Nothing says New Year’s Eve like the sound of corks popping, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to Champagne. Prosecco, Italy’s famous sparkling wine, makes a great and affordable alternative. We spoke with with Enore Ceola, Managing Director of Mionetto USA, about their success in bringing organic Prosecco into the United States.
How is Prosecco doing in the U.S. market?
It’s doing very well. The entire category is up 21%. Mionetto itself is up 36%. It fits the bill with economy and is a very good value. For $12-15 you can get a good Prosecco. The taste profile fits the palette of many Americans. Fruity, not too sweet and crisp. And it goes great with food. People are saving champagne for special occasions, and enjoying Prosecco for everyday use as well as celebrations.
Will people stop buying Prosecco if the economy improves then?
No, I think the future will be better. When we first came here 12 years ago, people couldn’t pronounce Prosecco. We worked with retails stores and restaurants to educate them and then the consumers got interested. They buy it because they like it. I can tell from the repeat orders.
People are discovering Proseccos, Cavas and Californian sparkling wines. They can spend less money and get something really good.
How much of your wine is sold in the U.S.?
We make a little under a million cases a year. 25% of that is sold in the U.S.
What made you decide to make a certified organic Prosecco?
We’ve seen the demand for organic products. First foods, then wines. There are younger people, more cosmopolitan and more health conscious. They’ve been looking for something sparkling that’s organic. I’ve seen that increasingly in the last two years.
Had Mionetto been involved with organics before?
Many of our grape growers were already practicing organics, but they weren’t certified. In Italy it is very costly, and most people don’t care about the label because they are more used to getting things locally anyway. Things aren’t as processed as they are here in the United States. We never put a stamp on it before because the demand wasn’t there.
Is certifying a difficult process?
Yes. The rounds of going back and forth to get the right documents, having things translated, so many papers. It took over three months to get the label approved. But now we know the process and we can be much faster.
Do you see any chance of the European Union and the United States granting reciprocal certification?
No. I would hope they would do it, but it doesn’t look good. Then again, some things in life shouldn’t always be easy.
Will Mionetto expand their organic selections in the future?
We will try to stay with what we have now for the next 2 to 3 years, and get the right feedback. They if customers are interested we can expand. Maybe do an organic moscato. We already have an organic Pinot Grigio out under another label. We have to find the right accounts. Not everyone can sell organic, but it is a growing category.