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New Zealand to make its first Prosecco

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.

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