“Prosecco wines are delicious; they seem to make happy moments happier”

Andrew Jefford, Financial Times

Today, on National Prosecco Day, we have shared in our newsletter how we think Awareness Days like this are a great opportunity to tap into a new audience, drawn in by the fun of a social-media driven ‘holiday’. In the newsletter, we drew a parallel between the way ‘Days Of’ function in marketing, drawing people into a deeper, richer seam of information, and the way prosecco opens minds and palates to the nuances of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.

Does a wine have to be ‘serious’ to be good?

Andrew Jefford’s glowing Financial Times article shows that the perceived levity of prosecco, it’s apparent lack of ‘seriousness’, is no longer an impingement to its popularity even among the most highbrow wine drinkers. His exploration of the complexities of the wine as you move from the DOC plains to the precariously steep hills of the DOCG gives a feel of unpacking a Russian doll. There’s always more to learn, another incredible wine to discover as you climb ever steeper into the mountains. But that’s balanced by the everyday pleasure to be had in the easy-going lift of familiar prosecco.

Our work with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Swirl Wine Group has been working with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore for several years and over that time we have held strong to one essential truth: very few wines ever gain cultural relevance. Most wines are not household names (unless you’re round ours with the other wine geeks!). Prosecco-with-a-small-‘p’, or prosecco DOC, has become a cultural phenomenon. It represents a carefree happiness – it represents fun. One the one hand, this can only be a good thing. But on the other, when prosecco begins to appear as a label on bath products, cakes, even paint colours, this success begins to erode the connection of the wine to its agricultural heart. With a ten-fold increase in exports in the last decade, it’s no wonder that, as Jefford puts it, prosecco seemed to ‘dance away from seriousness’.

When we first began working with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore it was essential to us to address this perception. The DOCG hills, despite their deep-rooted cultural and historical relevance in the region, had given their name and image to a wine style which became associated with quite a shallow approach to wine drinking.

So, our mission was to unpick this.

How did we do it?

First, we tackled the prejudice against prosecco of all types by wine professionals and those who felt themselves ‘discerning’ drinkers. In every kind of art or cultural creativity there is an inherent dichotomy between the elevated, uncompromising and aspirational and the quotidian and accessible. We see it in literature, we see it in food, we see it in art and music and wine, too. We made it our mission to show that this principle – this dichotomy – applied to prosecco.

We did this, perhaps counter-intuitively, by embracing complexity.

We focused on the mountains, describing Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore as ‘mountain wines’ – a visual way to describe the difference between lowland plain DOC and DOCG wines. We focused on the complexity of the winemaking process. On the centuries old UNESCO-recognised system of grass terracing. On the single vineyard Rive. On the staggeringly steep vineyards which have to be maintained by hand.

How is prosecco seen now?

What we’ve achieved, as seen in Jefford’s article, is a shift change in the way that prosecco – especially Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is seen. We’ve embraced all the nuances of the DOCG with the confident geekiness you’d usually find applied to regions known best for their top fine wines. We think we’ve shown that fine wine can come from anywhere – even places where the market is most familiar with entry-level, accessible wines. And this National Prosecco Day we raise a glass to the gate-opening simply delicious proseccos, as well as the filigree-fine, elegant mountain wines of Prosecco Superiore.