The Australian/Italian Debate

Last week’s new addition to my grape collection was Glera and Brunello. Brunello is technically not a grape variety in its own right, it is a clone of Sangiovese, but since it is so famous and vastly different from the rest of its family, I thought it deserved a page of its own. As for Glera, I guess most of my readers will not be familiar with that name, but if I say “Prosecco” instead, everyone will know what I am talking about. Prosecco! The phenomenon that has taken the budget conscious world by storm. Everyone is drinking prosecco, all over the world. Which is why it is time to clarify what exactly Prosecco is:

Prosecco is the name of a small Italian town, close to the Slovenian border. In this region, the grape Prosecco (Now Glera) had its origin, and as the trend of the Prosecco grew, the name of the wine region became Prosecco. To protect the rights of this region, in 2009 Italian producers agreed to change the name of the grape to Glera and in doing so, could create a Designation of Origin to protect the rights of the DOC. Slowly, the rest of the world has given up their misguided attempts to use the term Prosecco, like they back in the days gave up on misusing the regional name Champagne. The only issue…


Australian winemakers, rough as they have always been (do not get me started on the Shiraz/Syrah confusion) are refusing to adhere to the DOC regulations, and all over King Valley, you will find Australian grown “Prosecco”. Australian winemakers are fighting hard to preserve their right to write Prosecco on their bottles, even if their wines are not Prosecco and never can be. Their argument for refusing to change the name, is that a name change would confuse the costumer. And having meet the Australian consumers, they are probably right, but all the same that does not justify stealing a protected regional name.

Maybe I am a hypocrite, I call my oat-based beverage for oat milk, I sometimes indulge in a soy-based hotdog, and I am completely comfortable with calling it a hotdog. It is simple and makes Vegan food more approachable to beginners. But protected regional names are not the same, they have a history a home, with rules and regulations that guarantees the quality. No, the name Prosecco belongs in northern Italy, an until Australia has created a history of its own, it should stick with the name “Sparkling Glera” (which is, after all, more or less exactly the same thing)