The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (2023)

Winemaker Milos Skabar, center, works at his vineyard of the Prosekar variety in Prosecco, near Trieste, Italy, on Oct. 15. Italy has pledged to defend the name of the popular sparkling wine Prosecco as Croatia petitions the European Union to allow its winemakers to call their sweet dessert wine Prosek. Antonio Calanni/AP hide caption

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Antonio Calanni/AP

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (2)

Winemaker Milos Skabar, center, works at his vineyard of the Prosekar variety in Prosecco, near Trieste, Italy, on Oct. 15. Italy has pledged to defend the name of the popular sparkling wine Prosecco as Croatia petitions the European Union to allow its winemakers to call their sweet dessert wine Prosek.

Antonio Calanni/AP

PROSECCO, Italy — On tiny pockets of terraced terrain overlooking a bay shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, Milos Skabar is reviving a centuries-old winemaking tradition known as Prosekar, which shares roots with its better-known bubbly cousin, Prosecco.

But this humble fizzy blend, virtually unknown beyond the Italian port city of Trieste where it's made on a strip of land between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, is caught up in a dispute that's about to pop: The makers of Italy's hugely popular sparkling wine Prosecco are fighting to prevent Croatian winemakers from using the name Prosek for their sweet dessert wine.

The handful of Prosekar makers hope to use their ties to Prosecco's birthplace, just above Trieste, to gain greater recognition for their wine but worry their name is at risk, too.

(Video) Italy-Croatia fight over Prosecco name gets ready to pop

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"Prosekar wine is the original, because it was born 300 years before Prosecco," said Skabar, surveying his vineyard with a port view, the hills of Slovenia a dark green line in the distance. "So, it is the father of Prosekar, Prosecco, Prosek and all the rest."

At stake in the battle is not only the sanctity of Prosecco, the world's top-selling wine, but also the European Union's system of geographical designations created to guarantee the distinctiveness and quality of artisanal food, wine and spirits, defenders say. That market is worth nearly 75 billion euros ($87 billion) annually — half of it in wines, according to a 2020 study by the European Commission, the EU's executive branch.

Italy says Prosek will cause confusion; Croatia disagrees

The Italian government has pledged to defend Prosecco's name, and other makers of protected products with distinct geographic roots, from Italy's Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to France's Champagne, are mobilizing as the European Commission prepares to deliberate on Croatia's petition to label its niche wine with the traditional Prosek name.

"The problem for us is not that these producers, who make a very small number of bottles, enter our market. But it is the confusion it could generate among consumers,'' said Luca Giavi, general director of the Prosecco DOC consortium, which promotes Prosecco and assures the quality of wines under the EU's "denomination of controlled origin" designation.

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Prosecco has annual sales of 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion), most of it exported. "Everyone perceives the situation as a threat to our success," producer Stefano Zanette said, with worldwide buyers possibly not able to distinguish between the similar names.

Croatia argues that the Prosek name and tradition is centuries old, predating Prosecco's protections in the EU system, and that its place as a dessert wine makes it distinct from Prosecco.

"Consumers will not be confused by this," Ladislav Ilcic, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, said in a recent debate. "Prosek should legitimately receive the protected denomination of origin, and producers should have full access to markets."

Besides etymological roots linked to the village of Proseecco, the wines have little in common

The Brussels-based European Federation of Origin Wines is preparing a brief to support Italy. It believes the European Commission's decision to hear the case has defied its own battle to get other nations and trading blocs to recognize the EU's system of geographic designations.

The dispute, which will be decided in the coming months, is likely to turn on Prosecco's origin story, emanating from the bilingual Italian village of Prosecco near the Slovenian border above Trieste, where winemaking once flourished.

It is here, say the ethnic Slovene Italians who make Prosekar, that the grape known as Glera — the basis of both Prosecco and Prosekar — originated.

