A Brief History of Prosecco

When I say a brief history, we’ll make this quick since its New Years Eve and everyone is more interested in drinking Prosecco than reading about it, but give us just a minute!

Prosecco can be dated back possibly as far back as the 16th century in Italy.  Modern Prosecco is significantly different however from its historical counterpart.  Until the mid-1960’s Prosecco was traditionally a very sweet wine; during the 1960s producers began to make higher quality, dry Prosecco that has grown in popularity to this day.

Prosecco is most commonly thought of as a sparkling wine, however, Prosecco can be sparkling, semi-sparkling or still.  In order for a wine to be labeled as a Prosecco in Italy, it must be made from a minimum of 85% Glera grapes (formerly known as Prosecco.)  Other grapes can be mixed in for the remaining 15%, these often include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Noir among others.  Wines produced following the same method as Prosecco with Glera but differing proportions are often labeled differently, such as ‘Secco Italian Bubbles‘ by Charles Smith.

Prosecco is often compared with (and occasionally confused with,) the other famous European bubbly wine, Champagne.  We have several recent posts talking about Champagne and method champenoise that you can check out on our old blog here.  The big difference for Prosecco and Champagne comes during secondary fermentation.  Champagnes secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle while Prosecco’s secondary fermentation occurs in the steel vats it ferments in.  This generally leads to a lower price point for Prosecco since it is less expensive to produce.  There are many other differences so this is an overarching generalization, however, the important distinctions have also been highlighted.

Happy New Year!


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