“The success of Prosecco”

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“The success of Prosecco” ha molte spiegazioni, probabilmente la più importante è quella imputabile alla crisi finanziaria che ha spinto molti consumatori verso un prodotto più economico rispetto allo Champagne.

Quello che segue è una parte della tesina consegnata per l’esame global business del Diploma WSET di Londra, dal titolo ” Accounting for the success of Prosecco, Pinot Grigio,  and Brunello di Montalcino”

” The non-Champagne sparkling wine category grew of 42,5 millions nine-litre cases in the period between 2002 and 2012, reaching 181 millions nine-litre cases sold , with growth in twenty of the top twenty-five markets. (just-drinks, 2012). The Vinexpo/IWSR forecast a growth of 6 % to 2014 and this lead to a share of 7,5% of the total wine market from the the actual 7% of sparkling wines (WSET, 2012). Without doubt the star of this success had been the Prosecco, an Italian grape variety, renamed Glera in 2009, responsible for a wine of the same name (Robinson J., 2006).

In fact the sales of Prosecco all around the world are the 15% of all sales of sparkling wines, with around 115 million bottles sold outside Italy against a production of 210 million bottles (drinksint, 2011)

Success of Prosecco: spritz aperol

Success of Prosecco: spritz aperol

A number of factors is driving the success of Prosecco, and one of these surely it is that the sparkling wine is now not anymore a wine consumed only in particular occasions to celebrate something, but it is becoming always more a wine consumed on an everyday basis like in France, Germany, north Italy and Catalonia.

Another factor has been the use of the Prosecco in one cocktail famous initially in Veneto, the Aperol Spritz, and now drinked also in Austria, Switzerland and the US.

Then the style of Prosecco helped it to have such huge success, in fact it is very different in style from Champagne, because it has low alcohol level (around 11 abv and this helped also the success because the people is looking for lighter wines) , it is less acidic and has softer bubbles (Cooper, 2012).

Another reason of this popularity of the Prosecco is also because it is a cheaper alternative to the Champagne and this is fundamental in this period of financial crisis, for example by the end of the 2012  in the UK the sales of Champagne will be a  third less from the beginning of the recession, but the sales of Prosecco and Cava will be 50% more.

Chris Wisson, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, says that before this problematic economic period, the Champagne was associated with success and he said: “People are looking to enjoy luxury in more accessible guises and at cheaper prices, Champagne now faces the very real risk of losing its strongest Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and association, with improvements in quality and the favourable price comparison of sparkling wine posing additional problems for Champagne brands” (Lechmere, 2012)

From the 1 August 2009  the Prosecco received from the wine authorities the quality assurance label of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), meaning that only grapes grown in the regions of the north-east Italy can be utilized to make the Prosecco. The higher quality assurance label, the DOCG, was given on Conegliano- Valdobbiadene , the area with the highest quality grapes (Cooper, 2012), but at least in this way the future of Prosecco will be protected from attempts of imitating it both within and outside Europe and everyone is producing it in areas that are not DOC or DOCG will have to label their bottles as the name of the grape, Glera (drinksint, 2009).  The problem will be to maintain a good price-to-quality ratio, because the new regulations will bring also a reduction in yields, and the challenge to maintain low prices for the Prosecco will be very difficult.

The DOC will show the most drastic decrease – from the current 180hl/ha to 126hl/ha. There will also be a small reduction in yields in the DOCG zone, from 95hl/ha to 90hl/ha. (Hughes, 2009) The opinion of Gianluca Bisol, from the Wine Future di Hong Kong of November 2011, is that the requests of Prosecco’s bottles will be more than a billion in the next 25 years, because the strength of Prosecco is that is not known as Status Symbol, but as  LifeStyle Symbol (winenews, 2011). “

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