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (5)
(Video) Prosecco v Prošek: origin protection move 'sparkles' tension between Italy and Croatia

Winemaker Vesna Bukavec pours a Prosekar wine in Prosecco, near Trieste, Italy, on Oct. 15. Antonio Calanni/AP hide caption

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Antonio Calanni/AP

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (6)

Winemaker Vesna Bukavec pours a Prosekar wine in Prosecco, near Trieste, Italy, on Oct. 15.

Antonio Calanni/AP

But besides common etymological roots, Prosekar, Prosecco and Prosek have little in common.

Prosecco, made predominantly from the Glera grape, is produced by three consortia spanning nine Italian provinces in alpine foothills that curve along the Adriatic Sea. They put out more than 550 million bottles a year.

Prosek is a sweet wine made in Dalmatia with dried native Croatian grapes, none of them Glera, and may be red or white.

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (7)
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Winemaker Stefano Zanette harvests grape of the Prosecco variety in Colle Umberto, Italy, on Oct. 15. Antonio Calanni/AP hide caption

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Antonio Calanni/AP

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (8)

Winemaker Stefano Zanette harvests grape of the Prosecco variety in Colle Umberto, Italy, on Oct. 15.

Antonio Calanni/AP

Prosekar, on the other hand, is an equal blend of Glera and two other grapes, made by fewer than a dozen micro-producers. In decades past, Prosekar was mainly produced at home and shared among friends, family and neighbors, often served from ad-hoc taverns in private houses.

Winemakers offer up proof of Prosecco connections

Prosecco makers moved to protect their coveted geographical indication 12 years ago, after seeing winemakers in northeast Italy lose the right to use the label Tocai in a European decision that protected wines produced in Hungary's Tokaji region. In Italy, Tocai was simply the name of the grape variety, with no geographic ties. The decision gutted the makers of Friuli Tocai, who struggled to find a market with a new name: Friulano.

Both the Italian and Croatian regions tussling over the Prosecco name shared a history of Venetian and then Austro-Hungarian control, spanning the period when Prosecco migrated northwest, into present-day Italy, and south, along Croatia's Dalmatian coast.

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (9)
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A view of a home number on a street in Prosecco, the bilingual Italian village near the Slovenian border where the grape that is the basis of both Prosecco and Prosekar originated. Antonio Calanni/AP hide caption

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Antonio Calanni/AP

The fight between Italy and Croatia over the name Prosecco gets ready to pop (10)

A view of a home number on a street in Prosecco, the bilingual Italian village near the Slovenian border where the grape that is the basis of both Prosecco and Prosekar originated.

Antonio Calanni/AP

Prosecco defenders say the name Prosek has never been uniformly applied and came to mean even a generic form of dessert wine.

Written documents link the village of Prosecco to wine as early as the 1600s and 1700s, when wines were called "of Prosecco" to indicate their village of origin, wine historian Stefano Cosma said. "By the 1800s, it was already a sparkling wine," he said.

In present-day Prosecco, Prosekar winemakers hope that because the EU has included the village itself in the geographic territory for the protected wine, they might have a shot at expanding their market for Prosekar, which they say was first made in 1548.

Prosek and Prosekar makers say they are outlaws for now, but tolerated

But because their wine has not earned the EU designation, Prosekar producers are banned as much as Prosek makers from using their name. They so far haven't been challenged as long as they don't sell beyond Trieste, said Andrej Bole, a sixth-generation Prosekar producer.

"We are outlaws,'' Bole said. But "for now, we are tolerated."

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They are working with the Prosecco consortium to help their wine earn the coveted origin insignia, which is awarded with each vintage. The question of legally using the Prosekar name won't be decided until that hurdle is cleared, the head of the consortium said.

"We have to look at the European norms," Giavi said. "But there is that option, which we don't mind."

FAQs

What does the Italian word Prosecco mean? ›

Etymology. From Italian Prosecco, short for (vino de) Prosecco, “(wine of) Prosecco”, near Trieste. The toponym Prosecco comes from Proto-Slavic *prosěkъ (“kind of axe; opening, cutting (in a forest)”) from the areas deforested for the cultivation of the vine.

