Prosecco Fakes Being Charged

Staff Writer
Italian authorities are fining bars and other sellers for supplying fake prosecco with no D.O.C. label

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Sparkling wine on tap may not be verified "prosecco," and bars are being reprimanded.

Fake wines have been making appearances quite often lately, and now, the imitations have made its way into prosecco territory. 

The imitations have now reached Italy, where authorities have employed a local oenologist, a studier of wines, to halt the production of fake prosecco being sold in the Veneto region, reports Roberto Cremonese, an export manager for producer Bisol, told that an estimated 30 percent of prosecco sales were supplied illegally.

What exactly is fake prosecco? A fake prosecco is artificially produced with the addition of CO2 and sold on draft from beer kegs, says Cremonese. He finds the fault with the distributors and producers, though the venues that sell the fake prosecco are the ones being punished. If found guilty, sellers of non-prosecco using the denominazione di origine controllata (D.O.C.) name can be fined up to €20,000 each (a little more than $25,000). 

The rise in these fakes may have something to do with the removal of the prosecco IGT designation of 2009, says Dario Poddana, wine importer for Les Caves De Pyrene. She says that the result of this change was that growers had to reduce their yield output from 250 to 180 hectoliters per hectare. Some growers then found it economically difficult to abide by these rules, which resulted in imported grapes from outside of the prosecco-designated regions.

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According to The New York Times, prosecco is a wine made predominantly of the prosecco grape (it must use at least 85 percent), and sometimes mixed with a small percentage of pinot bianco, pinot grigio, or chardonnay. A sparkling wine can only be called prosecco if it has earned the D.O.C. name, which solidifies guidelines for wines, like coming specifically from the Veneto, Venice, or Verona regions (similarly to France’s Champagne).