War and Conflict Have Arrived in Prosecco Country
VALDOBBIADENE, ITALY – Small pickup truck carrying mounds of green grapes through Prosecco Road. The workers harvesting the terraced vineyards got scorched in the sun. Tippi tourists stopped for a tasting. Couples set spectacles at the town’s unique Prosecco bar.
But behind an encouraging front, producers of Italy’s wildly popular sparkling white wine in the northeastern Veneto region were on a war footing.
“I feel like I am going to war,” said Elvira Maria Bortolomeo, as she rifled through the airy tasting room next to her vineyards. Ms Bortolomiol, an owner of the Bortolomiol winery and the new president of a union of growers, said a surprise attack had “disturbed us.”
There has been war and internal strife in the country of Prosecco. The European Union, in a major discussion for the spritz-fueled multibillion euro industry, last month agreed to consider a long-standing application by Croatia to recognize Prosec, an obscure sweet dessert brewery of the same name. Method.
Big Prosecco has battled warnings from British dentists about a myriad of other salvos – such as Mir-Seco and Canseco – about counterfeit and sugary sputum that can rot the country’s teeth. But the younger Prosec, the legally outdated wine of an EU member state, posed a unique threat.
A significant part of the Italian economy is typically built on Italian products with names and sounds protected from counterfeiting. If the European Union allows Prosec today, producers argue, could pharmason be far behind?
And so Prosecco producers and local officials have joined the Italian government to crush Prosek. The argument is that recognition by Brussels would confuse consumers and set a dangerous precedent.
“Recognizing Prosec could legalize many other products that are counterfeit,” said Luca Giavi, president of the Consortium to Protect Prosecco.
As if demonstrating the byproduct of a DEA drug bust, he placed the confiscated Romanian “Pro-Seco”, a 10-pack of glitter “Prosecco Bath Bombs” and Prosecco Princess shower gel on the desk of his headquarters. “The important thing is that there is an enemy,” he said. “It unites us.”
But not everyone.
In a dark and vaulted cellar beneath a stone Prosecco museum on Valdobiadin hill, Enrico Bortolomiol – Ms Bortolomiol’s first cousin – argued that the conflict over Croatian wine presented a rare opportunity to advance a radical agenda: the time has come. had gone. Name Prosecco.
The Grandmaster of the Confraternity of Valdobiaden – a sacred society of Prosecco makers from the traditional home of wine on the Valdobiaden and Conegliano hills – Mr. Bortolomeiol, 55, wore a heavy white fustian cloak, black velvet cap and a gold medallion. State symbol. Around him, frescoes depict the society’s four founding fathers knocking back a few cups with giddy medieval knights, a topless Bacchus and women in slinky togas.
With the dusty bottoms of the hill’s best spumante during the decades, he sat with the tent on an elevated position and argued that Prosecco’s good name was eroded mechanically and artificially irrevocable by overproduction on unpalatable provinces. form, which accounted for 500. million out of 600 million bottles on the market.
“We have nothing to do with it,” said Mr. Bortolomeo.
“We’re trying to put the name Prosecco in the background,” Mr. Bortolomeo nodded seriously as a fellow knight in the red robe.
For decades, Italy has given different protected geographical indications for different bottles of Prosecco depending on where they are produced. The brown seal is found on the traditional hills; Nine new provinces where wine is made turn blue. Old hills get an extra g for a guaranteed original. New ones don’t. But most consumers don’t know the difference; They just look for the name Prosecco.
And Mr. Bortolomiol believes that there is not much left in that name.
Its purity, he said, had been tainted by Aperol and Campari and the alluring Jolly Rancher-colored spirits that have conquered aperitiv-hours around the world. Prosecco’s rock bottom prices were also blasphemous to the spirit of the brotherhood’s founders, including his uncle and Ms. Bortolomeo’s father.
A billboard out of town advertised a bottle of Prosecco for 2.79 euros if purchased with a six-pack of canned tuna.
Mr Bortolomiol believes that Prosecco has become “a generic name” for any swill with bubbles and was no longer worth defending – from Prosec or anyone else.
His fellow knight, Daniele Basso, hopes the latest controversy will turn Prosecco producers toward “a spotlight.”
The only way to avoid confusion and outrageously low prices was to break down and rebrand the good stuff into bottles marked with a V, which the Brotherhood happened to sell. As long as the wine was clearly tied to its traditional, and unspoiled, region, call it Conegliano Valdobiaden Superior Spumante, or some permutation.
For many Prosecco producers in the surrounding plains, the position of the Knights is both financially suicidal and a wartime traitor.
Croatia argued that Giorgio Polegato, president of Astoria Wines, a giant in the nearby plains, had shown a “lack of respect” in pursuing its Prosec.
As mechanized harvest machines emptied their vineyards, they displayed giant steel tanks in bright lights and stylish furnishings, ready for the night. In the winery’s Fashion Victim Lounge, bottles labeled “Glam,” “Diva” and “Funky” stood on glossy walls. He embraced the spritz and attributed Prosecco’s wild success to its price point. He described it as “easy to drink” and extremely popular with Americans, Brits and women.
“Women love it,” he said.
Increasingly, people come to the Prosecco hills to drink Aperitivos, and Pre-Aperitivo Aperitivos, and Pre-Aperitivo Aperitivos.
In 2019, after a massive lobbying effort, UNESCO declared Valdobiadin and Conegliano as World Heritage Sites.
“It changed everything,” said Marina Montedoro, a leader in that effort. He now worries that recognizing Prosec could cause tourists to mistakenly visit Croatia. “It could happen,” she said.
For now, people know where to go. Two Slovakian women emerge from the vineyards of Valdobiadin and stop next to a couple while enjoying two morning glasses of Prosecco.
Lucia Figurova, 33, said, “No husband, no kids, just Prosecco.” “This place is made for me.”
It’s music to the ears of the mayor of Valdobiaden, Luciano Fragonese, who—proud that a pope was born in the city nearly 700 years ago—focuses on making his community a pilgrimage site for Prosecco enthusiasts. Outside City Hall – which sells wine stoppers in its tourist office – workers saw the cobblestone being converted from a traffic circle into a pedestrian piazza to make the city more inviting to the growing number of visitors.
“The nightmare,” he said, “is that tourists drive up and look at the hills and leave, like it’s Jurassic Park.”
At a Prosecco bar on the square, 22-year-old Agostino Piazza celebrates his college graduation after completing his thesis, “The Resilience of Conegliano and Valdobiaden Prosecco’s Value Chain.”
In the brotherhood’s cellar, Mr. Bortolomeo remained convinced that the real resilience of local sparkling wine was its quality and separation from a word that had lost all meaning.
Protecting Prosecco’s soul was, if not named, the mission of his knights, who, he said, took a solemn vow in front of a bell-shaped sword to discard the water, which only brought mourning, and the local bubbly. elevates. Then each new member had to gulp down half a bottle of the winner of the fraternity’s annual blind taste test.
“And then,” said Mr. Basso, “he is made a knight of Prosecco.”
“Valdobiadin,” the Grandmaster corrected him.
“Okay,” said Mr. Basso. “slip of the tongue.”
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