This Christmas and New Year there will be a record number of toasts made with Italian spumante, or sparkling wines, as they become an “essential” party season purchase around the world, said Italian agricultural association Coldiretti.
The value of Italy's sparkling wine exports has jumped by 13 percent this year according to analysis by Coldiretti based on Istat’s export figures.
Figures show record sparkling wine sales abroad for 2018, valued at over 1.5 billion.
Demand for Italian bubbles is higher than ever before, Coldiretti says, with some 70 percent of the Italy’s sparkling wine production now being exported.
Figures show some 500 million bottles were exported this year; the country produced about 700 million bottles in total.
More Italian sparkling wine is now sold abroad than French champagne, the figures say; though with prices on average significantly higher, champagne still comes out way ahead in export value.
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
Coldiretti named the most popular Italian sparkling wines abroad as Prosecco, Asti and Franciacorta.
The biggest fans of Italian sparkling wines are the British, who don’t seem to have been put off their drinks by Brexit. The UK ranks as the biggest market for Italian sparkling wines with a five percent increase in sales in 2018.
The United States is in second place with a huge 13 percent jump in sales, while Germany is in third place, with an increase of six percent.
But Coldiretti points out that Italian sparkling wine is also very popular in Russia, with a 21 percent increase in sales despite trade difficulties caused by the continuing embargo on a number of of Italian-made products.
And a double-digit increase is also seen in Japan, with an 18 percent rise in the number of bottles of sparkling wine sold.
However, Coldiretti points out that as sales of genuine “Made in Italy” sparkling wines increase, so does the simultaneous growth of imitations.
Sparkling wine “pirates” are cashing in on the Made in Italy brand on all continents, especially in Europe, with drinks that have no real connection to Italy.
Brands like Kressecco or Meer-Secco produced in Germany clearly reference Italian prosecco, while Coldiretti says that prosecco, or something being sold as prosecco, is available on tap in British pubs – despite regulations stating that it must be sold from bottles only.
However Italy's winemakers fear that a predicted Prosecco price hike after Brexit could see its sales plummet dramatically in the UK.