For the first time in over a decade exports of Prosecco to the UK have fallen, dipping by 7% in the first half of the year, according to analysis from Italian farming association Coldiretti.
In 2016, Brits consumed 112.7 million bottles of DOC Prosecco, with exports to the UK, US and Germany accounting for 75% of sales.
According to analysis from Coldiretti, the UK – the Italian fizz’s top market – has experienced a dip in Prosecco exports in the first half of this year.
Over a quarter of all exported Prosecco is consumed in the UK, and last year it was predicted that the UK market for the fizz would grow by more than 17% to reach 8.3m cases in the next five years.
Coldiretti blames “the effects of Brexit” and “nationalistic fake news designed to discredit the Italian drink”.
In August last year, a dentist warned that Brits were in danger of developing tooth decay from drinking too much Prosecco, a trend he dubbed ‘the Prosecco smile’.
In response to an article published in the Guardian, agriculture minister Maurizio Martina tweeted: “Dear Guardian, tell the truth – Prosecco makes British people smile too! Stop fake news please”.
This comes as the conzorzio for DOC Prosecco announced that it is on course to produce almost 600 million bottles of fizz from the 2018 harvest, making the region nearly two times the scale of Champagne.
This year’s vintage is expected to yield “3,700,000 hl of certifiable wine”, from a total of 23,000 hectares of vineyards in the region, the equivalent of 493.3m bottles of Prosecco.
This is up from around 440m bottles in 2017, which was affected by adverse weather conditions including late spring frosts and summer drought.
It’s also expected that the smaller DOCG area for Prosecco Superiore – which totals around 5,000 hectares – should yield more than 100m bottles of certified sparkling.
While Prosecco still reigns supreme in the UK, British consumers are increasingly exploring other forms of fizz.
Earlier this year, Waitrose saw its Crémant sales jump 28% in two months, compared to the same period last year, peaking on Valentines Day. In 2017, the retailer reported a 72% rise in Crémant sales compared with the whole of 2016.
New figures released by Loire Valley Wines in June revealed that exports of Crémant de Loire to the UK rose by 34% in 2017 as consumers continue to explore alternative sparkling wine categories.
Meanwhile, the then chief executive of Vinexpo, Guillame Deglis, told db earlier this year that New World sparkling wines are the ones to watch.
“These New World sparkling wines haven’t been produced at a high level of production in recent years, but it’s picking up, particularly thanks to domestic consumption, and they now are starting to be exported”.