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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019
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First world problem alert: There's a global Prosecco drought on the way...

The grape used to produce everyone’s favourite pre-drink has had a couple of particularly bad harvests in a row in Italy.

STOCKS OF PROSECCO may be heading for a worldwide shortage this summer.

The Glera grapes from which the immensely popular sparkling wine is made have gone through a number of poor harvests, with grape production in the flatlands of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia particularly badly hit.

“Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50% in some parts,” Roberto Cremonese, of Italian export company Bisol, told industry website The Drinks Business.

There is a very real possibility of a global shortage.

The worldwide recession copper-fastened the popularity of Prosecco in Western Europe as a cheap alternative to champagne, with Ireland no exception.

With such high global demand at present, Italian wholesalers are releasing their stock slowly onto the market and taking the opportunity to put their prices up by as much as 50%.

“We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock,” said Cremonese.

The wine merchants hold the power at the moment as they bought all of the stock. It might turn out that some of them have no fizz left but we’ll have to wait and see.

Given the popularity of Prosecco on these shores a global shortage would be something of a castastrophe.

But how much will all this really affect the Irish drinks industry? Not all that much according to the National Off Licence Association (NOFFLA).

“It’s true the Italian harvest of Prosecco was smaller than usual in 2014 due to adverse weather conditions, so for certain producers in certain wine markets this may prove a problem,” NOFFLA spokesperson Evelyn Jones told TheJournal.ie

The Irish wine market would not be considered significant on a global scale given that our entire population is only about half that of London so issues due to increased demand or shortage do not significantly impact on us.

Well thank God for that. So who will it affect?

Evelyn Jones Evelyn Jones of NOFFLA Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall

“Where it may impact is at the very bottom end of the market where surplus production is normally sold off in bulk to multiples and discounters,” says Jones.

However we should not experience a scarcity of quality Prosecco as importers will already have reserved their projected requirements for the year and agreed pricing.

A bigger probem for Irish Prosecco drinkers is our tax laws according to Jones, laws which she deems “archaic”.

“Greater impact on price at this end of the market is made by the Irish taxation system of applying double excise to wines closed with a cork and wire closure,” she says.

Corking in that way is a necessary requirement in order to stop the bottle exploding due to the bubbles (fizz) within the wine.

All that may be true, but at least we won’t be running out of the stuff anytime soon.

champagne

Read: Politicians who own pubs tell us what has gone wrong for Rural Ireland

Read: Look at all the alcohol gardaí seized from a shebeen in Galway

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