The Italian Almanac
Italian News - December 6
Italian exports of sparkling wine will hit a new high this year and Italians are drinking more local bubbly, too. According to the Italian Food and Wine Institute, exports of spumante and prosecco in 2006 will hit the threshold of 100 million bottles for the first time ever.
Exports of spumante to the United States will climb to 15 million bottles and account for 30% of the sparkling wine consumed there, compared to 43% for French champagne. This year has also seen record increases of exports to Japan and Germany, the number one importer of spumante and prosecco, and this Christmas orders from Spain have doubled and even exports to France are on the rise.
There has also been a trend reversal in Italy, where after years of preferring foreign imports, Italians are now buying more local bubbly.
Most Italian spumante is made using the Charmat Method or 'closed tank' method, compared to the traditional Champenoise Method. The Charmat Method, invented in the early 1900's 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.