And Now a Prosecco from Provence… ?

1st June 2020

French Prosecco

We share an article written by Subhash Arora who is a good friend of us here at Glass of Bubbly, he is reporting on the recent news that a sparkling wine in France is to name itself as a Prosecco.

Subhash is a passionate wine journalist and frequent guest to judge at wine awards internationally. He is president of the Indian Wine Academy website and is also a popular and helpful character to be found on social media – If you are passionate about wine then why not connect yourself with him via his Facebook here:

Many wine regions with unique names concentrate much effort to protect their ‘name’ from being misused. This includes not only guarding against the usage in the wine sector, but also any other items such as foods products, health & beauty items etc. Champagne usually gets much of the headlines on the subject of protecting their name as they are usually the most likely name to be misused, though it would appear Prosecco can also hit the headlines…

Subhash shared the following words:

I could not take my eyes off the news report from Vitisphere yesterday when I read that the Luberon Estate owned by the hotel chain ‘Domaine de Fontenille is proud to present Les Impatients, the first Prosecco from Provence, 2019 vintage’. It was apparently a press release from the Luberon estate that also owns 40 hectares of vineyards, according to Vitisphere.

Interestingly, the management has given it a serious thought before launching the Prosecco Project based on their sparkling wine with no geographical indication. Joan Poillet, sales manager for Fontenille estates, recognises it is illegal to call it Prosecco. He says “we have no right to call it this legally, we know that. The aim is to conjure up an atmosphere and a spirit.”

The production lot is quite small, mostly for consumption by hotel clients. There will be only about 200 cases each of white and rosé each made. ‘The sparkling wine label is as much about drawing on Italian inspiration as diversifying production in a region where sparkling wines are not very common. The Les Impatients range, which is designed as an aperitif and for cocktails, will supply Fontenille Hotels and restaurants as well as other stockists in France and overseas,’ he says. The hotel group has five properties in Hossegor, Marseilles and Minorca in South of France.

For Joan Poillet, the aim of the range extension is to strengthen the brand and improve price points, particularly for rosé wines. “Over the past 10 to 15 years, Provence rosé has been increasingly exported and promoted. Although consumer perception has evolved, few consumers are aware that there are age-worthy rosés. It is still an occasion-driven wine. The best way to enhance the value of rosé is to associate it with other labels”, he says.

As written in another Article in delWine, the Consorzio of Prosecco DOC announced only last week that Rosé Prosecco will be introduced from 2020 with a minimum of 85% Glera grapes and a maximum of 15% of Pinot Nero (Noir). The French Rosé version will have 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault while the white will have 90% Rolle (Vermentino) and 10% Viognier-all local varieties. Les Impatients range has a recommended retail price of €14, higher than a majority of the Italian equivalent Prosecco DOC.

It is possible to sell a Prosecco with one’s own label provided it is produced in the designated areas and packaged within the 9 provinces in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia for DOC wines. Italians strongly protect the Prosecco GI as it translates to a sale of over 600 million bottles a year. They have prosecuted or used other persuasive means to stop anyone labelling their bubbly as Prosecco, elsewhere in the world. Australia is the only country where they lost the legal bottle but are fighting tooth and nail through the government which is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement and has insisted that the producers change the label from Prosecco to something else.

They say bad publicity can also at times, be good publicity and profitable for a business. This seems to be the case with Luberon Estate which has decided to take the short route to get popular by being controversial. This could prove costly to them if the EU stops them and also fines them for knowingly breaking the law for illegal business gains.

Subhash Arora.

Glass of Bubbly

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