Sparkling wine also big hit abroad
(ANSA) – Rome, December 31 – The vast majority of Italians will usher in 2009 toasting with Italian sparkling wine, which is also making major inroads abroad.
Over 85% of the bottles popped at New Year’s will be Italian spumante or prosecco, a 2.1% increase in the number of bottles of bubbly consumed last year, according to the Confederation of Italian Farmers (Cia).
This has been a boon year for Italian bubbly with over 300 million bottles sold for a turnover of more than 2.3 billion euros.
This year was also the first time that the number of bottles being exported surpassed those being consumed at home.
Europe absorbed 74% of total exports and ”Italy is now beginning to close in on France, which exports some 180 million bottles of bubbly,” sector sources said.
Despite the increase in exports, Italy remains the third-biggest producer of sparkling wine after Germany with 480 million bottles and France with 435 million.
The same line up regarded per capita consumption with Germany at six bottles a year, France with five and Italy, as well as Spain, with three.
The vast majority of bottles of Italian bubbly produced in 2008 were made using the Charmat Method while the rest were made using the traditional Champenoise Method.
The Charmat Method, invented in the early 1900s by Eugene Charmat, involves putting bubbles in wine by adding sugar to a sealed tank, letting a second fermentation take place and then transferring it to a bottle under pressure.
In the Champenoise Method, invented by the French monk Dom Perignon in 1640, the wine is fermented in the same bottle in which it will eventually be served.