Long looked down on as champagne’s downmarket cousin, Prosecco has, in recent years, successfully challenged for the French bubbly’s crown with a growing emphasis on quality and increasing popularity amongst cost-conscious millennials.
After a disappointing harvest in 2017 and a corresponding dip in production, 2018 is shaping up to be a bumper year with almost 600 million bottles of Prosecco projected to be produced from this year’s grapes. This makes the region nearly twice the scale of Champagne.
Protected origin Prosecco DOC is produced in nine provinces spanning the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of northeastern Italy. This is where Bacio della Luna produces its sparkling Prosecco wines in some of the best domains in the DOC and DOCG area.
“Prosecco is the most famous sparkling wine in the world,” says Director Roberta Deflorian. “Our award-winning Prosecco Superiore DOCG is made from 100% Glera grapes, the traditional grape used in Prosecco wines, and is the perfect aperitif or food accompaniment, or can just as easily be enjoyed as a celebratory wine for a special occasion.”
Even more prestigious is the Cartizze DOCG Dry produced from grapes grown on the hill of Cartizze at 1,000 m above sea level. “This wine is considered the ‘Grand Cru’ of Prosecco,” says Ms. Deflorian. “Because of the steepness of the hillsides upon which the vines are grown, much of the work to care for them must be done by hand, which ensures their quality.”
Prosecco is the most famous sparkling wine in the world. Roberta DeflorianDirector
The same applies to the grapes grown in the hilly Prosecco Superiore DOCG region and is a key aspect in the superior quality of Bacio della Luna wines. “The terroir that makes Bacio della Luna wines unique is located 50 kilometers from Venice, in the province of Treviso, halfway between the two towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene,” describes Ms. Deflorian. “The terroir is perfect for vineyards and the cultivation of the best quality Glera grapes. The soil composition of the gently rolling hills is ideal and is complemented by a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate.”
Prosecco wines are often described as fresh and fruity, attributes that can be traced directly back to the favourable growing conditions. Prosecco has always been seen as a wine that must be drunk young but many of the top wines have proved their longevity.
“Prosecco is intensely aromatic and crisp with wonderful flavours of summer fruit,” enthuses Ms. Deflorian. “They are meant to taste fresh, light and comparatively simple – the perfect summer wine.” Prosecco is made using the Charmat-Martinotti method in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats. This has the advantage of making prosecco less expensive to produce and also means that it has a lower alcohol by volume content.
“The trend in the drinks industry at the moment is for easy-to-drink products with a lower alcohol content,” says Ms. Deflorian. “Prosecco chimes well with this trend.” Bacio della Luna has also succeeded in tapping into the ongoing organic movement with its Prosecco DOC Brut Organic, which is made using grapes that have not been treated with pesticides or any other chemicals.
Throughout its vineyards, Bacio della Luna adopts an approach to vine cultivation that respects nature and the environment. The combination of traditional and modern methods it uses in its winemaking emphasize care at every stage of the process.
The winery is staffed by just 18 people, which give the business a very intimate feel. The estate is one of three Italian wineries owned by the family-owned Schenk Group, of which Roberta Deflorian is Sales Director. The Swiss company’s history can be traced back over 125 years.
Today, it owns wineries in Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain, and distributes its wines throughout Europe through a sales network that includes offices in Germany, Belgium and the UK. The group has been present in South Tyrol since 1952 through its winery Kellerei Schenk in Ora. It acquired Bacio della Luna in 2011.
In 2016, it bought the Lunadoro estate in Tuscany with 40 ha of land under cultivation across 18 vineyards in the Montepulciano winegrowing region and annual production of 100,000 bottles of top quality Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile and Nobile Riserva wines. The Group also owns a share in a winery in the Chianti Classico region of Italy.
The trend in the drinks industry at the moment is for easy-to-drink products with a lower alcohol content. Roberta DeflorianDirector
“We have built up a portfolio of wineries in some of the best domains in the regions where we are active,” says Ms. Deflorian. “Our focus is increasingly on the higher quality end of the market. As we look forward to the coming years and the general trends in the wine market, we want to maintain volume production of Prosecco wines as our traditional specialism, but we also want to focus increasingly on higher quality wines like Vino Nobile and Nobile Riserva.”
This strategy takes into account the major forces influencing the wine market. Artisanal quality, tradition and lower alcohol content are all key qualities that the new generation of drinkers are looking for. “We operate in a traditional sector with a long history,” says Ms. Deflorian. “But, in order to continue to do what we love, we must move with times and juggle the evolving demands of the market with our own desire to make the best possible wines.”