Everyone panic: Prosecco's popularity could be its downfall as shortages loom

Francesca Washtell
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Last year Prosecco overtook Champagne to become Britons' favourite sparkling tipple (Source: Getty)

There's no easy way to say this, but the UK's love of Prosecco could be its very downfall.

Britons consumed eight times as much of the bubbly Italian wine last year as they did in 2012, quaffing back a total 40m litres, according to figures released by The Grocer.

The UK Prosecco market was valued to be worth more than £330m in 2015, up 72 per cent on the previous year. For almost a year Britons have been spending more on Prosecco than our other favourite fizzy tipple, Champagne.

But, as Prosecco is made in a geographically limited area in Italy, its popularity could also lead to shortages in the near future.

Spanish, French and German offerings are looking more attractive to supermarkets in the rush to cater for sparkling wine demand, Richard Thorburn, commercial manager at wine merchant Lanchester Wines, told The Grocer.

English sparkling wine is expected to have its heyday too. British sparkling wines had their best ever year in 2015, with sales increasing by up to 300 per cent at Christmas, according to data released by French Champagne market Taittinger, which announced plans in December to produce English sparkling wine after it snapped up land in Kent.

However, this isn't the first time we've had to sit down and take a few deep breaths over a Prosecco shortage scare - a warning, which thankfully didn't come to pass, was released last May that poor grape harvests could have affected supply over the summer by up to 50 per cent.

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