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Italy warns Britons to stop ‘abusing’ term Prosecco

Prosecco has a geographical destination label, meaning it must be produced in one of two Italian regions

Alexander Butler
Saturday 23 December 2023 11:28 GMT
All about bubbly ahead of the holidays

British drinkers have been warned by an Italian consortium to stop abusing the term prosecco when they are drinking sparkling wine.

The Prosecco DOC consortium has displayed posters on the London Underground warning drinkers any effervescent wine is not prosecco, which has been protected under EU law since 2009.

The drink has a geographical designation label (DOC), meaning the wine must be produced in one of two Italian regions, Veneto or Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

“This is not prosecco. Do not call it prosecco if it is a common effervescent wine,” the poster, which features a picture of a barrel, warned.

Up to 15m people are estimated to see the posters, which have been displayed at more than 80 sites across London since 18 December.

Prosecco vineyards in Veneto, Italy. An Italian consortium has urged British drinkers to stop calling any sparkling wine prosecco (Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

Stefano Zanette, president of the Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC, said it was tradition for the group to carry out an international campaign at the end of each year highlighting the difference between prosecco and sparkling wine as consumers buy the drink of the festive period.

Diego Tomasi, the director of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG consortium, also warned the name being used for sparkling wines should be strongly opposed.

“The great value of Italian viticulture lies in the close and intimate link between the vine and genius loci. It is clear that this cannot be replicated and any attempt at imitation or evocation of the name must be strongly opposed. No other wine experience can boast our name,” Mr Tomasi told The Telegraph.

It comes after the number of prosecco bottles being exported to Britain fell by nine per cent in 2021 due to red tape caused by Brexit.

Coldiretti, the major organisation representing Italian farmers, said the UK had been overtaken by the US in prosecco exports but remained ahead of France and Germany.

Meanwhile, Australian producers have been making sparkling wine from the prosecco grape since 2001 and disagreements about the term have caused issues for free trade agreements with the EU.

In 2020, the Australian government funded a £54,000 research project to examine the validity of the protected geographical indication.

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