Australian wine producers are visiting Parliament House in Canberra today to brief Parliamentarians on the importance of the Prosecco grape variety to our sector and regional economies.
The right to use the variety name on Australian bottles is under threat as the European Union seeks to use the Australia-EU FTA as a vehicle to ban Australian producers from using the variety name.
“The fact is, Prosecco is a grape variety name, just like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Lee McLean, chief executive of Australian Grape & Wine.
“The European Union’s approach to this issue is motivated by a desire to protect Italian producers from competition and nothing more.”
The value of production of Australian Prosecco is about $200 million per annum, with 20 regions growing the variety.
The majority of production is concentrated in Victoria’s King Valley and Murray Valley.
In the King Valley, the variety is underpinning regional employment, economic growth and tourism.
Otto Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines, who was the first person to commercially grow Prosecco in Australia, says, “Prosecco is, and always has been, a globally recognised grape variety.”
“We need our trade negotiators and the Australian Government to understand that there are real jobs and real people at stake,” says Natalie Pizzini of Pizzini Wines.
“We’ve invested in this variety in good faith and the EU is trying to move the goal posts to protect Italian producers against fair competition.”
The variety’s growth has been a shining light at a challenging time for the Australian wine sector.
“Australian Prosecco has grown from a small base to a total direct value of over $205 million to December 2021,” Lee McLean says.
“It currently fetches an average price that is more than double the price of most other varieties.
“Consumers only have to look at wine lists in our pubs, restaurants and cafes to see that growth in popularity.”
Katherine Brown of Brown Family Wine Group, the largest Australian producer of Prosecco, says, “Our family has invested millions of dollars in equipment, facilities, people and marketing to build up Australian Prosecco to what it is today.”
“These producers are here to make sure our politicians understand that decisions relating to Prosecco have significant consequences for businesses, regional communities and ultimately people,” Mr McLean says.
“Prosecco isn’t just a bargaining chip for our negotiators.
“If we don’t back our producers now, there is a real risk other varieties like Vermentino, Fiano, Nero d’Avola and Montepulciano will be next in the firing line.”