The Villa Sandi USA blog recently sat down with the estate’s owner and CEO Giancarlo Moretti Polegato to talk about the legacy and future of Prosecco in Italy and throughout the world.
It was a fascinating conversation with many significant takeaways.
But one of the most interesting was hearing his insights into the reasons behind Prosecco’s immense success across the globe during the last 20 years.
“Prosecco taught the world to drink sparkling wine during and throughout the meal,” he told the Villa Sandi USA blogger.
Today, to the ears of 21st-century wine lovers, it sounds very simple, doesn’t it?
But back in the 1990s, when few English-speakers had even heard of Prosecco let alone tasted it, the idea was profoundly revolutionary.
In the decades that led up to the turn of the century, there were basically two types of sparkling wine consumed outside of Italy. One was relatively dry and it came from France (you don’t need us to tell you what it was). The other was very sweet and it came from Italy (again, it’s easy to surmise the wine we’re talking about). The former was exclusive and expensive, reserved for the elite among wine drinkers and served only for special occasions and at the beginning of a meal. The latter was inexpensive and approachable but it was only served in celebration or with dessert.
As Mr. Polegato pointed out over the course of our chat, Prosecco was the world’s first “international” wine that was a) dry in style; b) affordable enough for everyday consumption; and c) traditionally consumed at mealtimes.
In a way, Prosecco taught the world what the Veneti (the people of the Veneto region) and the Venetians (the residents of Venice) already knew: Prosecco is one of the most food-friendly wines in the world and it’s also one of the world’s most versatile.
The famous wine from France, he noted, is price-prohibitive and its unique flavor profile makes it challenging to pair with a wide range of foods and dishes.
The equally famous wine from (another part of) Italy is inexpensive but its sweetness limits the options for pairing.
Prosecco, which some would call the official wine of Venice, filled a gap that wine lovers were increasingly wanting to fill.
There are other reasons why Prosecco became such a popular wine across the world. And we will have ample time to examine the appellation’s arc to success.