Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

Prosecco should not be released until 12 months after the harvest; its most famous sub-zone, the great hill of Cartizze, should be the first to be promoted to DOCG; a clearer distinction should be drawn between DOC and non-DOC wines; and high-quality, hillside vineyards which have been abandoned should be recovered to help meet ever-growing demand. Such are the bold contentions of Gianluca Bisol, fifth-generation head of the eponymous producer, regarding the only major sparkling wine to have increased its sales every year for the past 25 years. Bisol told Harpers that although Prosecco is ready for sale a few months after harvest (it is produced by the Charmat method in preference to the traditional method), he has been delaying the release longer each year, and would like to sell the highest-quality wines after a minimum of 12 months. Asserting that this would be the greatest single measure to improve quality for the region as a whole, he recommended that other leading producers follow suit. Revealing that insufficient backing from bottlers 10 years ago had thwarted his father's attempt to apply for promotion to DOCG, Bisol said that he hoped soon to have the requisite support from bottlers (30% of the 132) and growers (50% of the more than 3,600) to try again. The application would be made in the first instance for wines grown on the Cartizze hill, where Bisol is the largest of the 140 owners, with three of the 107 hectares (ha), and where grapes fetch three to four times as much as those from other sub-zones (as much as e3-4 per kg). Stressing that far more non-DOC than DOC Prosecco is sold - 60 million and 40 million bottles respectively - Bisol hoped that consumers could be encouraged to ask for Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene or, more simply, DOC Prosecco. Bisol noted that while 4,200ha are currently in production, a further 3,000ha also qualify, with the areas not in production often superior, hillside vineyards. Bisol is renovating several such sites, which it will cultivate biodynamically.