Sydney Times

ST Wine Club Wine & Food GUIDE

Italian Prosecco producers claim “geographical indicator”

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Debate over Italian Prosecco !

Prosecco is an increasingly popular sparkling wine that is associated with La Dolce Vita or the Italian Lifestyle ,…and is made from the indigeneous late ripening and relativeley neutral tasting Italian variety Glera in the Veneto region of Italy

The variety is indigenous to  the region known as Prosecco in Italy’s Veneto region, and  the DOC for which is Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene. This DOC, or the designated production zone capable of the best wines, lies west of the hamlet of Conegliano, near the Piave river, in the sub-alpine zone of the province of Treviso.

The best Prosecco comes from lower yielding vineyards, a rare practice considering the local tendencies to over-produce. Some of these wines are dry and show pistachio, apple or pear notes, containing a refreshing spritz.

They can be served as an aperitif with antipasto type foods,and the dryer versions also with light seafood dishes including prawns,fish carpaccio, and clam or seafood risotto.

These bubblies  are Italian at “Italian at heart” and  whilst Australian producers attempt to trade on this by accentuating their wines “Italianess” in terms of marketing and bottle design,.., they are not kidding anyone,.. according to a number of wine professionals and Sommeliers from Leading restaurants surveyed by this writer!

Top examples in Sydney retails shops include those from Zonin, Villa Sandi ,Torresella and  and an excellent “cheapie” from ALDI called Corte Carista  that almost trumps them all in terms of quality price ratio.

European geographical indicator.

As the European Union defends its appelations and trade regions, an old dispute has reared its head – Australian winemakers using the term “prosecco”.

Italy claims “prosecco” refers to the region around the Italian town “Prosecco” and not the grape variety.

However, prosecco was widely known as a grape variety until 2009, when Italy changed the varietal name to “glera” and claimed Prosecco as a European geographical indicator.

Italy has made clear during informal industry discussions ahead of negotiations for an Australian-European Union free-trade agreement that it wants a geographical indicator for prosecco.

Italy claims “prosecco” refers to the region around the Italian town Prosecco and not the grape variety.

Australian’s prosecco industry is reputed to be worth $60million, with that figure expected to jump to $200million in the next few years.

Ross Brown, from Brown Brothers, who produces the biggest selling Australian version of Prosecco (which according to industry sources imitates/replicates the Italian marketing style and packaging) stated “It’s quite a sleight of hand for the Italians to claim prosecco as a GI when for so long it’s been a grape variety … it’s a commercial clawback opportunity.”

Italy lashes out at Aussie producers

In 2015, the president and director of the Prosecco DOC Consortium hit out at Australia’s prosecco producers, calling them “imposters”.

Stefano Zanette, president of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, told drinks business: “We would like to set the record straight: like Champagne, Prosecco is a wine of place with protected production zones in the Veneto and Friuli.

*”It is critical that we protect Prosecco’s centuries-old heritage. If we don’t expose imitators, consumers won’t be able to trust that the Prosecco they purchase is of a guaranteed quality.”

*Quote from Drinks Business UK

Luca Giavi, director of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, said: “Some Australian producers are attempting to mislead consumers about the origin and the characteristics of their product.

“Why isn’t Australian Prosecco sold with other Australian wines? Why is it put on the shelf with Italian wines? Why is it that very often, in the labelling of the product, reference is made to Italy or to the ‘Italianness’ of the producers?”

Regardless of the legalities of this “Vinous dispute” ,..Mothers Day is the ideal opportunity to drink some Prosecco with Family and friinds ,..and we will let you be the judge!

It is the authors considered opinion that the Italian version generally has more complexity and finesse with a hint of savoury characteristics ,..however we will let you be the judge!



Corte Carista Prosecco –  Italy-Under $11.00 at ALDI

This wines  is light in colour, nice yeasty nose with a hint of fuji apples on the palate, lovely flavours. A great, lighter-style bubbly.

  • Fully Imported
  • Prosecco DOC from Italy’s Veneto Region in the North of Italy
  • This delicious Prosecco is fragrant and perfumed with a delicate array of white pear, floral and white acacia flowers
  • Seriously good value and an outstanding addition to any celebration, big or small

AWARD WINNER – Best Value Buy – Winestate, Annual Edition 2016,.. 3½ Stars – Winestate, May/June 2015,…Commended – 2015 International Wine Challenge

Villa Sandi Prosecco-Italy (Around $16 in selected retailers and on many Top restaurant wine lists)

Family-owned and run by the Moretti Polegato family, Villa Sandi is located in one of the most renowned wine region in Italy, the Prosecco area and is indeed a leader producer having reached over 90 Countries in the world. The winery has had a major role in setting the pace for Prosecco reputation as a wine and a production area while keeping to extreme high quality and   commitment to environment safeguard which have resulted into having part of the winery estates certified as ” Biodiversity Friend “. 
Villa Sandi Estates encompass all the Prosecco appellations from the DOC area to the Asolo DOCG hills to the traditional Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG steep hills and gentle slopes to the special cru of Cartizze in Valdobbiadene.  Awards like Tre Bicchieri Gambero Rosso, 90 points in Wine Spectator make Villa Sandi icon of a whole area, symbol of Italian life style.


COLOUR:Very pale straw yellow and an intense, fine and persistent perlage.

BOUQUETIntensely fruity aroma with clear hints of ripe golden apple, exotic fruit salad and citrus fruits; a persistent flowery aroma reminiscent of acacia flowers.

FLAVOURFresh and delicately sweetish. A fine froth develops in the mouth liberating soft fruity sensations.


6-8 °C

ZONIN La Famiglia Prosecco-Available from Dan Murphy stores nationally under $14.00

Region:  Veneto

Varietal:  Prosecco

Tasting Notes:

Fruity and aromatic on the nose, with hints of white flowers and apple. Very balanced and appealing on the palate with the delicate almond notes typical of Prosecco.


About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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