What is Prosecco in Croatian? ›

While Prosecco is a sparkling wine, Croatian 'prošek' is a sweet, dessert-style wine made from dried grapes, notably in the Dalmatia region.

Which Italian city is famous for Prosecco? ›

The town of Prosecco near Trieste

It's located in the northeast of Italy, near the city of Trieste, close to the border of Slovenia. This former town, now suburb of Trieste, is what you might call the birthplace of Prosecco because this is where the Glera grape and Prosecco wine is originally from.

Does Prosecco have to come from Italy? ›

As the rules stand now, any "prosecco" sold in the E.U. must come from the Prosecco region of Italy.

Why is it called Prosecco? ›

Its name comes from the village of Prosecco in Italy, where verdant hills have a long history as the home to a very specific grape. Glera grapes are exclusively used to make this sparkling wine, and they have grown in the village of Prosecco for centuries.

How do you ask for Prosecco in Italian? ›

Matteo: Or if you prefer, you can avoid going into these details, by asking for un bicchiere di prosecco “A glass of Prosecco”. Or un bicchiere di Chianti. Un means “a”, bicchiere means “glass” and di means “of”.

How do you say hello in Croatian? ›

The greeting 'Hello' in English is one of the easiest phrases to master in the Croatian language! It simply translate to 'Bok' which is pronounced 'Bohk'.

Is there another name for Prosecco? ›

Prosecco was the name of the grape variety in Italy until the Italians successfully changed its name to glera just a few years ago.

Is Prosecco French or Italian? ›

The most widely-known difference between Champagne and Prosecco is that Champagne is from the Champagne Region of France while Prosecco is from the Prosecco Region of Italy.

Why is Prosecco so popular? ›

The distinctive taste of Prosecco appealed to consumers looking for something soft and incredibly drinkable. Combined with Italian style, the increase in quality of the product itself and a much more affordable price than Champagne, Prosecco slowly but surely became the byword for sparkling wine.

Which country drinks the most Prosecco? ›

The most important sparkling wine in the world today, in terms of volume, is Prosecco. So, of course, Italy is the leading producer. Italy makes 27% of all the sparkling wines in the world, followed by France with 22%.

Who invented Prosecco? ›

In 1772 Francesco Maria Malvolti first linked the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region and Prosecco, but it wasn't until the 1930s that the boundaries of the production area for Prosecco were officially outlined.

What alcohol is Prosecco? ›

The strength of prosecco is usually around 12%, which means that it contains 12% pure alcohol. That's around the same amount of alcohol typically found in other sparkling wines, like champagne or cava.

What is the country of origin of Prosecco? ›

Prosecco (/prəˈsɛkoʊ, proʊ-/; Italian: [proˈsekko]) is an Italian DOC or DOCG white wine produced in a large area spanning nine provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, and named after the village of Prosecco which is in the province of Trieste, Italy.

What's Prosecco made of? ›

Prosecco is made from a blend of grapes that must be at least 85% glera, with the rest being local and international varieties including verdiso, bianchetta trevigiana, perera, chardonnay, pinot bianco, pinot grigio and pinot noir. The majority of prosecco is produced using the Charmat method.

Is Prosecco a spirit? ›

Prosecco is a sparkling white wine from Italy.

Is Prosecco a fruit? ›

Prosecco (glera) is a white wine grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy. It's used to make sparkling wines that are light-bodied, crisp and off-dry. These wines mix nicely with liqueurs and fruit to create refreshing, sparkling cocktails that complement lighter fare.

What is Prosecco called in Spain? ›

Cava is Spanish sparkling wine.

Cava is made the same way that Champagne is produced, but with different grapes. Let's find out what Cava is and what makes it unique. You'll be surprised to know that Cava is far closer to Champagne (in terms of taste) than Prosecco.

Is it rude to ask for the check in Italy? ›

Asking for for the check

Unless you are eating in a touristic restaurant, the waiter/waitress will not come to you asking if he/she can bring the bill. You will have to speak up and ask directly for it! Indeed, in Italy it is consider rude “rushing” the guests with the payment.

