Prosecco producers from Italy’s Veneto region are courting the Chinese market with a slick website--translated into Chinese. It’s a smart move to get in early as the Chinese wine market explodes. According to the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, exports to Asia have increased 78.9% from 2010 to 2012. With this website, they want to nudge sales further in that direction.
California producers, however, were earlier in the game. In 2012, Wine Institute (a trade organization of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses) launched a website for Chinese-language consumers. According to Wine Institute, the Discover California Wines initiative provides Chinese-speaking consumers with real-time information about California wineries and wine regions. Part of Wine Institute's global branding campaign to promote the state's wine in China, the website is meant to encourage tourism from China to California wine regions as well.
Prosecco has some catching up to do.
Made in the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, an hour’s drive from Venice, the famed sparkling wine, Prosecco Superiore, gained the prestigious D.O.C.G. classification—Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the highest for Italian wines, in 2009. To prevent counterfeiting, every bottle bears a numbered government seal, guaranteeing that the wine inside is indeed Prosecco Superiore.
The website, which is also available in Italian, English and German, explains all that, along with the grape varietals, primarily Glera, used to make Prosecco, and the methods of production.
In another move that should appeal to the Chinese penchant for tradition, the zone has also applied to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its “extraordinary viticultural landscape” and its links to works of art by the Italian Renaissance painters Bellini and Cima di Conegliano.
So why hasn't the Consortium seen fit to include a recipe for the famous Bellini cocktail inspired by the painter? For the uninitiated, the Bellini is a deliriously delicious blend of Prosecco and fragrant white peach puree invented at Hemingway's old hangout, Harry's Bar in Venice.
Visitors to the site will be able to find a list of producers, information on the new Wine Road for Prosecco and the Wines of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Hills, and the region. Given that this is an official publication, don't expect inspiring writing, just the facts.
But if you want to visit the landscape where Prosecco is produced or learn more about this Italian sparkling wine, the Consortium’s website is as good a place to start as any—if you read Italian, English, German or, now, Chinese.