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Australian ‘Prosecco’ selling like hotcakes

A “Prosecco” from Western Australia that aims to go head-to-head with the Italian sparkler has just been released and is already selling well, its maker has reported.

Larry Cherubino

Keen to capitalise on the runaway success of Italian sparkler Prosecco, sales of which are booming all over the world, WA winemaker Larry Cherubino has launched his own Australian “Prosecco”.

Named Carte Blanc, perhaps in a cheeky hat tip to the fact that he’s been given carte blanche to do it; Cherubino told db that he was legally able to call the sparkler a Prosecco, despite it not coming from the northern Italian region.

Carte Blanc “Prosecco” from Pemberton

“I planted a lot of Glera six years ago in Pemberton and we’ve just released our first “Prosecco” under the Ad Hoc brand. We made 1,000 cases and it’s all already allocated.

“It’s a bit cheeky but I’m planning on taking the Prosecco producers head on. The Prosecco machine is just starting to kick in but sadly I don’t have enough of it to sell it outside Australia,” Cherubino told db. “There are a lot of pretenders and wannabes in Victoria trying to jump on the bandwagon,” he added.

Ad Hoc Carte Blanc Prosecco is priced at AU$26 (£12), so it doesn’t come cheap. Cherubino revealed that the Aussie thirst for Champagne is still insatiable, but he hopes consumers will start paying attention to homegrown sparklers.

“We have a big appetite for Champagne here but we’re making some good stuff of our own in Tasmania, Victoria, the Yarra Valley and Pemberton, which excels in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” he said.

He also spoke of the trend for skin contact “orange” wines in Australia, but stressed that he won’t be bottling one anytime soon. “Orange wines aren’t my thing – complexity is good in wine up to a point. I like vibrancy in my wines,” he said.

A decade ago Cherubino started his own label, which has several tiers including the single vineyard and single varietal focused The Yard and top tier Cherubino range, of which only around 100 cases of each wine are made a year.

China has grown to become Cherubino’s third largest market with sales up 20% year on year. “Momentum is building there – it helps that we’re nearby and are in the same time zone. Chinese consumers are extremely savvy now and are shopping around for their wines as they want quality wines at a good price,” he said.

“Western Australia has benefitted from this as we can offer refined Bordeaux blends at a reasonable price. You get a lot of flavour within a light frame with our reds,” he added.

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