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Everybody Panic Because a Prosecco Shortage Is Looming

This is totally going to disrupt our plan of being day-drunk off of cheap mimosas for the entire summer. We might just have to slum it and switch to Champagne.

TGIAS! That's "Thank God It's Almost Summer," of course. And we all know that one of summer's most quintessential youngish-person activities is day-drinking mimosas and margaritas until you're texting your ex at 5 PM, taking a generous nap, and then awakening and drinking more bubbly and blended cocktails.

Well, we may have to rethink our bellini-laced warm-weather gameplan: Prosecco, it seems, might not flowing freely.


READ: Italy Isn't Happy with Crimea's Counterfeit Prosecco

Prosecco has seen a boom in popularity in recent years, dethroning Champagne as the top variety of sparkling wine sold in the UK and even making its way onto taps in British pubs in counterfeit form, much to the chagrin of the producers who hate to see its status sullied by being swilled in pint glasses by the masses.

But the party might be over due to last year's poor harvest, warns Roberto Cremonese, export manager of major Prosecco producer Bisol, in an interview with The Drinks Business this week.

Although the extent of the crisis won't fully be understood until the end of the summer, when Prosecco brokers put their stock on the market in August, Cremonese expects that the demand will far outweigh the supply, which has been diminished due to climate factors. He also predicts that prices could increase by up to 50 percent because both grape growers and sellers are slowing their distribution in fear of the possible bubbly dearth to come.

"The négociants hold the power at the moment as they bought all of the stock," he said. "It might turn out that some of them have no fizz left, but we'll have to wait and see."

There are two regionally protected designations for Prosecco: DOC and DOCG. While DOCG wineries enjoyed a relatively normal 2014 harvest, vineyards in the DOC regions suffered considerably last year after new vines were drenched by the unexpectedly gratuitous rainfall that hit the area.

Italy 24 warned back in January that poor weather and excessive rain had caused such damage to Italian grape crops that it could "halt Prosecco's world success," citing a 27 percent increase in sales of Prosecco in 2014 alone—and 60 percent of which is exported. For the now €2 billion industry, the insufficient harvest could have massive implications.

Prosecco has become an increasingly popular alternative to Champagne due to its more buyer-friendly price point, a recession-related trend that Catalan cava producers are also trying to cash in on (with less success, thus far).

But if our ever-more-beloved Prosecco no longer becomes the right choice for the budget-conscious, we just might have to go back to slumming it with Champagne. When you've got 99 problems, a sparkling wine shouldn't be one.

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