Prosecco’s popularity ‘good’ for Cava6th May, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
The ever-growing global thirst for Prosecco is a “good thing” for Cava, according to a key producer of the Spanish sparkler.
Speaking to the drinks business, Gloria Collell, winemaker at Freixenet and Segura Viudas, said: “Prosecco’s popularity will plateau but it is introducing new consumers to the sparkling wine category, which is a good thing.
“The Prosecco boom is helping to open minds and show that you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to open a bottle of sparkling wine – Prosecco and Cava can be Monday night wines,” she added.
Pointing out the differences between Prosecco and Cava, Collell believes Cava offers consumers more complexity and a wider range of styles.
“Prosecco is great, but it’s a simple wine that’s easy to understand. Cava offers a wide range of styles, from simple to incredibly complex. There is definitely room for both within the sparkling wine category,” she told db.
“The popularity of Prosecco highlights that consumers are seeking young, fresh and fruity wines and as Cava producers, we have to listen to them and react,” she added.
Collell admitted that it was a mistake for Cava producers to price their products so low in the UK market in the past, as it has led consumers to believe that it is a “cheap and cheerful” product, making it difficult to put prices up.
“Freixenet recently upped its prices by 10%. It meant we lost sales as a result but it was a step that we needed to take to prove that Cava merits a higher price point than it is currently selling for in the UK,” Collell told db.
She also believes that in observing the Champenois so closely, Cava producers have “taken their eye off the ball” in neglecting to focus on what the Italians are up to.
Flying the flag for high-end Cava, Segura Viudas has released a 100% Pinot Noir rosé onto the market in such tiny amounts it needs to be sold on allocation.
“This is the first wine we’ve had to sell on allocation. We aren’t even selling it in Spain but instead are focusing on our key export markets,” Collell said.
She describes Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Rosé 2011, which has an RRP of €40, as a “wife” to the original Reserva Heredad Brut.
Just 10,000 bottles of the salmon pink fizz were produced, with the pale pink colour coming only from the skin contact during the transportation of the Pinot Noir grapes, which hail from a single plot in the village of Aiguaviva in Penedès.
“We’re not making Pantone wine to a specific format, the onion skin colour is completely natural,” Collell assured db.
As for conquering the Chinese market, Collell says it is on her radar, but that Freixenet is holding back from entering it in a big way at the moment.
“We’re waiting for the Chinese market to mature before we go in big there. We’re with ASC Wines out there but we could be much bigger. We’re doing a lot of education in China but it’s a touch nut to crack as the focus is largely still on still red wine at the moment,” she said.