Allegrini 2018

“Producing Prosecco Docg costs more than producing Champagne,” says Sandro Bottega

The producer from Veneto: among slopes, winemaking tools and more, 10,000 euros per hectare per year for the DOCG, 7,500 for the French
Sandro Bottega, head of Bottega

Prosecco (both Doc and Docg) and Champagne are different, very different in everything. For the territory, of course, but also for the grapes used and the production method. With the most famous Italian sparkling wine in the world, which despite this, is commonly considered the cheapest alternative to the king of French sparkling wines. And yet, if the price difference to the consumer is indisputable, with Prosecco appearing much lower than Champagne, at the production level, if you consider Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg, the sparkling wine that comes from the hills recognized as UNESCO heritage, is more expensive than Champagne. This is the thesis, supported for some time by Sandro Bottega, head of Bottega Spa, one of the most successful realities of Italian wine, one of the most famous brands in the world, that now makes it even more explicit, in an official stance.
“Prosecco Superiore Docg has a much higher cost of cultivation and therefore of production than Champagne,” writes Bottega, “but the producers of Veneto should enhance it better. The increase in supply has led to a downward spiral, allowing those who sell at a lower price to have more market share and, thanks to economies of scale, also to have greater profits from which farmers and quality companies have not fully benefited. The slopes of vineyards in the Prosecco Superiore Docg area (especially the Rive), require about 480 hours of work per year for manual cultivation of one hectare, compared to just over a half of French colleagues, who can also use special agricultural machinery. Despite the general belief, the subsequent production costs, highlight even more the high and more expensive production cost of Prosecco Superiore Docg compared to Champagne. In fact, the costs of the sparkling wine plants of the first are very high - continues Bottega - while for Champagne the bottling directly in the bottle allows to carry out the operations easily and without major investment in means of production”.

To those who appeal to the financial costs of fermentation times, Bottega responds by saying that “the financial burden weighs from 2% to 3% per year, and therefore have a minimal impact. It is no coincidence that the Spanish Cava, produced using the same method as Champagne, has prices halved compared to Prosecco and 5 times lower than those of Champagne”.

Specifically, according to the entrepreneur from Veneto, “the costs of management and cultivation per hectare amount to 10,000 euros per year for Prosecco Superiore Docg and 7,500 euros for Champagne. While the amortization of production investments can be quantified as 0.20 cents per 75 cl bottle of Prosecco Superiore Docg and 0.05 cents per 75 cl bottle of Champagne. But it's not just a question of costs, but also of risks: a producer of Prosecco Superiore Docg, in the case of a mediocre vintage, can do nothing. Instead, the Champagne producer, thanks to the “liqueur d'expedition” trick, can correct the quality at will.
The conclusion is that, if growers and companies worked together more, understanding each other's problems, there would be greater awareness and the Prosecco Superiore Docg would be fully enhanced, also thanks to the recent recognition by UNESCO”. A clear and distinct point of view, which will not fail to be discussed.

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