Prosecco shortage crisis over thanks to bumper harvest, experts say
The impending prosecco crisis striking fear into the hearts of barbeque-organisers everywhere could be over after experts announced a bumper grape harvest.
Official figures show that a bumper crop in the prosecco-growing region of Italy near Venice has produced enough grapes for 450 million bottles of wine, 144 million more bottles than in 2014, which is enough to keep UK prosecco drinkers sated throughout this summer's round of garden parties.
The UK has increased its prosecco consumption by 48 per cent between 2014 and 2015. Brits now buy one in every five bottles of prosecco produced, making the UK the lead export market.
Together with the US and Germany, the three regions claim three quarters of all the prosecco produced annually. Of the 70 per cent exported, 35 per cent goes to the UK, a bigger share than the 30 per cent that stays in Italy.
"Prosecco is a product of the land and so it will always be subject to Mother Nature but given the changeable climate throughout 2015, the numbers are very encouraging," said Stefano Zanette, president of the consortium for the protection of prosecco.
The consortium is made up of 356 sparkling wine producers and was set up in 2009 to safeguard the quality of the wine being produced, while developing and promoting the product globally. Only bottles with the consortium's seal can officially considered as prosecco.
Earlier statements from analysts had suggested that grocers were looking at alternative sparkling wines from Spain, France and Germany to feed demand as prosecco outpaced Champagne in sales.
UK prosecco sales came to £356m in the year to February 27, up 34 per cent on last year.
Champagne sales increased just 1 per cent to £251m, while sales in the wine sector as a whole grew just 0.4 per cent.