When it comes to wine, you’d be hard pressed to find a better success story than Prosecco DOC. Over the last ten years, the pleasant and thirst-quenching sparkling hailing from north-eastern Italy has known nothing but constant growth.
The keystone in the arch of the famous Aperol spritz—the famous Venetian cocktail with bitter liqueur and local bubbles—seems to be popping up all the time, all over the planet. Whether it’s for happy hour or dessert time, toasting the New Year at midnight or some afternoon chilling poolside, Prosecco DOC is a versatile product — and a really reasonably priced one at that.
The numbers don’t lie—Prosecco DOC production is relentlessly up. After hitting the 200 million-litre mark back in 2014, production exceeded 350 million litres (a.k.a. 464 million bottles) in 2018: that’s a 75% increase in just five years. In the 1990s, only some 20 million bottles were sold annually.
Growth is correspondingly high when it comes to world markets. In just two years (2016-2018), Prosecco DOC exports saw an incredible 24% bump, and over the same period in Canada, it was more like 56%. The force is strong with sparklings and Prosecco DOC is definitely the MVP.
There are two regions where this DOC wine can be produced — Venezia and Friuli Venezia Giulia — where today, more than 11,000 farms and over 24,000 hectares are dedicated to growing Prosecco DOC grapes between the Alps and the Adriatic. In 2017/2018 alone, 1,200 hectares of grapevines were planted there, which is equivalent to Pauillac AOC production and more than all of Quebec vineyards combined.
Amid this mad rush, the Consorzio (the consortium that regulates Prosecco DOC production) is looking to go in a greener direction and is doing a great job of it: more than one third of new plantings are organic or sustainable, which is far above the European average (around 10% organic production). They’re also looking to boost vineyard biodiversity by planting hedges and local flora.
Prosecco DOC first came to fame in the heart of a historic region surrounded by stunning landscapes, and it is here that most high-end Prosecco DOC is produced and bottled. On our lips since Roman times, renowned for its sparkling wines for more than two centuries, Prosecco DOC isn’t some random fad—far from it.
On top of flexing their qualitative muscles, Prosecco DOC producers are innovating to keep their products flying off the shelves. That’s why they’re making considerable investments to improve their processes, quality, and to eventually kick off rosé Prosecco DOC production. A new trend on the horizon for the world’s premiere sparkling wine?