Producers across Italy look to sparkling wine to capitalise on the success of Prosecco
The enormous success of Prosecco is encouraging Italian winemakers in other regions of the country to look at capitalising on its popularity by making sparkling wine alternatives of its own.
It is not just the fact that sparkling wine and Prosecco sales are booming it is also the fact that sales of still Italian wines in export markets are falling. For example, figures show that last year exports of Italian sparkling wine grew by over 21%, compared to just 4.3% for still wine.
Simply switching production is not as easy as it sounds as different regions have strict rules and regulations about what can be made as sparkling wine.
But styles of spumante and Asti and likely to increase in the coming years.
The Agriculture Ministry’s Wine Committee for Piedmont has said that a new dry style of Asti and Brachetto could be particularly popular in export markets as it has a reduced sugar content to make it similar to other popular Italian sparkling wines.
The new style of Asti, which already produces 84 million bottles a year, will be introduced later in the summer. Giorgio Bosticco, director of Asti Producers’ Consortium told ItalyEurope24. “This should represent an opportunity for integration and completing our range, which aims for the best possible placement, not just increasing our volume,”
Local producers have downplayed the idea of switching away from Pinot Grigio or making a sparkling alternative as it remains one of Italy’s key export drivers and is still in growth producing some 300 million bottles a year.
The Italian Wine Union’s secretary general Paolo Castelletti said: “I still believe that it’s a remote possibility, at least for the moment, seeing as how Pinot Grigio’s still version is proving successful in the markets. As long as things continue I’d rule out the idea of converting it to sparkling.”
Brachettto is also aiming to sercure new market outlets, with production increasing from 3.8 million bottles in 2011 to 5.2 million last year.
The Salento area of Puglia in the south of Italy could also see more sparkling wine production. Cantine Due Palme has invested €1.5 million in a sparkling production facility, and is using Negroamaro grapes to produce 500,000 bottles of spumante under the Cantina Due Palme brand, as well as 100,000 bottles from other local producers.
“Demand is growing all throughout the south, and currently we may have the only sparkling wine plant in all of the south,” said Cantine Due Palme’s general manager Assunta De Cillis.