Can we have please in Italian? ›

Ti prego / La prego / Vi prego

The informal expression ti prego means I ask you but it can also be translated as please. You can use it with friends, children and family members. Italians also use it to beg someone to do something.

Is Croatian hard to speak? ›

If you're an English speaker struggling to learn Croatian fast, don't worry, it is one of the hardest foreign languages to learn for native English speakers, that is according to a list compiled by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).

What does Baba mean in Croatian? ›

brat, buraz, bratec → brother. baka, baba, nona → grandmother. djed, dida, deda, did, nono → grandfather.

Do they speak English in Croatian? ›

English is by far one of the most commonly taught at this point, along with German and Italian. Being bilingual, or even multilingual, is common among Croatians. For example, a recent poll showed that 80% of Croatians are multilingual. Within that group, 81% speak English.

Can you pop Prosecco? ›

The popping sound that accompanies a glass of sparkling wine is something that heralds the start of a good time with loved ones and friends, which is why many wonder if Prosecco can be popped like Champagne can. The good news is yes! Prosecco absolutely can pop just like Champagne does.

Is wine and Prosecco the same? ›

Prosecco is a sparkling white wine from Italy. The name Prosecco comes from a small Italian village named Prosecco, where this wine was first made. Moreover, for a bottle of wine to be categorized as Prosecco, it must originate from the Veneto region of Italy.

What is Champagne from Italy called? ›

Franciacorta. Franciacorta is known as the “Champagne of Italy”, because it is produced in the “Metodo Classico” (or the “Traditional Method”) the same way Champagne is made in France. Although some may argue that the best examples can be even better than its more famous French cousin.

Do French drink Prosecco? ›

In France, Prosecco exports have in fact overtaken a historic Italian wine importer such as Germany, bringing it down to fourth place in the ranking of the main destinations of Italian wine. The coexistence is due to the substantial difference between Champagne and Prosecco.

Is all Prosecco dry? ›

Prosecco Taste Is it sweet or dry? Most Prosecco wines are produced in a dry, brut style. However, due to the grapes' fruity flavors of green apple, honeydew melon, pear, and honeysuckle, it usually seems sweeter than it is.

Is Prosecco a wine or a Champagne? ›

Wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France, whereas Prosecco is a sparkling wine mostly made in the Veneto region, Italy. Therefore, the simple difference is Champagne growers consider Champagne a “wine of place” that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world.

Is it healthy to drink Prosecco? ›

Prosecco contains polyphenols, which are plant chemicals loaded with antioxidant properties. These polyphenols assist in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation, which lowers your risk of stroke and strengthens the health of your heart.

Is Prosecco good for your skin? ›

Great for The Skin

Finally, studies have also shown that Prosecco can do wonders for your skin, helping you to reduce wrinkles and enjoy radiant skin. This is because white sparkling wine detoxifies your skin, which allows you to maintain a more even skin tone as it smooths and evens your skin.

Do Americans drink Prosecco? ›

Americans are drinking so much Prosecco that the U.S. now consumes nearly a fifth of the total production of the wine. Especially seeing growth is a pink variety, Prosecco DOC Rosé. The US imported 25.5 million gallons of Prosecco in 2021, at a value of $519 million. That's a 40% increase in volumes over 2019.

Do men drink Prosecco? ›

'It isn't just a woman's drink'. If you thought Prosecco was a woman's tipple, think again. A new survey of 2,000 men has revealed that more guys than ever are buying Prosecco.

Which country drink the most? ›

Belarus, a country that drinks the most liters of pure alcohol than any other country in the world, was also classified as having one the riskiest pattern of drinking.

What is the drunkest country in Europe? ›

In Russia, 18.2% of the population has an alcohol disorder and in Belarus, the drunkest country, 17.5% of the population has a disorder. Belarus has the highest number of alcohol-related deaths, with 34.7% of people dying from alcohol each year.

Why is Prosecco so strong? ›

Studies have shown that fizzy, alcoholic drinks like Champagne, prosecco and Cava get you drunk faster. This is because the bubbles help to move the alcohol into your stomach and bloodstream quicker.

