Honestly, I couldn’t believe it either: the Prosecco DOCG growers association has appointed a “Prosecco policeman” who will fine bar and restaurant owners who improperly serve Prosecco on draft or in a caraffe.
It’s serious business. The fines are stiff (up to €20,000!).
I’ve reported on the development today for the Bele Casel blog.
In other Prosecco news…
Now that Croatia has officially become an EU member, the Italian media have been ratcheting up their coverage of the Prosecco-Prošek showdown.
The AP reported on this story back in April, 2013, back when negotiations for Croatia’s EU entry were still underway.
At the time, the Croatian agriculture minister Tihomir Jakovina suggested publicly that Croatia cease to produce Prošek.
His call to end production and avoid a showdown was met with zealous protests by Prošek producers, notably Andro Tomić, the “bard” of Prošek.
At Vinitaly this year, President of the Veneto, Luca Zaia, a former agriculture minister, stated unequivocally that Croatia must stop production of Prošek as a condition of its EU membership.
Many speculate that Croatia has a legal precedent for a claim to Prošek because the category was commercially successful long before Prosecco became a commercially viable category in Italy.
Prosecco, as a “brand,” was first sold successfully in Italy in the late 1800s by Count Marco Giulio Balbi Valier, who probably used a train station in the village of Prosecco (Carso, Friuli) as a hub for the shipment of the wines to Vienna.
Prošek, on the other hand, has been used as a commercial trademark in Croatia for many centuries.
Of course, the Hungary-Italy showdown over Tocai Friuliano and Tokay (Tokaji) looms large. Hungary ultimately won the right to the homonymous trademark and Friuli can no longer export wines labeled Tocai (as of January 2008).