He snapped it at one of the myriad “big box” stores that dot the landscape of my childhood Southern California.
To some, $6.99 for a bottle of Prosecco DOCG may seem like a great bargain for a high-quality wine.
But to Italian wine trade observers, the notion of an under-$7 Prosecco DOCG reeks of unfair pricing practices.
According to WineSearcher.com, the average retail price of a bottle of Prosecco DOCG from an established bottler in California is around $17. And I can tell you anecdotally that you should be able to find a great bottle of the DOCG there for somewhere between $13-16 — twice the big box price.
When I asked a Prosecco grower and bottler how such a low price could be possible, he told me that the grower and bottler of the big box wine were probably making just cents on the dollar for the wine.
Why would growers and bottlers sell their fruit and their wine at such abominably low prices?
Prosecco DOCG has to be made using hillside-grown fruit from the townships of Valdobbiadene, Conegliano, and Asolo.
Prosecco DOC is made from fruit grown on the valley floors of Treviso province or the entire region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Vineyard management costs for hillside growing areas are higher than those for the valley floors. And that’s one of the reasons, although not the only one, that Prosecco DOCG costs more than DOC.
But because consumers seem to make no distinction between the higher-quality DOCG and the DOC, sales of Prosecco DOCG are being eclipsed by the cheaper and lower-quality DOC. As a result, many smaller and mid-tier DOCG growers are sometimes forced to sell off their fruit at bargain-basement pricing.
It’s a problem that plagues other DOCGs as well, including Franciacorta, Brunello di Montalcino, and even Barolo.
But in Proseccoland, where the Prosecco boom shows no sign of slowing, its impact is acutely felt by smaller growers who see their livelihoods being undercut by big business and big box Prosecco.
Thanks for reading…