Supply-demand crisis: Prosecco needs lower yields, not restrictions on sales

On Italian blogs, everyone is talking about the release of roughly 100,000 hectoliters of Prosecco. [According to a report published by Oggi Treviso on Monday, the wine had been held in reserve from the 2013 vintage and is now being released to satisfy the growing demand for Prosecco DOC. The figure represents 5.1 percent of the appellation’s total production.]

I imagine that for many of you, it’s difficult to understand the dynamics of what created this craziness.

Let’s start from the beginning. Ten years of unchecked planting has led to a production surplus. All of us producers could imagine what was going to happen while politicians stood by without taking action.

In 2012, because there was fear that there would be a pricing collapse due to excessive supply, it was decided that 10 percent of sales would be blocked. All of a sudden, wineries were told that they would not be allowed to sell a big slice of their production. In July 2013, due to the increase in global demand for Prosecco, it was decided that the reserved wine would be released.

During the 2013 harvest, the Prosecco consortium decided it would block 20 percent of the wine produced. Just imagine a small winery that produces 1,000 hectoliters of Prosecco. In the wake of the consortium’s decision, that winery now has 200 hectoliters of wine in “limbo.” If it was to sell some of the wine, it has to declassify it to vino da tavola (table wine) and lower the price. Otherwise, it has to wait and hope that the person in charge makes the right decision (sigh).

Of course, the demand for Prosecco continues to grow every year. This is a good thing. But at the same time, excessive production needs to be accounted for. While 5 percent of the total production has now been released, the remaining 15 percent is still there in the cellar waiting for someone to decide that it’s time to change the rules.

Keep in mind that maximum yields for the different appellations are as follows:

Prosecco DOC – 180 tonnes per hectare
Prosecco DOCG Conegliano-Valdobbiadene – 135 tonnes per hectatre
Prosecco DOCG Asolo – 120 tonnes per hectare

I’m just a simple farmer. But I would have preferred lower maximum yields over the current policy.

—Luca Ferraro
grape grower, winemaker

Will they block 30 percent next year?

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