New Zealand to make its first Prosecco

23rd February, 2016 by Patrick Schmitt

New Zealand winemakers are about to plant the country’s first Glera vines that will go on to produce Prosecco in three years’ time.

Steve Voysey

Steve Voysey is a consultant winemaker with a range of clients from Indevin to Ashwood Estate, and has his own business called Spade Oak Vineyard. He founded Prosecco NZ at the start of this year.

The Prosecco variety, otherwise known as Glera (to differentiate the grape from the protected Prosecco source in Italy’s Veneto), will be planted this spring in Gisborne, New Zealand, following the release of Prosecco vines from quarantine earlier this month.

According to Steve Voysey, who consults for New Zealand’s largest wine business, Indevin, the vines were imported from Australia, where Prosecco is grown in the King Valley to produce sparkling wine by the same name.

The Prosecco clone VCR 101 has spent the past four years in quarantine, and following its release earlier this month, is now being grafted onto rootstocks from Gisborne’s Riversun Nurseries.

Voysey told the drinks business that he has set up a company called ‘Prosecco NZ’ to promote the new venture, which he has done in partnership with Dr Susan Wheeler, a viticultural scientist with her own horticulture consultancy.

Voysey said that he plans to plant 160 hectares of the grape over the next two years, and will make a sparkling wine in Gisborne, before selling it to “branded partners”, adding that he “invites anybody with a brand who is interested in launching a New Zealand Prosecco to contact me.”

Although Marlborough producer Toi Toi already has a ‘Prosecco’ on the market, this is in fact a ‘Prosecco style’ wine that it is made from a combination of Riesling, Muller Thurgau and Pinot Gris.

Voysey added that his imported Prosecco clone VCR 101 is sanctioned by the Italians and commands a royalty back to Italy’s VCR (Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo) for every vine planted.

Although the name Prosecco is protected for use only by producers within the Veneto area of northern Italy, a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in 2013 gave Australia, along with New Zealand, the right to produce Prosecco and sell it as Prosecco, rather than a sparkling wine made from Glera grapes.

However, Prosecco producers in Australia and New Zealand cannot export such products to any country within the EU, unless they remove the word Prosecco from the label.

10 Responses to “New Zealand to make its first Prosecco”

  1. I am very disappointed in the inaccurate headline of this article … a serious magazine like you should know that the name Prosecco is protected by law … there can be no Prosecco from new Zealand.

    • Neal Baker says:

      The World Trade Organisation ruled that Australia and New Zealand can produce ‘Prosecco’ as long as they do not export it to the EU. If they wanted to export it to the EU, it would need to be called ‘Glera’. The headline is therefore perfectly accurate.

      • Dear Neal Baker,
        as a wine journalist living in Italy I have followed the Prosecco-Glera-issue very closely – and until now I have never heard about the nominated WTO-rule of 2013.I know that talks about the general register of wine & spirits as following TRIPS are stuck since years and that Australia has refused to protect Prosecco as GI, regarding it as generic name for the grape, by the end of 2013. Both can’t be seen as a specific WTO-rule though and I do not even find a dispute-record on he WTO-website. So I ask you courteously to indicate the source of the WTO-decision.
        Thank you and best regards!

  2. Congratulations and the best of luck with your business.

  3. Christian Callec says:

    No judgement, just an addition, as seen from the Californian side:

  4. Congratulations! All the luck in the world.

  5. Richard says:

    It was actually a decision by the Australian Government Geographical Indications Committee that ignored the request from the European Commission to protect Prosecco as a GI, upholding an objection from the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

  6. Kent Benson says:

    Patrick/Neal, was there a WTO ruling or not?

  7. Markus Hungerbühler says:

    Thank you, Markus, for your appreciated comment, and I agree with you. I also follow the discussion about Prosecco as a GI or/and a grape variety but I haven’t heard from such a decision by the WTO. There is also no mentionning at all in an Annual Report of the WTO. I just wonder where the drinks business got this information from, and as a lawyer I would be very curious to study the reasoning of this decision. The decision mentioned by Richard is something different: the EU tried to register “Prosecco” locally, as a GI in Australia, but failed since it is not mentioned in the Agreement between the European Community and Australia on trade in wine. The Australian Registrar was not obliged by superior law to register Prosecco as a GI, hence Prosecco can remain a grape variety. By the way, how does Australian Prosecco taste? Cheers and Regards!

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