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Prosecco Producers Apply for GI Status in India

Posted: Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 18:34

Prosecco Producers Apply for GI Status in India

Jan 13: Producers of the popular sparkling wine Prosecco from North eastern part of Italy have filed an application in India in November, 2014 through their Consortium- Consorzio Di Tutela Della Denominazione Di Origine Controllate Prosecco to protect against the copying of name of the wine in any form or abusing the label of world’s highest exported sparkling wine, even as report of misuse of the trade mark have been reported from UK

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The galloping success of Prosecco in the world where the shipments crossed 307 million bottles overtaking the 304 million bottles of Champagne, making it the world’s most exported sparkling wine for the first time in 2013 (figures for 2014 are not available yet but Prosecco is expected to maintain the lead) has tempted producers in some countries to cash in on the exploding popularity of the beverage making the producers go for the GI registration of the product globally.

This application no. 503 filed on 12th November, 2014 to protect the Geographical Indication (GI) Prosecco is a step to protect against any such step in India. Several other products like Champagne and Port (apparently the last one to get this registration) are a few of the already registered several GIs in India.

Characteristics of DOC Prosecco

Prosecco DOC wines can be in three styles: Still, Semi Sparkling (Frizzante) and Sparkling (Spumante)

Still wine must have a minimum of 10.50 % alcohol. The production of this style is very limited (1% of the total production of Prosecco). It may be dry or medium-sweet with fresh characteristics.

Semi sparkling has straw yellow colour, more or less intense, bright with a conspicuous formation of bubbles. Again, it must have a minimum alcohol level of 10.5%. Total minimum acidity must be 5 gm/liter and the internal pressure between 1 and 2.5 atmospheric bars.

Sparkling wine has similar characteristics but the internal pressure may be up to 3 bars and alcohol level more than 11%.

Grapes for Prosecco

Prosecco must have a minimum of 85% Glera grapes. Up to 15% of the other grapes allowed are Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera and Glera Lungo and must be from nine provinces of in between the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia (Regions are similar to States in India) in the northeast of Italy- Belluno, Gorizia, Padua, Pordenone, Treviso, Udine, Venice, Vicenza and Trieste.

The sourcing of grapes with nor more than 18 tons/ hA, and vinification and bottling to be done within the geographical area specified-are the important restrictions.  The maximum grapes/wine yield shall not exceed 70%. Should such yield exceed the limit but stays within a maximum of 80%,  the amount in excess of 70% will not be given a DOC status. The tests for all the checks are carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy.

These wines listed for the GI status have been categorized as The Controlled Denomination of Origin (COD) in Italy and Protected  Origin Denomination (POD) at European level.

Infringement in India

According to our information, there is no cause of violation of the proposed GI so far in India. No one is growing the Glera/Prosecco grape in order to call it Prosecco. Interestingly, the GI application a copy of which is with delWine does not specify if the bottlers of wine using the Charmat method (second fermentation in the tank) can call it ‘produced by the Prosecco method’. In other words, can one call a wine made from other grapes as ‘made by Prosecco method’ to highlight the fruity and light nature of the product?

To give a proper perspective, ‘Methode Champenoise’ –the process of second fermentation in the bottle may be used only in Champagne. All other producers must call it something else- Methode Traditionelle has become a popular and de-facto method everywhere, including in India.

Prosecco GI infringement in UK

There may be soon the time for prosecco producers to have a head-on collision with the bars and pubs in the UK where the sales and consumption has been booming after the recession because of its value-for money advantage over Champagne-the most popular bubbly earlier. Although Prosecco can only be sold when sold in bottles that have been packaged in the geographical areas marked, these outlets are breaking the 2009 appellation law by selling the sparkling wine as draft and calling it Prosecco. They have called upon the Food Standards Agency and Intellectual Property Office in UK to crack down on the “illegal” marketing of Prosecco in bars and pubs across the country.

Prosecco Headache

The Prosecco producers may have a headache chasing the London pubs to stop misusing the popular bubbly as the name for their sparkling wines and may even expect headache from the unauthorised makers of Prosecco in countries like Indian where they have applied for GI Prosecco DOC registration but studies have shown that Prosecco, Champagne, Cava or other sparkling wines causes alcohol to be absorbed faster into the blood stream than in still wines and cause headaches for the drinkers.

According to a report in the Drinks Business, Professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado, the carbon dioxide in Champagne and other sparkling wines causes “you to get a faster rate of absorption and higher blood alcohol levels if you drink Prosecco or Champagne as compared to a non-carbonated drink. The quicker rate of alcohol absorption leads to a worse hangover the next day.’ He says that two thirds of people get drunker faster when they drink Champagne or other sparkling wines like Prosecco or Cava in comparison to still wines, and who will therefore feel the effects more acutely the morning after.

University of Surrey carried out a study in 2001, in which volunteers were given two glasses of freshly opened Champagne followed by two glasses of flat Champagne. The researchers discovered that the subjects had an average of 0.54 mg/mL and 0.39 mg/mL respectively.

Only 20% of the carbon dioxide in Champagne escapes from a bottle in the form of bubbles – the remaining 80% is released through direct diffusion. Therefore, if you are popping a Prosecco, Chak-de-phatte (Cheers!) and drink carefully and let us know if you do get more headache in the morning after! It’s best to control the quantity to two glasses.

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