Prosecco, I didn’t get the memo

New Years Eve is upon us once again, and so are the countless articles recommending the best bubbly to ring in the occasion. I was reading through one of these articles the other day in my local newspaper and was quite impressed by the extensive amount of background information it provided on the key sparkling wines.  

However, when it came to Prosecco, I was a bit baffled when I read:

“…and the Italian sparkling wine—usually made from the Glera grape…”

Glera grape? I thought Prosecco was made from the Prosecco grape. That’s why I loved Prosecco when studying for the WSETs because it was so easy to remember what it was made of. I mean, with Champagne you have to memorize that it’s “usually a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes” and that Cava is “typically made with Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes”…but Prosecco—easy-peasy—“it’s made from the Prosecco grape”.

Well, not anymore. They changed the name. “They” being the Consorzio per la Tutela del vino Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (aka. Consortium of Prosecco Producers). Now the grape is called Glera, which is an old synonym for Prosecco.

Apparently, this is old news. The name change became official on Aug. 1, 2009. However, I was not aware of this until just the other day after reading my local newspaper. So, I did a little investigation and what I revealed is quite an interesting story:

Brand Prosecco

The name was changed to protect the integrity of the term “Prosecco”. The wine has become very popular, which meant the Prosecco grape was increasingly being cultivated outside its protected region (at the time this region consisted of Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadine DOC and Prosecco Colli Trevigiani IGT). This meant producers outside the protected designation of origin could still put Prosecco on the label.  

So, when the region sought to upgrade to DOCG status it resolved this issue by passing legislation to change the name of the grape. Today, Prosecco can only refer to wine produced in the Prosecco region, which now includes the newly promoted Conegliano Valdobbiadine Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Prosecco DOC Treviso.

Producers outside this region making wine from the grape “formerly called Prosecco” must now use the name Glera.

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