Speaking to the drinks business during the London Wine Fair this week, Roberto Cremonese, export manager of Bisol said: “Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50% in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage.
“We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock. At the moment we don’t know how much Prosecco they’re holding on to.
“Because there is such a demand for Prosecco, the négociants are releasing it onto the market slowly and are taking it as an opportunity to put prices up, in some cases by 50%.
“The négociants hold the power at the moment as they bought all of the stock. It might turn out that some of them have no fizz left but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Cremonese said that grape growers in the region were also capitalising on the demand by upping their prices and holding out on sales.
While the Prosecco DOCG area of Valdobbiadene escaped the 2014 harvest relatively unscathed, grapes grown in the DOC flatlands had a worse time of it.
“A lot of the vines in the DOC area are newly planted and they ended up soaked – the grapes were rotten and yields were down by half in some cases,” he told db.
“Prosecco is like Champagne in that we need to be able to supply everybody, so I have nothing against DOC Prosecco but the vines need to be planted in the right place,” he added.
While Cremonese admits that the recession helped cement Prosecco’s popularity in the UK as consumers traded down from Champagne in order to save pennies, he highlights that Cava failed to take make the most of the same opportunity.
“The recession definitely helped, but there is more to the boom than that as it didn’t have the same effect on Cava. People love Prosecco because it’s uncomplicated and quaffable. You should never take it too seriously,” he said.
“Prosecco is like driving around London in a Mini not a Ferrari – you don’t need a reason to pop a cork,” he added.