Makers of the sweet Croatian wine argue the two products have little in common beyond the name.
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Italy and Croatia may lie on opposite sides of the Adriatic Sea, yet if you follow the Italian coast around towards Trieste, eventually, a mere 15 miles of Slovenia is all the separates the Italian border from the Croatian one. The two nations are nearly neighbors — but they aren't being too neighborly when it comes to their wines: Prosecco producers in Italy want to prevent Croatian winemakers from using the term Prosek to sell sweet dessert wine.

The EU's European Commission is preparing to deliberate on Croatia's request to begin putting the Prosek name on this locally-produced wine, according to the Associated Press, a petition that Italy's Prosecco producers oppose. "The problem for us is not that these producers, who make a very small number of bottles, enter our market. But it is the confusion it could generate among consumers," Luca Giavi, general director of the Prosecco DOC consortium, was quoted as saying.

pouring prosecco
Credit: Adobe Stock

Both wines trace their history back hundreds of years but have little in common besides the similarities in name and region: Prosecco, of course, is a sparkling wine made mainly with Glera grapes while Prosek is a sweet wine made with Croatian grape varieties. "Consumers will not be confused by this," Ladislav Ilcic, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, recently argued according to the AP. "Prosek should legitimately receive the protected denomination of origin, and producers should have full access to markets."

Still, as Prosecco has soared in popularity to become the world's best-selling sparkling wine by volume, the consortium has become increasingly vigilant in protecting the name, complaining about everything from an illegitimate "Prosecco ATM" to Prosecco Pringles. Croatia had actually originally asked for approval to use the Prosek name back in 2013 — the request was rejected at the time. Now that Prosecco sells over a half-billion bottles a year, Prosecco producers would like to keep it that way.