Prosecco: the end of an era?
Prosecco: the end of an era?

Prosecco: the end of an era?

Close your eyes and try to imagine a world without Prosecco or, at least, without the word that identifies it.

It seems impossible, yet it is a scenario that is not, after all, so impossible to realize in the near future. It all started with an episode of the Report broadcast in November 2016.

Prosecco: the controversy over the name and pesticides

438,698,000 bottles purchased and 2.1 billion in turnover per year : these are the numbers of Prosecco which, in practice, coincide with about 1 million bottles uncorked every day .

Mind-boggling data, behind which you can guess how impressive this all-Italian reality has become not only nationally, but worldwide.

On the other hand, it is a goodness that, with its typical straw yellow color and its fresh and lively flavor , is practically the queen of our tables , especially on important days and events , for years representative of the best-selling Italian wine in the world.

And yet, behind these mind-boggling numbers there are pitfalls.

The only wines that can boast the “ Prosecco ” label (and be sold as such) are those produced in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia , all obtained from Glera grapes .

The catch is this: their DOC and DOCG denomination does not depend on the type of vineyard they come from, but on the name of a fraction of Trieste (Prosecco, in fact) where, paradoxically, no cultivation occurs.

Until 2009 there was only the Prosecco DOC Conegliano Valdobbiadene - assures Bernardo Iovine , author of the report broadcast - ; President Saragat, an excellent wine connoisseur, had granted the denomination in 1969 and in the decree specified: ' The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco wine must be obtained from grapes from the Prosecco vine '. In 2008, Europe declared that DOC is a denomination of place, not of grape variety, and then someone discovers that there is a fraction of Trieste called Prosecco “.

In short, it would have been a strategic operation to allow the areas concerned to continue producing Prosecco while safeguarding its exclusivity; exclusive from which the homonymous district of Trieste was left out!

And it was the local Farmers ' Association that came forward to demand justice. “ The thing we will do is a joint action to ask for a royalties royalty - said Edi Bukavec, director of the association - . Give a penny a bottle as politics, the Region, the Ministry, nobody wants to pay anything. We all make a sacrifice and offer self-taxation for the development of agriculture and viticulture in the province of Trieste. If this proposal also fails, then Samson and all the Philistines die, right? ".

But there is more between the producers' earnings and the small fraction that does not make even a cent.

The areas of intensive cultivation in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in fact, are expanding and, with them, the annual pesticide treatments : the vineyards now extend as far as the eye can see and are close to public roads and town houses. An area resident told Report microphones: “ There are four owners here dealing on four different days, so we should keep the kids inside four days a week, not open the windows four days a week, not hang out. laundry for four days a week, because - as you hear - they treated yesterday and there is still a smell here ”.

There has even been talk of pathologies attributable to this scenario, but the institutions deny any hypothesis of real danger to health.

And then the final suggestion of that now distant 2016 seemed unique and essential: converting to organic .

From there a lot of water passed under the bridge and Ferrari , for example, had already immediately converted 50% of the producers of Franciacorta .

But the battle did not end there.

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The news of a probable "schism" that would concern Conegliano Valdobbiadene Docg dates back to July 2020; in essence, there are those who would like to make it independent from the rest of production and marketing, without even referring to the name “Prosecco” anymore.

The request started by the Confraternity of Valdobbiadene, born in 1946 precisely to promote the dissemination and knowledge of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, which has sent an interpellation to all 2640 members of the productive chain of the denomination: "That the territory of the 'Conegliano name Valdobbiadene Docg 'is defined by well-defined borders - he insisted - , not superimposed on other territories or other denominations , except for the denomination' Colli di Conegliano '. That the 'Conegliano Valdobbiadene Docg' denomination is autonomous - he continued - and not part of the Prosecco system . Finally, that the denomination 'Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg' be changed to 'Conegliano Valdobbiadene Docg', without any reference to the denomination prosecco ".

It will be necessary to understand whether the application will be signed by the producers, who may or may not agree with the ideas expressed in the interpellation.

Here too there had been a spark: a company from Valdobbiadene had removed the word “Prosecco” from its labels and packaging for 2 years, keeping only the territorial one; " To dispel any confusion, " he declared.

On the other hand, the news of the blocking of rosé at the hands of the Trieste Farmers' Association was also contemporary, determined to be respected by interrupting the process of approval of the specification: many Treviso entrepreneurs had already announced the sold out for the new bottles. rosé, but the barrels remained full because the mechanism was stopped just while waiting for the codes for bottling.

In short, these discontent have been resonating within consortia and associates for years now.

Thus, the hot potato was passed to the Veneto Region , waiting for the situation to be sorted out (ignoring the fact that the matter would not be within its competence).

The evidence remains that giving up the name “Prosecco” would be a commercial suicide , since it is the best known and most drunk wine in the world: the wineries would immediately realize the consequent collapse that would heavily affect their budgets.

Probably, as in all things, the ideal would be a compromise between all parties: the vineyards themselves should be better cared for by the Presidents of the Consortia and by the regional authorities, also because there are abandoned ones that do not benefit the aesthetics or the attribution of the title of Unesco Heritage so proudly won.

It seems impossible, yet it is a scenario that is not, after all, so impossible to realize in the near future. It all started with an episode of the Report broadcast in November 2016.



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Prosecco: the end of an era?