Like Rodney Dangerfield, makers of Prosecco want more respect.
If you respect Prosecco, take a little journey over to “Italian Makers of Prosecco Seek Recognition,” in the December 26, 2008 issue of The New York Times.
So what seems to be the problem?
Because prosecco is the name of a grape, like chardonnay or cabernet, anyone can use the name. Like cheeses, sausages, and breads, wines like Prosecco epitomize the blessings of locally produced food products.
Journalist Amy Cortese says,
Today, about 60 percent of all prosecco – some eight million cases – comes from producers outside the traditional prosecco-growing region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, a cluster of villages about a half-hour’s drive north of Venice. The newcomers are not held to the same strict production standards as the traditional producers, which are tightly governed under Italian wine laws.
Like French winemakers, makers of Prosecco want official recognition of their product. In many other countries like Brazil, Austria, and Germany, growers are planting prosecco grapes and producing what passes for Prosecco.
THE threat of foreign-brand prosecco has prompted northern Italian producers, of both D.O.C. and I.G.T. prosecco, to work together to protect their turf. They say they believe that their proposal will raise quality and prevent others from calling their products prosecco.
The plan would create a broad new D.O.C. designation to govern the hundreds of I.G.T. prosecco producers that have sprung up across eight northern Italian provinces in the plains from Treviso to Trieste. The producers would have to comply with strict quality controls, including lower yields per hectare and stronger oversight.
The region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, meanwhile, would be elevated to Italy’s highest designation for wine regions, known as D.O.C.G.
Stay tuned to the saga, which will no doubt continue for some time to come. Meanwhile, check out the cool interactive graphic provided by The New York Times on the sales of sparkling wines around the world.