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Prosecco to produce 600 million bottles from 2018 harvest

Prosecco is on course to produce almost 600 million bottles of fizz from the 2018 harvest, making the region nearly two times the scale of Champagne.

According to the conzorzio for DOC Prosecco, this year’s vintage is expected to yield “3,700,000 hl of certifiable wine”, from the 23,000 hectares of vineyards in the region.

This is the equivalent of 493.3m bottles of Prosecco, up from a production of around 440m bottles from last year’s harvest, which was affected by adverse weather conditions in the region, from late spring frosts to summertime drought.

Meanwhile, although exact quantities have yet to be revealed, it is expected that the DOCG area for Prosecco Superiore – which totals around 5,000 hectares – should yield more than 100m bottles of certified fizz.

In last year’s less productive vintage, the DOCG towns of Conegliano, Valdobbiadene and Asolo together yielded 100m bottles of Prosecco, with the 2018 vintage expected to surpass that figure.

Commenting on this year’s harvest, Innocente Nardi, who is president of the consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco said, that yields per hectare “will be marginally higher than in 2017,” noting that the quality of the grapes would also be superior.

Combine the DOC and DOCG regions of Prosecco production, and it is expected that the total output of the Italian sparkling wine could nudge 600m bottles, almost double the supply of Champagne from the 2018 vintage, which is set to yield 315m bottles of wine from its 33,000ha (following a cap on yields for the amount of marketable wine that can be made from this year’s harvest in the French appellation).

Also, like Champagne – which allows the harvesting of grapes to put into a ‘reserve’ for future wine supply – this year’s harvest in the DOC Prosecco area will be used to create an additional supply of wine for releasing in later years.

“This year, the harvest reserve has been activated and it will be possible to introduce it in the market in the next years exclusively if the conditions indicated in the law occurs, in order to maintain the market balance,” explained Luca Giavi, the director general of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, in a discussion with the drinks business.

The harvest reserve could reach around 450,000hl, which would amount to an additional 60m bottles, which is held back as wine in tank. Such a store of wine is kept in case demand should outstrip the supply of Prosecco in the coming years, particularly if the output from future vintages should fall below average yields in the region.

So, while the yield by DOC law is 18 tonnes per hectare, due to the quality and quantity of grapes in this year’s vintage, an extra 20% above that figure can be harvested to be used as a reserve.

As previously reported by db, Prosecco producers are gearing up for what the president of the Prosecco DOC Consorzio, Stefano Zanette, has described as the “perfect” harvest in terms of quality.

It has also been said that this year’s vintage should kick-start the production of pink Prosecco from the DOC, although Luca Giavi has since told db that any decision to authorise the production of pink Prosecco would not occur in time for the processing of grapes from this year’s vintage, stating that a rosé version of the famous Italian fizz would, if all goes according to plan, be produced from next year’s harvest.

Meanwhile, Renata Toninato, who manages the press relations for the Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco, made it clear that rosé Prosecco was not an option for the DOCG.

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