The Italian Almanac

quite an expensive bottle

10,000 Euros a Bottle

An Italian winemaker has found a unique way to tap into the luxury Middle East market by exporting alcoholic and non-alcoholic sparkling wine in handblown glass bottles finished with gold. Iris Vineyards has reached an agreement with a leading Turkish distributor to sell the wines in 27 countries at a premium price of 10,000 euros a bottle.

Thousands of bottles of the wine, known as prosecco, are ready to be shipped in custom-made boxes lined with elegant snakeskin fabric designed by the French designer brand Hermes from the northeast regions of Friuli and Veneto. The bottles are individually handblown by Treviso glassmaker Cristalli Varisco which preserves the ancient tradition well-known in Venice and elsewhere in northeast Italy.

Iris has signed an accord with the Turkish company M&N from the Backtas group which intends to do a simultaneaous launch in 27 countries including many Muslim countries where alcohol is banned. Countries to be targeted by the wine exporting campaign include Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iran as well as Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia.

Alcoholic wines will be sold in countries where they are permitted while non-alcoholic sparkling wines will be sold in countries like Iran, Qatar, Syria and Bahrain. The marketing campaign will begin officially in Istanbul and in the meantime an advertising campaign has begun across Turkey with billboards depicting bottles of prosecco embedded in key national monuments.

Global sales of prosecco have grown considerably in recent years to more than 150 million bottles a year and 60 percent of the wine comes from the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene region north of Venice.