Italy’s Prosecco producers prepare for rosé Christmas

The Italian government gave the go ahead for the production of pink Prosecco in May this year, and now, estates are gearing up for a big push in time for Christmas.

Villa Sandi’s president, Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, said the company has already set aside its Glera and Pino Nero harvest from last year, and hopes to have its rosé Prosecco on the market by September, just in time for Christmas.

Polegato has been a long-standing supporter of a rosé Prosecco label, and has been lobbying for its inclusion since 2009,  but said that “other producers weren’t ready at the time.”

“All the great sparkling wine appellations of the world have a rosé and we should have one, too. And our clients have been waiting for it as well. So it’s a big moment for me personally.”

Wine producers will be able to start creating this new type of Prosecco DOC from 1 August, which requires a fermentation period of at least 60 days.

If all goes to plan, realistically, the fizz will be on sale in Italy from around 1 October. However, the European market will have to wait until 1 November to allow the new legislation to be accepted and implemented by the EU.

There is a substantial and growing demand for more expensive Italian sparkling wines. Export volumes from the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG to the UK doubled in 2019, according to the data from its Consorzio.

But rosé fizz could push this further.

In the 12 months to 8 August 2019, volume sales of Champagne fell by -4.4% in the UK hospitality sector as diners opted for cheaper bubbles such as Prosecco, yet the total value of rosé Champagne sales actually increased by 0.5%.

Consumers are clamouring for pink wines at the moment, and providing them with a more affordable option could help Prosecco to retain its position as the market leader in sparkling wine.

Despite the delay, in reaching the rest of Europe and, more importantly, the UK, Polegato believes rosé Prosecco could boost his estate’s sales by up to 15%, “so it’s a big slice of the market”.

“Prosecco Rosé will most definitely represent an opportunity, especially in this delicate moment. It will make it possible to win over new clients and obtain new listings with distributors all over the world. It’s a new product that our clients have been waiting for this product for a while now. ”

He even thinks it will make the famous sparkling wine more versatile as a food pairing, opening up more opportunities for restaurant partnerships.

“Prosecco pairs well with every cuisine across the world. But it’s generally paired with seafood and white meat dishes. The new Prosecco DOC rosé will also be great with a steak. Prosecco is so versatile. The rosé only expands the range of dishes it can be served with.”

One of the first producers to launch a pink Prosecco will be Bosco Viticultori, which had originally planned to release its first bottles back in January.

“We will be making pink Prosecco from the 2019 harvest, which will be bottled in December. There is a temptation to get the wines ready in time for Christmas, but it’s better to take your time and make a quality product than rush it to market,” Bosco’s managing director, Paolo Lasagni, told db last summer.

While the process has suffered many delays, Bosco Viticultori will now be able to capitalise on 2020’s holiday season.

(Photo: Bottega)

Bottega Prosecco already makes a sparkling wine with Pinot Nero and Glera, but now, the company has unveiled the design for its new, DOC-labelled Prosecco rosé. The sparkling wine will contain 15% Pinot Nero, lending a bright pink hue.

Sandro Bottega, the owner of the eponymous Bottega Prosecco brand, told the drinks business the inclusion of rosé fizz in the DOC is a great opportunity and will allow the company to provide more variety in both its standard and premium lines.

“It is genuine and sustainable, tasty and light, sexy but not too expensive: in a few words the best of the best, useful to enjoy both for an aperitivo both for all the meal, for a happy hour and for a late night party, for a pink celebration or for a dessert.”

“For us it will be a great opportunity to extend the range and we will present it in two versions: standard and premium.”

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