Rising international demand for prosecco could soon outstrip supply and lead to a shortage of the Italian fizz, according to new research. Retail insight firm, IRI, found that prosecco sales grew 34% in the last year alone. In contrast, champagne sales increased by 1% and the wine sector overall increased by 0.4%.
Prosecco sales now stand at £365m but their seemingly inexorable rise might come across an obstacle they cannot pass. There just won't be enough prosecco.
Speaking to the Grocer, Toby Magill, head of beer, wine and spirits at IRI said: "Prosecco is geographically limited and can only be produced in a small region of Italy... supply is finite. Demand is growing everywhere in the world so there's a limit on what retailers can get their hands on."
In the event of a shortage, substitute fizzes might see a resurgence. Sales of cava reportedly increased 11% last year. Cava is made in Spain from different grapes to prosecco but is a white fizz which retails at a comparable cost to the Italian wine – both are cheaper on average than champagne and English sparkling wine.
According to the IRI figures, the wine sector is now worth £5.9bn overall. Last year the sector as a whole grew 0.4% but sales of still wine dropped 1.8%. White wine is still preferred in the UK over red but saw a larger drop – down 1.6% compared to reds' 1.2% drop.
New world wines also did well compared to old world ones, with Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina all bucking the trend and seeing growth in sales. The biggest increase for a grape variety was sauvignon blanc, growing 7%.