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Posted by BEC on

As the Northern hemisphere enters summer, fizzy drinkers have been thrown into a panic that has run wildfire through social media and seen shoppers scouring the supermarket shelves to hoard their favourite sunshine tipple. It seems Prosecco stocks may not last out the season – so we’ve been led to believe.

Export manager for Italian producer Bisol, Robert Cremonese, set the newswires alight at the recent London Wine Week by announcing that the burgeoning community of Prosecco drinkers could be facing dry times. ‘Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50 per cent in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage,’ he told The Drinks Business.

‘We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock. At the moment we don’t know how much Prosecco they’re holding on to.’

Sales of this Italian sparkling wine have gone through the roof in recent years, as recessionary times encourage consumers to try it out as a more affordable option to Champagne. In the UK alone, consumption was up by 75 per cent last year, overtaking sales of Champagne for the first time, with Brits spending £1 billion on the bubbly; apparently even more than the Italians do.

It doesn’t hurt that it’s eminently quaffable. More so, many would say, than the cheaper end of the French offerings. And it’s in this observation that it would appear the shortage panic strategy may lie.

Prosecco prices have remained pretty flat despite the sky-rocketing demand and Italian producers feel they should be able to charge more, but the gap between cheap Champagne and Prosecco hasn’t narrowed as much as it should have.

With this background, some industry observers maintain that Cremonese’s announcement, and the rumours of a wider shortage that have been circulating, are purely a marketing strategy by the Italians to drive up demand, which in turn will cause a genuine shortage and finally see prices rise to where they feel they should be.

But the Prosecco producers’ association Consorzio di Tutela Prosecco DCC has been quick to quash the rumours, and to sight the reports of a severe shortage as ‘incorrect’, suggesting that commentary to the contrary by any producers was an attempt ‘to justify the planning of certain companies that have not adequately managed their supplies and now find themselves out of line with their clients’ expectation.’

Who is correct may only become apparent in August, but in the meantime, Kiwi prosecco converts don’t need to be overly concerned. While one of Planet Wine’s regular suppliers did indeed advise that they couldn’t supply again until the 2015 vintage was concluded, an order for several pallets is already on the water from another supplier, due for arrival in early July, a seamless operation it seems.

Even if a temporary shortage does eventuate, you can always try your palate on an equally quaffable Mas Candi cava, which you will find at Planet Wine also.

If you’d like follow the Prosecco saga further, read more at: Prosecco manipulation

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