The Tasting Panel magazine

Oct 09

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 92

What We're Drinking Blue Reviews I nside Italy, producers have been bolstered by the government's recent recognition of the historic Prosecco-producing region, Conegliano-Valdob- biadene, as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. The DOCG designation, Italy's highest level of quality, helps safeguard the image of the oft-duplicated sparkling wine. It's but one good reason for wine giant Zonin to re- launch its Prosecco in the U.S. The other? A $5 million spike in U.S. sales from 2007-08 (second half) to the same time period for 2008-09, according to The Nielsen Co., signifying that Prosecco isn't just a fi zzy fl ight of fancy. "Prosecco is the single most important wine in Italy," says Francesco Zonin, 34, President Gianni Zonin's middle son, who serves as Vice President of Marketing for the company. "Now, with our investment in distribu- tion, we want to reach consumers in other markets." Cousin Lorenzo, also 34, Zonin's Marketing & Com- munications Manager in the north, is a fi erce defender of his country's native sparkler. "There should be a communication that Prosecco is versatile; to relegate it to just an apertif is not correct," he says, adding that the company has so much confi dence in the fi zz's future that by 2011, Zonin plans to have 100 hectares of Prosecco under vine—an unprecedented area for Italy. The company produced eight million bottles this year (as of August) and upped its export to the U.S. 43 percent from 2008. Partnering with Hospitality Brands Already the number-one-ranked Prosecco in South Florida, thanks to Miami's young-affl uent demographic, Zonin is expanding its reach through partnerships with hospitality brands such as Hilton Hotels, Cipriani and Darden Restaurants, Inc. (Capital Grille and Olive Garden). The goal? To put more Zonin Prosecco into the hands of more Americans. In other words, demand will follow supply, Zonin feels. Bottled under the Casa Vinicola Zonin label, the Prosecco has undergone a bottle redesign, and the company has packaged a portable 187 ml. bottle for the U.S. market. A new marketing campaign includes a dedicated website where consumers can request a 22-page English-language booklet on Prosecco and food pairings. The trade campaign includes life-sized in-store displays featuring the quite photogenic Francesco. And the sparkling wine has more going for it than the family's good looks: It received gold and silver med- als at VinItaly 2009 and in a blind tasting conducted by Altroconsumo magazine, came in second only to Moët & Chandon champagne. "Having a gold medal doesn't change your life, but it tells you you're going in the right direction." Francesco says. Zonin Prosecco is distributed through Zonin U.S.A., Charlottesville, VA. SRP: 187 ml., $3.99; 750 ml., $14.99; 1.5 L $26.99. Prosecco Has Its Now Moment Lorenzo Zonin and Marco Rabino, Oenology Director, on the Zonin family estate, near Vicenza. Call it a come-lately, a wanna-be or an also-ran, but just don't laugh about Prosecco any more. The bub- bly that no one took seriously is now one of the hot- test wines on the market and winemakers all over Italy are stepping up production to meet demand story and photos by Lana Bortolot october 2009 / the tasting panel /  73

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - Oct 09