Franciacorta producers have a golden opportunity to target health conscious consumers due to the sparkler’s naturally low sugar levels, according to the region’s ambassador, Tom Harrow.
Speaking at a lunch in London to mark the appointment of Silvano Brescianini as the new president of the Franciacorta consortium, Harrow told attendees:
“Franciacorta is good for the waistline, as producers are able to achieve a natural sugar balance in their grapes, which allows them to make sparkling wines with a demonstrably lower than average dosage compared to other sparkling wines.
“Prosecco has opened the eyes of British consumers to interesting sparkling wines outside of Champagne.
“The dry and fresh style of Franciacorta is appealing to a new generation of drinkers, as it its lower dosage. It’s a very modern wine with a rich tradition. We need to take consumers on the next stage of their wine journey after Prosecco.”
During the lunch Brescianini revealed that Switzerland is the number one export market for Franciacorta, having recently overtaken former top market Japan.
“We’re about to give our wines a big push in Hong Kong and Canada but we’ve had problems with frost so our last few harvests have been shorter. In 2017 we suffered our first frost in 65 years.
“We produce an average of 18 million bottles a year. The maximum production we could grow to would be 20m bottles but we’d need a perfect vintage for that.
“We’re a small region formed of 18 villages and around 100 producers, so we’re never going to be able to increase our production by a lot,” he said.
Rather than ramping up production, Brescianini is keen to grow Franciacorta’s global presence in top restaurants and retail outlets. “The more important thing is to get our wines known in key markets around the world. We’ve only recently begun exporting our wines outside of Italy,” he said.
As to whether the astonishing success of Prosecco has helped or hindered Franciacorta, Brescianini believes it serves as a stepping stone to higher-end Italian fizz.
“Wine consumption in Europe is falling year-on-year, but Prosecco is helping a younger generation to engage with wine and get into the category. Prosecco’s young and fresh style is bringing new people to wine who were never going to come to the category via a 20-year-old Barolo,” he said.
“The Franciacorta name is not easy for non-Italian speakers to understand, but it’s our name and our history, so we won’t be changing it. The only solution is to educate consumers about the history of our region,” he added.