Dez 18

Italians Look to Cheaper Prosecco Over Champagne for Holidays

Tag: Allgemeines,Länder,Regionensigi.hiss @ 16:51

By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Giovanni Salzano – Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Italians will spend 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) on delicacies this holiday season, including sparkling wine served at Christmas and New Year’s, and 8 percent more consumers say they’re buying expensive food and drinks than in 2007, Italy’s farmers‘ association Coldiretti said.

With Franciacorta, perhaps champagne’s closest Italian cousin, retailing for around 20 euros, or about a third less than a bottle of Moet & Chandon, this may be the year that domestic sparkling wine, or prosecco, outsells its more famous French rival. „The economic slump is forcing people to spend differently,“ Paolo Trimani, who runs Trimani, one of Rome’s oldest wine stores, said by telephone. Customers this year are „really questioning what they’re getting for their money.“

A bumper grape harvest on the island of Sicily has helped keep prices down, fueling Italy’s move past France to become Europe’s top winemaker for the first time since the turn of the century, Coldiretti said in August. Italian wine output rose to 47 million hectoliters this year, compared with France’s 46 million.

Italy’s sparkling-wine industry is worth 2.3 billion euros, with half of the 300 million bottles produced sold domestically. The French region of Champagne turns out 330 million bottles.

„Prosecco is certainly on the rise,“ said Val Smith, chairman of the International Wine and Spirit Report in London. Even the origins of France’s most-prized wine are in dispute, with many Italians claiming the original champagne vines were transported to France by Napoleon Bonaparte after an 18th-century visit to his sister Paolina, who lived just south of Rome.

Luisa Mincione, a Roman homemaker and mother of two, says she can’t see much of a difference between champagne and its Italian rival. „I want quality, but I’m not going to throw money away,“ she said. „A good prosecco is as good as champagne.“

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