What grape is Prosecco? ›

Prosecco is made from the Glera grape variety.

How do you drink Prosecco? ›

How to Drink Prosecco?
  1. Serve the Wine Chilled. First and foremost, always chill your bottle of Prosecco before drinking. ...
  2. Tilt the Prosecco Bottle at 45-degrees. When opening a bottle of Prosecco, tilt the bottle at 45-degrees. ...
  3. Sniff and Enjoy the Aromas.
3 Feb 2021

How many units can you drive on UK? ›

Where you live in the UK will also impact how many units you can legally drink and drive. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the current driving limit is approximately three units for women and four units for men.

When can I drive after alcohol? ›

The advice from the police is clear: avoid alcohol altogether if you plan to drive. Because there is no way to speed up how long your body takes to process any alcohol in your system, there's no fail-safe way to guarantee all the alcohol you have drunk will be gone by the time you wake up the next day.

Does Prosecco taste good? ›

While an extra dry bottle of Prosecco may have common tasting notes of zingy citrus or lemongrass, a bottle of brut Prosecco has qualities of green apple, white peach, and honeydew. Prosecco also has incredible floral aromas, which add to the tasting experience.

Is Prosecco just Italian Champagne? ›

The quick answer is simple: wine can only be called Champagne when it originates from the Champagne region in France. Prosecco is from Italy.

Does Prosecco have sugar? ›

Prosecco is known to be one of the less calorific drinks available with a traditional glass holding around 1.5g of sugar per glass (80 calories).

Which Prosecco is dry? ›

BRUT NATURE (also known as Brut Zero, Ultra Brut, Pas Dosé or Dosage Zéro), 0 – 3 g/l of residual sugar, is bone dry to your taste. It is the driest of the Prosecco and sparkling wines.

Why is Prosecco not called Champagne? ›

Wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France, whereas Prosecco is a sparkling wine mostly made in the Veneto region, Italy. Therefore, the simple difference is Champagne growers consider Champagne a “wine of place” that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world.

What does Prosecco mean in wine? ›

Technically, Prosecco is a sparkling wine that originates from the Valdobbiadene region in Veneto, Italy. The wine is made with Prosecco grapes (also called “Glera”) and made into wine via the Charmat sparkling method, which gives wines approximately 3 atmospheres of pressure.

Is Prosecco The Champagne of Italy? ›

Italian vs French Wine Regions

The most widely-known difference between Champagne and Prosecco is that Champagne is from the Champagne Region of France while Prosecco is from the Prosecco Region of Italy. The Champagne wine region surrounds the towns of Reims and Épernay in the northeast of France.

Can you drink Prosecco by itself? ›

As it's only moderate in alcohol volume, served straight, you could drink Prosecco all day! It works beautifully with food however so beyond pre-dinner nibbles, try it with oysters or a more substantial grazing platter for entrée.

What does Prosecco do to your body? ›

Prosecco contains polyphenols, which are plant chemicals loaded with antioxidant properties. These polyphenols assist in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation, which lowers your risk of stroke and strengthens the health of your heart.

Is Prosecco wine or liquor? ›

Absolutely, Prosecco is wine. Wine is basically an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice. That applies whether the grapes are red or white or whether bubbles form during the process of turning the grapes into wine.

Which tastes better Champagne or Prosecco? ›

In the legendary “Champagne vs Prosecco” debate, there is no clear winner. Both types of wine offer its own unique flavors, carbonation, aromas and tasting experience. If you are new to the world of wines, consider purchasing a bottle or two of each kind to help you decide which one you prefer.

Does Prosecco have another name? ›

Prosecco was the name of the grape variety in Italy until the Italians successfully changed its name to glera just a few years ago.

Is Prosecco Italian or Spanish? ›

Hailing from Northeastern Italy (specifically the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions) Prosecco is produced from the Glera grape variety. Interestingly, the name of the grape used to be Prosecco, but that was changed to help avoid confusion. How is Prosecco produced?

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