Drinking Prosecco Naked – Is that you?

11th October 2018


A catchy title will lead many to read on, though to be honest, in my opinion, many people will still be drinking Prosecco more or less naked in that the label means very little to those consuming it, it is all about what lays inside. Fair enough I suppose, as long as it says Prosecco on the bottle and those bubbles are alive and kicking in the glass then we more or less have all that we need from this now world famous wine region – right?

Italy produces the most fizz in Europe with a share of 22% of bottles sold and the region of Prosecco, as a whole, holds 34,974 hectares of vineyards and gives the world an amazing 544,600,000 bottles each harvest – Well over 100,000,000 bottles were enjoyed in the UK alone in 2017!

So a massive producer of sparkling wines surely must offer us more than just ‘Prosecco’ on the label to identify what we are about to drink? Without doubt Prosecco has firmly positioned itself as a cheaper fizz solution to Champagne, it has gone from being little known (Prosecco DOC sales in the UK were 12,000,000 in 2011) to a trendy and very appealing option for when we require that fizz fix in recent years (120,000,000 bottles sold of Prosecco DOC sold in the UK in 2017).

I have written a few articles now on understanding Prosecco labels better, though what I wanted to look at here is the Prosecco DOC region, where maybe mass production takes place and a lesser standard classification over the finer Prosecco produced within the DOCG regions of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene & Asolo, but nonetheless in my mind still little understood and with its diversity in flavours, a somewhat hidden gem.

The Prosecco DOC wine region itself sits within such an amazing area of Italy with the foothills of the Alps in view (including UNESCO Heritage site of Dolomites), Venice and the Mediterranean coastline and the most splendid countryside and real estate to marvel at. A busy and vibrant wine region, it holds over 10,000 grape growers over 24,450 hectares of vineyards with 348 sparkling wine producers to choose from.

This is what I feel is yet to be fully explored overall with Prosecco and that is ‘appreciating the producers’. Unlike Champagne where we are all very familiar with the glamour labels such as Veuve Clicquot or Dom Perignon that we focus our attention on when making a purchase, we are also equally led over qualities such as vintages / Premier Cru / limited editions and to a degree, depending on our taste preferences, whether we should opt for a Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay Brut or an Extra Dry for those preferring the sweeter tasting bubbly. When I speak with many of my friends who themselves love to drink Prosecco, most will not even realise that there are different labels produced, they just think that there is one producer and that producer is called Prosecco – No one will either be able to tell me who their favourite Prosecco producer is nor even be able to name a label, very different if I ask them to name Champagne labels!

So am I just making a fuss over something that really does not merit our time as Prosecco DOC is such a well priced sparkling wine option that we are not to be really bothered over reading the label and it is all about popping the cork and drinking the stuff? Is Prosecco the kind of bottom of the shelf drink solution and all about the price?

If you ever have the pleasure to visit the wine region of Prosecco and set some time aside to visit the many wineries of the region where many are open to public tastings and tours, you will undoubtedly soon discover that there is a lot more to Prosecco DOC and especially the varied flavours that wineries are producing. The styles produced include Brut (25%), Extra Dry (63%), Dry (10%) and Demi-Sec (2%) – (note that there is no such thing as rosé Prosecco). The nine provinces offer wine lovers a wonderful variation of climate, soil and wine-making traditions from smaller producers of under 100,000 bottles a year to those bigger wineries with impressive real estate producing millions.

Where to find out more about the Prosecco DOC region for tourism or how to explore the wines in more detail? I suggest popping over to the official website for the wine region that can be found at www.prosecco.wine and labels to look out for include Villa-Sandi, Borgoluce, Astoria and many more…

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.