Jan 09: Despite Covid-19 and an anticipated drop in demand for Prosecco, the prestigious Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG clocked a record 92 million bottles in 2020-same as in 2019, writes Subhash Arora who feels this feat may not interest Indian Prosecco lovers fed mostly with the cheaper, ubiquitous doc version that sells over 400 million bottles and is imported due to lower costs and high import duties but is steeped in culture, history and of course unique land
The production of 92 million bottles is an incredible milestone for a year so severely affected by the pandemic-but compares favourably with the 92 million last year- and 70 million bottles in 2006 when I had traversed the region for the first time. It is not easy to increase the production much more in this ‘Classico’ area because of steep hills and harvesting by hand. About 3,500 families are involved in Prosecco making in the area, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. The region is known not only for its excellent sparkling wines because of the location, but also offers an equally excellent opportunity for wine tourism.
The Prosecco hills - between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the province of Treviso, in the north-east of Italy, are an extraordinary wine region where internationally renowned wine is produced; a small world of the past is covered with vineyards worked by hand on steep slopes, that in July 2019 received this important recognition.
A few of the wineries present in India are Carpene Malvolti, Bisol, Villa Sandi and Astoria but most of them produce or purchase and brand the cheaper Prosecco doc wines to compete in the marketplace. Over 400 million bottles of doc wines are estimated to have been produced in the same period though the exact figures are not yet released.
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Innocente Nardi, President of the Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, talks about the record 92 million production achievement, “This is truly a historic result, particularly because of the adverse conditions in 2020. The wineries have proven their ability to adapt to the situation and their seriousness, in facing the ominous situation of the market- especially in spring, and bound by the strict measures that we have been forced to adopt. There were some fears expressed in the autumn due to a worsening epidemiological situation. The final result is also due to a strong recovery in December, which saw an increase in certifications compared to previous years.’
Also Read: Prosecco DOCG reaches highest Sale of 92 Million Bottles in 2019
One of the key factors in the increase beyond expectation was due to the repositioning of the product in channels that were not used as much in previous years, especially e-commerce. (Unfortunately, Indian producers and importers were devoid of this channel thanks to the government regulation, resulting in huge drops in sales).
‘This territory is also the largest glyphosate-free cultivated area in Europe. Product quality and protection of the territory are elements for which we are being recognised by increasing amounts of consumers, but our recent advertising campaign has also helped to valorise and promote our Prosecco DOCG,’ asserts Nardi.
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‘The Consorzio confirms the commitment of the denomination's many stakeholders precisely on the sustainability and protection of the territory fronts; it has created a veritable laboratory of sustainability, the results of which speak for themselves- from the reduction of chemical substances in vineyard management to the banning of glyphosate in agreement with the various municipal administrations. This makes the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Hills the largest glyphosate-free cultivated area in Europe,’ says Nardi proudly.
The Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG was founded in 1962 as a private entity to guarantee and oversee compliance with the production regulations of Prosecco Superiore DOC. The sparkling wine produced in the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene was certified Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC) in 1969 and Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin (DOCG) in 2009. The production area includes 15 municipalities: Conegliano, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo, Susegana, Pieve di Soligo, Farra di Soligo, Follina, Miane, Vidor, and Valdobbiadene. The Consorzio brings together 182 Prosecco wine cellars and 480 winemakers.
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