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Prosecco producers concerned about Brexit as deadline looms

With just 10 days to go before the Brexit deal deadline arrives, it’s looking less and less likely that British lawmakers will agree on a plan exit the European Union with a new trade agreement in place (see this Politico article, posted today).

As a result, it’s not clear what’s going to happen for Italian winemakers once the March 29 deadline has passed. And it’s looking increasingly likely that imports of Italian wine will be blocked — at least in the short term.

According to an article published last week in The Drinks Business (“Is Prosecco Losing Its Sparkle?” by Lauren Eads), the United Kingdom is the largest market for Prosecco in the world, accounting for nearly one in two bottles of Prosecco shipped outside Italy (unfortunately, the article is available only to subscribers and has not yet appeared on the masthead’s website; we’ll publish a link as soon as it does and in the meantime, we highly encourage you to read it).

In 2018, England imported nearly 122 million bottles of Prosecco according to the author (her source is Coldiretti, the Italian Farming Confederation, which includes fine wine grape growers). Compare that with the roughly 69 million bottles imported to the United States.

Over the last decade, the Prosecco boom in the United Kingdom has reshaped the appellation’s market focus since it became the world’s largest consumer of sparkling wine from Valdobbiadene, Conegliano, and Asolo (not to mention the larger Prosecco DOC which covers Treviso province and extends into the region of Friuli).

But growth in England has slowed in recent years. Prosecco sales there increased by 1.5 percent according to the report, compared with 11.7 percent growth in the U.S.

There’s actually been a spike in Prosecco sales to the United Kingdom as importers and retailers have begun stockpiling the wines in anticipation of a “no deal” exit from the Eureopean Union.

Another side effect of the concerns is that many Prosecco producers are beginning to look at other markets for potential growth. France, for example, has seen a boom in Prosecco sales in recent years as the French become more and more eager to experience wines from other countries. And the United State also continues its trend of substantial growth.

We’ll be following the story closely here on the Villa Sandi Blog. Stay tuned…

Image via Wikipedia (Creative Commons).

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