Prosecco is a sparkling wine principally made from the Glera grape variety in north-east Italy, using a process called the tank method. More on that later.
The principal variety now known as Glera used to be known as Prosecco. The name was changed in 2009, so that the term ‘Prosecco’ could be used to designate defined areas that would be entitled to use the name, and to prevent other regions and countries from using it. Exactly the same way in which the name ‘champagne’ can only be used for sparkling wines made in a particular method, from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. This legal designation enables control over quality and quantity, and keeps prices fairly consistent.
The Italian DOCG Prosecco Consortium was successful in getting this legal decree enacted, thus preventing other countries and regions from using the name ‘Prosecco’ for sparkling Glera wine, made outside of the designated geographical region in north-east Italy.
There is however an ongoing challenge to this restriction, and that is here in Australia, where we are still able to label our home-grown versions as Prosecco.
Why? Well, the aforementioned Consortium tried to impose the same restrictions on Australia as it had elsewhere in the world - but it was successfully opposed by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in 2013 on the grounds that in Australia, Prosecco is still deemed a grape variety. This is because the grape variety Prosecco was pioneered in Victoria’s King Valley way back in 1999, and the decree made by the Italian Prosecco Consortium under European law only occurred in 2009, so it was already well in use in Australia. Good for us, not so good for the Italians. Although this will probably be an ongoing debate!