Cheers! Prosecco beats champagne as EU's top sparkling wine export

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With more than 205 million litres (41 percent), Italian prosecco has ranked first place among the main categories of sparkling wine exported from EU member states to countries outside the European Union.

Champagne was placed second with 66 million litres (13 percent) being exported.

Cava, which is produced in Spain, bucked the trend by increasing its extra-EU exports by more than 10 percent to 58 million litres in 2020.

Of the new figures, agricultural organisation Coldiretti said: “Outside Italy, the most enthusiastic consumers are the Americans, who overtake the British with an increase of 44 percent in quantity, while the British ‘stop’ at a growth of 12 percent.

“Estimates from the new Unione italia vini-Ismea Observatory also spoke of a record production of Italian sparkling wines, never so high: 900 million bottles, with a growth of 50 percent in the last five years, with 316 million bottles ready to be uncorked during the festive season.”

In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, exports of sparkling wines to countries outside the EU amounted to 494 million litres.

This was down from the 528 million litres exported the year before.

The researchers have said this is the first drop in extra-EU sparkling wine exports in a decade.

The pandemic – analysts pointed out – has significantly dampened the growth on the wine trade as bars and restaurants were forced to close.

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By the end of the year, the historical record of exports abroad was reached for the first time for a value of around 1.9 billion, based on forecasts on Istat data.

Coldiretti pointed out in the ranking of the favourite Italian bubbles in the world “there are among others Prosecco, Asti and Franciacorta, which are now challenging the French Champagne on equal terms, so much so that on the transalpine market a record growth in sales of 16 percent has been recorded”.

This comes after it was revealed UK food and drink exports fell by 16 percent in the first nine months of 2021.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) warned the sector’s exports declined by £2.7bn between January and September compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This drop was blamed largely on a 24 percent decrease in sales to EU countries.

Dominic Goudie, the FDF’s head of international trade, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see how badly our trade with the EU has been affected, with our smallest exporters hardest hit.

“It is vital that the UK government and devolved nations continue to work with industry to put in place a new model of partnership to support food and drink exporters.

“They need government to clear the obstacles and help them take advantage of new opportunities.”

Gareth Thomas, shadow minister for international trade, said: “Ministers need to accelerate support to food and drink exporters to reverse this decline in sales to France, Germany and other European countries otherwise we risk seeing others take long-term trade opportunities away from British businesses putting good jobs and firms at risk.

“Sorting out urgently a veterinary agreement, putting long-term solutions in place for the supply chain crisis including on HGV drivers, and helping more firms navigate new customs rules are essential.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega



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