Could we be facing a prosecco drought? / Rex features

Italian manager also warned that wine merchants were using the drought as an 'opportunity' to put prices up

The United Kingdom is bracing itself for a dry summer after a leading prosecco manufacturer warned that stocks of the Italian bubbly were drastically down.

Sales of Italian fizz spiked during the recession as cash-strapped punters turned from champagne to prosecco.

But Robert Cremonese, export manager of Italian prosecco producer Bisol, says a bad harvest has resulted in shortages - which could mean prices may drastically rise.

“Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50 per cent in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage,” he told The Drinks Business.

Mr Cremonese added that he was unsure “how big the problem was” as many négociants, a French term for a wine merchant, were holding onto their prosecco and using the shortage as “an opportunity to put prices up, in some cases by 50 per cent.”

Prosecco, an Italian white sparkling wine, is traditionally produced in the north of Italy around Conegliano and Valdobbiadene but since the 2000s the grapes have been grown as far afield as South America.