Prosecco supplies could run dry

What's your tipple?
What's your tipple?

Britain’s love of Prosecco could lead to supplies of the Italian sparkling wine drying up, new figures reveal.

Sales of the fizzy white at major supermarkets are up 34 per cent to £356 million in the year to the end of February, according to figures published in trade magazine The Grocer. The 40 million litres total is eight times the amount the UK consumed in 2012.

However, like champagne, the Prosecco name is limited to wines from a particular geographical area - and vintners in the nine small Italian provinces entitled to use the name are finding that demand is outstripping supply.

This may be good news for suppliers in Spain, where Cava - which has suffered thanks to the upsurge in popularity of its Italian rival - has seen sales rebound, increasing by 11 per cent in 2015.

Champagne sales by comparison are only up by one per cent, with importers now looking to find ways to meet the demands at the bottom end of the sparkling wine market.

Richard Thorburn, of wine merchant Lanchester Wines, told trade magazine The Grocer: “Retailers and importers (are) looking at alternatives to feed UK demand, with Spain, France and Germany suddenly looking attractive.”