As die-hard prosecco fans, we can’t say we’ve noticed this at all, but apparently, prosecco is no longer the drink of choice for Brits. ‘Fake news!’, we hear you scream, but no, seriously, prosecco exports have fallen in Britain for the first time in a decade, and we’re supposedly all switching to homegrown English bubbly.
The devastating news came from Coldiretti, Italy’s biggest farming association, reporting that exports of prosecco have dropped by seven per cent so far this year, a massive change from the previous booming sales of the past decade. Before this, more than a quarter of all prosecco exported abroad was consumed by the British, with Germany and the US following closely behind.
So why have we all abandoned our previous favourite Italian bubbly? Well, according to Coldiretti, it’s all to do with politics and Trumps favourite topic, fake news. With Brexit almost six months away, uncertainty in the market and a weak pound means that Brits are switching to English fizz. Sales of English sparkling wine are up seven per cent compared to 2016, after this year’s record-breaking heatwave meant vineyards in England are experiencing their best harvest yet.
With some vineyards starting their harvest three weeks earlier than usual, one estate in West Sussex hopes to produce a million bottles this year. ‘We are very excited about this year’s harvest following ideal conditions over the past few months,’ Cherie Spriggs, head winemaker at the Nyetimber estate told the Telegraph, ‘English sparkling wine is reaching new heights.’
Coupled with the increasing price of exports thanks to a very weak pound, English fizz is proving to be the drink of choice compared to the increasing prices of prosecco. According to Coldiretti, ‘the tensions caused by the Brexit negotiations and an increase in duties’ mean exports are down, but also ‘nationalistic fake news aimed at discrediting Italian sparkling wine’ is to blame.
Referencing news from last Summer, when British dental experts warned that consuming large amounts of prosecco would lead to receding gums and decaying teeth, also known as the ‘prosecco smile’, the Italian producers defended their wine, stating that consuming many types of food and drink in excess could cause tooth decay, not just prosecco.
While the Coldiretti farmers might be convinced that prosecco is suffering from political upheaval, others are putting the decreased exports down to simple economics. ‘The market has grown at a great rate and as of last year, the British drank more prosecco than even the Italians,’ said a spokeswoman for a group of prosecco producers in the Veneto region of northern Italy, ‘It could be that the market has reached saturation. It can’t grow year after year ad infinitum.
Lemonade Prosecco Punch
This concoction by Crazy For Crust will go down a storm and any and all social gatherings. Your only problem may be that this vodka, lemonade and prosecco drink might go down a little too well...
‘While there’s been a drop in the volume of exports, there’s been an increase in value of exports because prices are up,’ she continued, ‘I’m not sure it’s anything to do with Brexit.’
Whether prosecco has gone political or not, the reduced trade between Italy and Britain has been buffered by an increase in exports to Germany and the US, whose prosecco imports have increase by five per cent compared to last year.
So, fear not, prosecco lovers, the Italians won’t be reducing their supply’s anytime soon for as long as Germany and the US continue to make up or terrible betrayal. But next time you’re out for post-work drinks, maybe raise a glass (of English sparkling wine) in memory of our once true love, may we pray that prosecco does not become a casualty of our terrible Brexit negotiations and dwindling economy...