Italian sparkling wine gaining popularity internationally: study

Holiday celebrations around the world this year will have a little more of an Italian flavor, according to a study from the Coldiretti, Italy’s main agricultural trade union.

The study, based on Coldiretti’s own research and on data from Italy’s National Statistics Institute, said that export sales of Italian sparkling wine are estimated to increase 9 percent this year compared to exports in 2018.

The sales estimates are the highest on record, Coldiretti said, which means that holiday celebrations across the globe will include more Italian bubbly than ever before. New Year’s eve, when the calendar turns from 2019 to 2020, is the holiday most associated with celebrations using sparkling wine.

There are different categories of Italian sparkling wine, including “spumante” — the type of Italian sparkling wine that is closest to French champagne “prosecco” — an easy drinking kind of bubbly popular as a before dinner drink, Moscato — a light, sweet sparkling wine usually drunk after dinner, and Lambrusco — a fruity red sparkling wine.

“Italian sparkling wine has a lot of factors helping it gain ground against other wines popular in holiday celebrations,” Lorenzo Tersi, a veteran wine sector consultant, told Xinhua.

“Prices are lower than for champagne and some other kinds of sparkling wine. In addition, the quality of Italian sparkling wine is improving and it is getting a better reputation around the world.”

Tersi also said prosecco is gaining traction as the main ingredient in increasingly popular long drinks.

According to Coldiretti’s study, overall sales of Italian sparkling wine are estimated to rise an astonishing 30 percent this year even in France, the home of champagne, the world’s most famous sparkling wine.

Among other countries, sales are 37 percent higher in Japan, 17 percent higher in Russia, 11 percent higher in the United States, and 7 percent higher in Britain. Among major export destinations, only in Germany did exports decline — down 8 percent compared to last year.

All told, 560 million bottles of Italian sparkling wine will be sold outside of Italy in 2019, according to Coldiretti’s projections that extrapolate out based on sales from the first nine months.

“What the research shows is that there will be a record number of celebratory toasts made using the different types of Italian sparkling wine,” Domenico Bosco, the head of the wine division for Coldiretti, said in an interview.

Sparkling wine is produced all across Italy, but the main regions are Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto in northern Italy and Emilia-Romagna in central Italy.