Speculation that sparkling wine drinkers could be deprived of their Prosecco in the next few months has been dampened by the trade, but some merchants have reported higher prices.
There has been concern for several months that a difficult 2014 vintage in much of northern Italy, due to prolonged bouts of heavy rain and cold weather, might curtail supplies of Prosecco.
In January this year, Italy 24 reported that the head of the Prosecco DOC council, Stefano Zanette, had authorised producers to use reserve stocks to help relieve any pressure.
Part of the potential problem also lies in the rising global demand for Italy’s premier sparkling wine. Italy’s wine observatory said last year that global Prosecco sales beat those of Champagne in 2013; 307m bottles to 304m.
Andy Shaw, buying director at Bibendum PLB, which supplies wine to many restaurants and retailers across the UK, said he was relatively relaxed about the amount of Prosecco available, albeit prices have risen.
‘Exact confirmation of whether there will be enough volume to satisfy demand is impossible to say, but we have sufficient volumes to satisfy our current customer requirements [and] indeed we are being offered more Prosecco volumes on a daily basis,’ he said.
‘The Prosecco supply was under pressure if sales of Prosecco continued increasing at the same rate as in 2014 whilst servicing booming markets in mainland Europe, the USA and the UK,’ he added. ‘What has happened as a result is that pricing has increased as the volumes have become more sought after globally, which has led to a softening of demand.’
Regulatory changes mean there will be more volumes on the market from the 2015 vintage, he said.
Domenico Zonin, chief executive of Italian Prosecco and general wine producer Zonin, was quoted by the Huffington Post as saying he didn’t expect significant problems with shortages.
While uncertainty may continue to linger around supplies of Prosecco DOC, producers in the higher grade DOCG areas were less affected by last year’s rain soaked harvest. Renata Toninato, of the trade body for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, told Decanter.com, ‘the 2014 harvest in the area of was standard in terms of quantity’.
Written by Chris Mercer