%. If the people want cheap bubbles then who are we stop them? Surely, it’s good work from Asda for working out a way of looking after their punters.
What do you reckon?