Italy's Prosecco Production Could Reach One Billion Bottles in a Single Year
But the organization that oversees the DOC denied any official goal.
600 million bottles of Prosecco is a lot of bubbly. That’s about how many bottles of the trendy alternative to Champagne are expected to be released by Italian producers from this year’s 2018 vintage—which would set a new record. But though the sparkling wine can only be grown in an area of about 100 square miles, production could potentially get ramped up significantly further, with a target of 1 billion bottles supposedly on the table.
Prosecco is clearly popular. Back in 2015, we were even talking about a possible Prosecco shortage. As a result, about 7,500 additional acres have been allowed to be planted in the DOC over the ensuing years. According to The Drinks Business, which spoke with two Prosecco producers, the Conzorzio—which governs Prosecco production—was interested in increasing production even further. One producer suggested that the region still has "lots of areas" where new vines could be planted, tossing out the 1 billion figure as a potential goal.
But does the world need 1 billion bottles of Prosecco? By contrast, only 295 million bottles of Champagne were produced in 2017—and Champagne has a larger productive area of about 130 square miles, according to Comite Champagne.
Carlo Caramel from Prosecco brand Canevel told The Drinks Business he was worried that, though Prosecco is having a great run, maintaining that rate of growth might be impossible. "I’m afraid we are close to the limit," he told the U.K. drinks site. Caramel also wondered if such zealous production could also undermine the market, especially seeing as Prosecco already is seen as a less expensive option to something like Champagne. "[The Consorzio] speak only about the number of bottles, but never about the quality or the price of the bottle," he also stated.
Meanwhile, when we reached out to the Consorzio, the organization denied any official number without ruling out the possibility of getting there. "There is not an official annual production target of 1 billion bottles for the Prosecco DOC Consortium," we were told. Clearly, there’s little benefit to making such a claim outside to trying to grab headlines (like the one on this story). Still, with an expected record harvest to be announced in January and memories of a shortage still relatively fresh, it’s probably safe to think that, at the very least, production will continue to rise.