Prosecco and Cava: A glass half full?

15 January, 2013

The bubbles may not be overflowing for prosecco and cava, but Lucy Britner finds the duo weathering the financial storms of their respective countries

Domestic consumption is down, harvest yields across Europe have slumped and financial reports in November suggest both Spain and Italy’s economies are shrinking faster than Alice on her way to Wonderland. Add to that reports that cava producers are losing confidence in the appellation and the prospects for cava and prosecco don’t look good. 

In fact, if the Mad Hatter was to throw a tea party, you’d probably assume it to be quite a sober affair with absolutely no cause for bubbles.

But that’s not the whole story. For prosecco, the world looks rosy and, although cava’s outlook is less clean cut, there are still reasons to be cheerful.

Spanish sparkling wine’s volume may’ve dropped 7% in Spain from 2010 to 2011 but grew an enormous 63% in Russia and 32% in Brazil, according to Wine Intelligence. 

Meanwhile, Italian sparkling wine saw a 6% slump in Italy but a 65% increase in China and 30% increases in both Russia and the US. 

Let’s look at prosecco first. 


The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore producers’ consortium showed a 4% increase in volume for the full year 2011. Bottles numbered 68.7 million and turnover was Ä420 million. 

Between 1970 and 2010, the area of vineyards in production rose from a little less than 2000ha to the current figure of around 5,500ha. In the same period production increased from 14 million bottles to 65 million. 

In the past decade the share of bottles exported by the denomination’s 166 bottling companies has doubled, reaching 40% of total production in 2011. 

Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG is exported to more than 50 countries and, according to the consortium, Germany is the leading market, with 34.3% of exports, followed by the US (up 81.9% compared with 2009) and Canada (+44.6%). In third place is Switzerland, with 15% of exports.

Cristina Follador, marketing director at Follador Prosecco, says: “The international consumer has developed a loyal taste for prosecco. The price:quality ratio for prosecco has proved attractive. Plus they see the added benefit of Italian style.”

Style often comes in the way a product is packaged and Follador says her brand’s latest innovations have also helped maintain a premium status. 

“Premium Prosecco producers such as Follador have developed interest from every level of the global trade for DOC Treviso and Superiore DOCG styles, showing that prosecco can offer a fine quality alternative to other premium sparkling wine categories. The recent launch of our unique gift tubes have reinforced this premium positioning. We are growing in the European, Asian and North American markets focusing on our premium styles, where the consumer has shown great interest in understanding the quality characteristics of great prosecco.”

Massimo Tuzzi, Zonin’s chief international officer, adds that DOCG proseccos do well in mature markets. He says: “In general, DOCG proseccos, compared to DOC ones, are well appreciated by mature markets such as Germany, the US, Switzerland and Scandinavia.” 

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