10 Things to Know About Prosecco

I’ll never forget my first one. It was in springtime in Sienna. I’m a bit fuzzy on the year, but it was post lira and the dollar was 80¢ to the euro (far better than $1.38 today) so quite a few years ago. And I very clearly recall the beautiful Tod’s shoes I bought that I’d never be able to afford at today’s exchange rate.  And the soft leather, chestnut brown handbag with the brass pull. But I digress… Prosecco is an easy to drink, unpretentious Italian sparkling white wine.  It’s like your fun and carefree friend, not the brooding, contemplative, serious one.  Prosecco is produced in the Veneto and Fruili regions located in the northeast of Italy. Earlier this month, I toured the gorgeous Valdobbiadene and Conigliano areas of the Veneto, home of D.O.C.G. Prosecco (more about D.O.C.G. later). Cristina, a native of the area and Prosecco aficionado was my guide and I learned so much as we toured and tasted, I want to share.

Italy Map
Prosecco Region Map

1) Follow along with this one – Prosecco was originally named after the Prosecco grape which was named for the town of Prosecco near Trieste where the grape originally came from. For hundreds of years, the grape was called Prosecco, but since 2010, the grape variety is now called Glera and the geographical region is called Prosecco. As one of the wine makers told me, this change is to prevent the grape being grown in other parts of the world and still being called Prosecco.  Prosecco comes only from this region of Italy. End of story.

2) A bottle of Prosecco should be drunk young and fresh – it’s an uncomplicated wine and doesn’t improve with age. It’s not something you save for your 25th wedding anniversary or your daughter’s wedding – unless these happy events are celebrated within the year (or you don’t like your spouse or wedding guests).

3) Prosecco should be stored in a cool, dark place and served in a large tulip-shaped glass at 43-46° F/6-8° C. Flute glasses are not recommended.

Prosecco Glasses

4) Prosecco has either a D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) which is the highest quality distinction of Italian wine or a D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) certification depending on the zone of production. Either of these credentials means the Prosecco must follow certain requirements imposed by the Italian government.

5) In 2013, worldwide Prosecco sales grew by 30% according to Corriere Vinicolo, the Italian Wine Trade Publication. Globally, Prosecco has surpassed Champagne on volume sales – 307 million bottles of Prosecco vs. 304 million bottles of Champagne.

6) The highest quality and most expensive type of Prosecco is Cartizze, which comes from a small sub zone of 265 hillside acres (107 hectares). The land has a very special terroir and is some of the world’s most expensive vineyard real estate with one acre of Cartizze (2.5 hectares) costing over $1.3 million. From this small, exclusive region, there are 140 Cartizze growers producing 1.4 million bottles per year.

Merotto Cartizze Prosecco
Garbara Cartizze Prosecco
Garbara Sign

7) Prosecco Superiore comes in three versions that vary based on their residual sugar content. From driest to sweetest they are – Brut, Extra Dry and Dry. Extra Dry is considered the most traditional type but taste testing is always the best way to determine your personal preference – so go ahead and let me know what you think!

8) The entire region covers 13,000 acres (5,200 hectares) and the vineyards are all tended and the grapes picked by hand.


9) There are only 69 calories in a 3.5 oz/100 ml glass of Prosecco – since I’m a numbers (and calorie counting) person, I’ll finish the calculation for you. That’s 517 calories in a bottle divided by 2 people = 258 calories; find a few more friends and it’s 129 calories. That’s way less than in a small gelato.

10) A Spritz is a very popular Italian drink made with Prosecco, seltzer and either Campari or Aperol. Watch Giorgio make the perfect one or try a Bellini, one of Venice’s most favorite drinks. A smooth, refreshing, everyday, accessible wine – Prosecco is light, casual and undemanding….and you never, ever need an excuse to open a bottle. So pop open the cork, pour yourself a glass, hold it high, look someone in the eye and say “Cin Cin”!


10 Things to Know About Prosecco — 15 Comments

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  2. Hi Laney, My wife and I were in Burano back in October. When we were there, we had a drink where they put a Esse Buranei in a glass and poured prosecco over the top. Do you happen to know the name of this drink? They called it a particular name, but we did not write this down and cannot remember the name. Your comment would be greatly appreciated.

    • You have me intrigued Bob – I don’t know what this is called but will do some asking around and let you know. I’m very curious, too! Happy New Year!

  3. Love Prosecco! who knew there were so few calories in a glass. I will blame my new passion for it on you!

    • Glad I could help a girl out! The low in calories thing is just an added plus so there should be no excuses not to have a glass…or two!

  4. Laney! You should be a journalist ! So a Nice article and beautiful photos. Contents are really interesting…. some news were unknown also to me !

    • Thanks for the tour Cristina! You’re a wonderful guide especially when it comes to Prosecco…and what part was unknown to you? That a small gelato has more calories?

  5. Excellent article, stunning photos, great information, but I have just one quibble… if I find a few more friends, I must open another bottle! I too will be on the lookout for Cartizze, which might translate to more friends.

    • Thanks Amy! And the more the merrier with friends and Prosecco… More Friends=More Prosecco. And if you don’t finish the bottle (I hear some people don’t, but I wouldn’t know) you can always keep it for the next day with (excuse the sales pitch) a Prosecco stopper http://bit.ly/1iAp9YV.

  6. The photos are so pretty in this post! I learned about 10x more than I ever knew about prosecco too. Why shouldn’t it be drunk in flute glasses? How intriguing! I also didn’t know you shouldn’t save it for later!

    • And the photos didn’t even do justice to the beautiful vistas, Pam-it’s really gorgeous! Glad to know that this was informative – and the glass shape has to do with bubbles (although I confess I’ll drink Prosecco in anything).

  7. I loved your article! Mandy mentioned it was written by her sister. I actually stayed in Trieste many years ago and I wish I would have known some of this info back then. I always serve my Prosecco in a flute but now I have a reason to go shopping and buy some new large tulip shaped glasses!! I’m going to go look for some extra dry Cartizze now. Thanks again for the article…..it was very informative and fun to read!

    • I’m glad you got some good info from the post, Mary. So now you have to go back to Italy to use your new found knowledge:). Happy glass and Cartizze shopping!

  8. I adore Prosecco, and what a wonderful article you have put together. I have so much to learn about wine in general, so this is a most welcome piece. What fun research can be! I certainly wish I could travel with you to do some up close and in person exploration.

    • I’m with you in the wine learning department Adri, but Prosecco is a nice one to learn about because it’s not complicated. Wine and food research is the best, isn’t it? And I’d love for you to come travel with me-what a blast!

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