Prošek and Prosecco feud continues

New feud between Croatia and Italy over prošek and prosecco wines

By Region Culture News North-east Italy

Croatia has once again applied to the European Commission for special recognition of its wine prošek. Italy blocked a first attempt in 2013, arguing the name prošek was too similar to prosecco.

Croatian winemakers agree the names sound similar. However, they argue consumers can tell the difference between the two.

What is prošek?

Made using dried grapes, prošek is a dessert wine. Prosecco is a sparkling white wine, also available as a rosé.

It originated in the Dalmatia region and the makers of prošek say it dates back more than 2,000 years.

Ivo Dubokovic, a wine producer on the Dalmatian island of Hvar was reported in The Guardian as saying: “if you ask a foreigner or English person, I’m sure that 99% of people would understand that they are two different words. As for the product, prošek is similar to vin santo and prosecco is similar to white wine with fizzy water.”

Prosecco must be defended

Prosecco has a long history too. But it wasn’t until the 1930s when Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia received recognition as Italy’s prosecco-producing areas. The DOC, however, wasn’t granted until 2009 for nine production areas. The superior DOGC, denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin, is for one area only in Veneto. As a result, the name prosecco can only be used if the Treviso-based consortium of prosecco producers authorise it.

The president of Veneto, Luca Zaia, said prosecco “must be defended at every level […] prosecco has its own identity that cannot be confused at all, and it is scandalous that Europe allows such procedures to be implemented.”

Il fruili news site quoted the outraged regional councillor for resources of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Stefano Zannier.

“The European Union does not think it can overturn the application of its own rules”, said Zannier. “The assignment to a Croatian white wine of the prošek appellation is in clear conflict with the Italian Prosecco DOP and with all Community regulations.

“I remember a few years ago Croatia already requested the recognition of the denomination. That was then rejected by Brussels as a clear plagiarism of our Prosecco. If the European Union intends to maintain a minimum of credibility with respect to widely shared rules, it should behave with consistency and blocks the request immediately”.

Confusion between the two?

As we’ve already highlighted, the two wines are completely different. One a darker dessert wine, the other a light sparkling wine.

Italy’s agricultural association Coldiretti, seem to believe the consumers are not as clever as the Croatians think they are. In a letter to European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, asking them to stop Croatia’s request, the association said: “The green light for Croatian prosecco would be an attack on the Made in Italy label and on our prosecco, which is the most exported wine in the world, but also the most imitated”.

Clearly of these wines, one is not an imitation of the other.

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