Prosecco is on the rise in Australia. The 2019 National Vintage Report released in July highlights the growth in production of Prosecco grapes in Australia as the sector responds to increased demand for Prosecco wines.
While most white grape varieties saw a decline in production volumes, Prosecco bucked the trend, increasing by 42 per cent to 9936 tonnes, moving it into the top 10 white varieties for the first time. This continues the steady growth trend we’ve seen in the variety over the past five years, up from 2189 tonnes in 2015 (see Figure 1).
The average purchase price of Prosecco in 2019 was $835 per tonne, well above the national average for all white winegrapes of $462 per tonne. While grape production and average prices are highest in King Valley, at over $1000 per tonne, Prosecco is now grown across 11 Australian regions. The majority is grown in the King Valley and Murray Darling-Swan Hill.
Figure 1: Crush of Prosecco in Australia over time (tonnes)
Source: Wine Australia
Growing sales in Australia’s domestic market
The growth in Prosecco grape production is mirrored in the domestic off-trade wine market, where sales of Prosecco have increased by more than 100 per cent in the past 2 years.
Prosecco is now the eleventh largest varietal by value in the off-trade retail wine market with sales of just over $100 million in 2018–19, according to IRI MarketEdge. Australian Prosecco accounted for two-thirds of total sales with Italy contributing a third. Sales of Prosecco in the domestic market are predominantly between $10 and $20 per bottle (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Volume share of Prosecco in sales in the domestic off-trade market, 2018-19
Source: IRI MarketEdge
According to Wine Business Solutions Wine On-Premise Australia 2018, the share of Prosecco listings of the sparkling wine category grew from 13.9 per cent in 2017 to 20.3 per cent in 2018. Prosecco took share from other sparkling wine categories, with the exception of sparkling red. The growth in Prosecco in the domestic on-premise is also supported by data from eBev that shows Prosecco is now the second biggest sparkling wine category behind Chardonnay Pinor Noir blends.
Australia exports only a small proportion of the Prosecco produced with a total value of almost $2 million shipped in 2018–19, with 80 per cent going to New Zealand.
Prosecco, what’s in a name?
Prosecco is widely recognised as a grape variety, but it can’t be used as a grape variety in some markets – particularly in Europe. So, why are the rules in each market so different?
Following a decree made under European law in 2009 that the variety Prosecco be renamed to Glera, the European Commission (EC) no longer recognises Prosecco as a grape variety, but instead recognises it as an Italian Geographical Indication (GI).
The EC has tried to register Prosecco as a GI in Australia, a move successfully opposed by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (now Australian Grape and Wine) on the grounds that Prosecco had been known as a grape variety for a long time before it was declared a GI.
The Italian Consorzio Di Tutela Della Denominazione Di Origine Controllata Prosecco (the Consortium) has ramped up attempts over last few years to have the GI Prosecco registered in import markets to the exclusion of the use of the term as a grape variety.
For example, in China the Consortium has successfully registered the Chinese version of Prosecco: ‘普罗塞克’ (‘PU LUO SAI KE’ in Chinese). That mark became registered on 7 October 2016. This poses risk to any party wanting to use the term as a grape variety in China (even in English).
Australian Grape and Wine has filed an application to have the Consortium’s Chinese-language Prosecco registration invalidated.
Wine Australia regularly updates its Export Market Guides with key market information for Australian wine exporters. To access the guides for free, you will need to sign up to our website with a valid wine sector ABN or exporter ID and be logged in to view and download the guides.