11 Things You Didn’t Know About Prosecco

Thursday, 4 February, 2016
Emily Bell, VinePair
Let’s admit it. Prosecco is easy to take for granted. We buy it for a night out or in—easy drinking bubbles that give us a temporary and much-needed lift in general feelings of delight.

That’s all fine, but there’s more to know—and more to appreciate—about everyone’s favorite brunch go-to. For instance, its Ancient Roman roots, its potential connection to a long life, and its protracted, plucky rivalry with Big Bubbly, aka Champagne. So before any of us makes our next Bellini (with Prosecco, ahem), let’s take some time to get to know the bubbles in the bottle.

Yes, there is a town called Prosecco.

The delightful bubbly Prosecco we know and love today came from the village of Prosecco, a suburb of Trieste. The name “prosecco” is actually Slovenian, from prozek, or “path through the woods.” (Prior to being called Prosecco, the region was known as Puccino.) Today, Prosecco production extends beyond the small village, but this is where it all began.

Speaking of which, Prosecco has ancient history.

The Glera grape, which grew well in the Prosecco region and became the basis for Prosecco, was grown in Ancient Rome. In fact, in his Natural History, Pliny the Elder—who died in 79 AD—talks of Julia Augusta, “who gave the credit for her eighty-six years of life to the wine of Pizzino.” (In the Latin, on the opposite side, it actually says “Pucino vino,” as in Puccino, as in Prosecco.) So yeah, that’s major street cred.

As for street cred, Prosecco now has a DOC and a DOCG.

Since 2009, actually. The latter is slightly higher quality, or so it’s said, and much smaller than the DOC, comprised of 15 communes of vineyards, with vines growing in limestone-rich hillsides. The idea that it’s higher quality comes from the fact that, thanks to those steep hillsides, everything is done by hand. The DOC and DOCG are in Veneto and Friuli.

You probably don’t know the main Prosecco grape.

It’s not as famous as the Champagne grapes, or any of our favorite white varietals. It’s called “Glera,” and it’s the one that dates back to Roman times. Proseccco can also be made with Perera, Bianchetta, and Verdiso, and heavy hitters like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. But Glera’s the grandpapa of Prosecco.


To read more, click here