The Most Popular Italian Sparkling Wine – Fun Facts About Prosecco

If you scroll through the pages of the Xtrawine blog, you will see that we’ve dedicated a lot of space to waxing lyrical about Prosecco.

There are so many reasons for this!

Of course, Prosecco is the standout Italian sparkling wine. In fact, we could argue that it is the standout sparkling wine, in general. Not even Champagne, in all of its glory, manages to outsell Prosecco on the global stage.

And that brings us to another reason, which is Prosecco’s enduring popularity. As beloved as this wine is in its homeland, it may be adored even more overseas. The UK and USA, in particular, have a love affair with Prosecco that has made it one of the highest-selling wines in both countries.

Our point?

People can’t get enough Prosecco.

And with that in mind, we think it’s a great idea to share a few fun facts about this most famous of Italian wines so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a bottle of the Italian bubbly.

Fact #1 – 10 Grapes Only

If you’ve checked out our previous blogs, you’ll already know that Prosecco is produced primarily with the Glera grape. Previously called Prosecco, this grape underwent a name change in 2010 and must make up at least 85% of any Prosecco wine.

Of course, that leaves us with the other 15%.

This is made up of a blend of additional grapes, which gives producers some room to add a little individuality to their wines. However, the mistake many make is to assume that any grapes can be added to the mix.

This isn’t the case.

There are only 9 additional grapes that can be added to a bottle of Prosecco, including:

  • Pinot Bianco
  • Verdiso
  • Perera
  • Glera Lunga
  • Bianchetta
  • Trevigiana
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Grigio

Everything else is off the table. So, your bottle of Prosecco may be 100% Glera, a combination of all 10 grapes, or anything in between, as long as the 85/15 ratio is kept. But no producer is allowed to use other grapes unless they want to sacrifice their DOC/DOCG classification.

Fact #2 – Prosecco is Older Than You Think

As I’m sure you expect, there is a town called Prosecco that is often seen as the true home of the wine. However, Prosecco’s rapid rise during the 20th and 21st centuries implies that the wine is a fairly new addition to the Italian wine Parthenon.

This isn’t the case.

In fact, we can trace references to the famous Glera grape as far back as Ancient Rome. In his famous book, Natural History, Pliny the Elder speaks of a woman named Julia August, stating that she gave 86 years of her life to the wine of Pizzino. As you may have guessed, this is an ancient name for the Prosecco grape, which became Glera just a few short years ago.

And as for the age of the grape…

Pliny the Elder died in 79AD. This means the grape has been around for at least 2,000 years!

Fact #3 – It’s Good For Calorie Counters

If you’re looking to lose a little weight, you may be wary about drinking Italian wine. You shouldn’t be, as an average glass only contains about 125 calories. As long as you don’t go overboard, you can easily fit wine into your diet without any issues.

But what if you’re still a little wary?

That’s where Prosecco comes in. 

Like many other sparkling wines, Prosecco has a lower calorie count than regular wines. In fact, a single glass tends to contain around 90 calories, which is practically nothing in the grand scheme of a diet. So, if you feel a little guilty about indulging your passion for wine when you’re trying to shed a few pounds, just know that a glass or two of Prosecco isn’t going to break the calorie bank!

Fact #4 – Fake Prosecco is a Problem

Prosecco is a very popular wine.

It makes legitimate producers hundreds of millions of Euros every single year. Of course, this means it also attracts the attention of counterfeiters who seek an opportunity to make some easy money by scamming Prosecco drinkers with fake products.

The problem obviously affects Italy, where there are strict countermeasures in place to ensure these forgeries never reach the shelves. However, counterfeit Prosecco is also a problem in countries like England, where the wine is a major seller. Just a few years ago, authorities intercepted a truck in the English city of Coventry that claimed to contain a huge number of bottles of Prosecco. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that these wines actually originated from Moldova and had just been labelled as Prosecco!

Fact #5 – The First Bellini Was Made With Prosecco

We all love a Bellini.

It is one of the most enduring wine-based cocktails, with its combination of fruit juice and Champagne being a favourite for many. 

You may have noticed we said “Champagne” there. That’s because, as far as most people know, a Bellini is made using the famous French wine. However, what most don’t know is that this wasn’t always the case. The people who came up with the cocktail had a very different wine in mind.

If you’ve guessed Prosecco, then you are bang on the money.

The idea behind the Bellini actually comes from a very clever bar owner who was based in Venice. The famous Harry’s Bar is the true creator of the drink, having invented it in 1948. The original recipe involved pushing white peaches through a sieve and topping the puree with some Prosecco.

Champagne ended up taking over the mantle for Bellini for unknown reasons. But if you want to enjoy a true Bellini, switch back to Prosecco. You’ll get the original (and real) deal. And what’s more, you’ll end up spending a lot less on quality Prosecco than you would on Champagne. 

We fancy a Bellini or two now…

What about you? If you want to grab some Prosecco for your cocktails, or if you just have a hankering for a great Italian sparkling white wine, you will find plenty of great vintages of the wine in our store. 


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