The institution, which protects and promotes the Italian wine, reported the leap for the first fiscal semester of 2014 (ending June 30), with 1.3m cases (15m bottles) of Prosecco.
Luca Giavi, director, Prosecco DOC Consortium, told BeverageDaily.com the US market accounts for 18.5% of total Prosecco exports, making it the third largest market behind the UK (24.5%) and Germany (23%).
Hard fight for first place
“Continuing with the increases in recent months, the US could become our second largest market in the near future,” he said.
“But it will have to fight hard for first place, as the UK has the largest market share and continues to increase year over year.”
Giavi attributes the American success to the wine’s properties.
“Prosecco feels like a contemporary wine, keeping pace with the needs of the modern consumer.
"The characteristics are appealing: an effervescent wine, not particularly alcoholic, with floral and fruity aromas and a gentle and dry flavour.”
The consortium also reports a 27% increase in global exports. Spumante (sparkling) wines grew by 36.9%, while frizzante (semi-sparkling) wines recorded growth of 7.4%.
Prosecco is able to match a variety of international cuisines, and producers are also looking at different markets, Giavi said.
“For many of our producers attention is directed at all the markets of the world, including those in eastern Europe and south east Asia,” he said.
“At the moment, there are markets where export percentage comprises of less than 1%, such as Japan and China. There is potential for growth here, but overall our producers will focus on our larger markets.”
Fight against fakes
The Prosecco DOC production area is located in northeast Italy, in the territories of five Veneto provinces and four provinces in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The wine was granted Controlled Designation of Origin status in 2009, which means it has to be produced in compliance with strict rules on this specific geographical area.
Prosecco fakes are one challenge to the growth of exports to the US, Giavi said.
“Some sparkling wines that lack designation of origin are passed off as Prosecco. Today, our main competitors are represented by the fraud or the misuse of our Geographical Indication.”
The Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela della DOC Prosecco) brings wine producers together to promote the product and protect the quality and designation of the product.
“I think that many consumers are drinking more Prosecco for its pleasantness, and it’s an added bonus knowing that the DOC label guarantees the bottle is produced in a beautiful area, cultivated by one of thousands of passionate winemakers,” Giavi said.
“It is the consortium’s objective to spread this awareness.”