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Prosecco Docg, Doc or simply Oz

Posted: Thursday, 16 March 2017 12:27


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Prosecco Docg, Doc or simply Oz

Mar 16: During a recent wine tasting I was surprised to find De Bortoli Prosecco that made me wonder how Australia could produce the bubbly that had a GI certification which stipulates that both Prosecco DOC or DOCG wines may be produced from Glera grapes and only in the designated areas in Italy, writes Subhash Arora who researched later and found the requisite documentation that indicates that Prosecco is indeed allowed to be produced in Australia as a varietal wine

Click For Large ViewProsecco from the North-eastern part of Italy has to be made within defined territory in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia as the DOC wine. The wines made in the classic area of the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene can be DOCG wines. Prosecco has the GI status and no other region in Italy or elsewhere may call the wine Prosecco. So it was surprising to see that De Bortoli has been making Prosecco since 2009 in King Valley where a handful of Italian immigrants were already making the bubbly for a decade.

Geographical Indication, in relation to wine, means an indication that identifies it as originating in a country, region or locality in that country, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wines are essentially attributable to their geographical origin. Italy had been making the Prosecco bubbly since 1868 in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene belt, the classic hilly area in the north-eastern Veneto region (and Prosecco still wine for at least over 250 years, according to records). Till 2009, practically all the wines were DOC or IGT, with an extremely small amount of Superiore di Cartizze DOCG as well.

However, that changed in 2009 when they banded together and got the DOC upgraded to DOCG while the IGT wines in the defined but comfortably large areas upgraded to DOC-disallowing the use of IGT, a smart protective decision as the demand for Prosecco had been shooting up for the previous decade. A few years later it was also granted GI status giving them the authority to register the GI in any country outside the designated area of Prosecco, while also taking the precaution that the name of the grape was changed to Glera in Italy.

Australia and the GI

Sparkling wine made from prosecco grapes and the label mentioning it as the varietal, has been in production since 2000 in Australia. Italian immigrants who still loved the bubbly from their homeland, banded together and bought vignerons in the north-east Victoria’s cool-climate King Valley. Later a few of them even joined hands to establish The Prosecco Road to attract tourists.

Click For Large ViewProsecco plant material has been imported in Australia from 1997. Wines produced from Prosecco grapes were commercially available from 2004 after which the regional tourism route, the ‘Road to Prosecco’ was established in King Valley, Victoria. These wines were also exported to New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia- prior to 2009 when Prosecco was changed to the wine producing region and the grape was redefined as Glera.

According to the contention of Australians the use of Prosecco as the name of a grape variety was common internationally, including in Europe until 2009. The International list of vine varieties and their synonyms’ produced by the OIV lists Prosecco as the name of a grape variety for use in Australia. The 1994 Wine Agreement expressly referred to Prosecco as a vine variety.

When the European Commission raised an objection and sought to register Prosecco as GI in Australia, the Registrar of Trade Marks rejected their objection on the above grounds elicited by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, in November 2013. The main basis of the decision was that the term had been used, and continued to be used in Australia as the name of a variety of grapes. It appears that the EC did not appeal the decision to the Federal Court. In any case, Prosecco made in King Valley where De Bortoli Prosecco also has its vineyards, is thriving and it is available in India through their distributor, Prestige Wines which had organised the Tasting at Hotel Leela Gurgaon.

So don’t be surprised if next time you look for a Prosecco label and find it is neither Docg nor Doc-but a Prosecco Oz- and most likely from King Valley. Of course you would not find the label in Europe where it would be Glera grape varietal bubbly made in Australia.

For an earlier related Article, visit

Prosecco Superiore is Superior to Prosecco

Subhash Arora

Australian Ruling

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Tags : De Bortoli Prosecco, Australia , Glera, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Valdobbiadene, DOCG wines, Prosecco, King Valley, Geographical Indication, IGT, Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, The Prosecco Road, Road to Prosecco, Winemakers, Federation of Australia, Prestige Wines


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