Why prosecco and not cava?

The practical difference between the two is that while prosecco is fermented in tanks, cava is fermented in the bottle, accounting for its superior quality

ANDREW J. LINN

The world will soon be awash with prosecco. Officially a wine, it ticks only two out of many boxes: it is cheap to buy and pleasant to drink.

That does not stop the usual suspects asking why Spanish cava cannot do what prosecco has done? After all, it is a low-cost bubbly that is easy to make in almost unlimited quantities.

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The practical difference between the two is that while prosecco is fermented in tanks, cava is fermented in the bottle, accounting for its superior quality.

Cost to the environment

The environmental costs relating to prosecco are higher. In areas of Italy the vines take precedence over practically everything else that grows.

Centenarian olive groves have been uprooted to plant vines, even in key areas like Treviso that have been nominated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Thousands of beautiful cypresses have been felled and water sources have been polluted by pesticides.

And while those who make prosecco walk away with huge profits, those who live in the region, and suffer the environmental consequences, don't benefit.

In the decade up to 2020 most of Italy's agricultural grants went to the prosecco lobby.

Recently approval was given for another 6,000 hectares to be given over to its production.

Why has Spain's cava not achieved the sales growth of prosecco over the last decade? Is it the same old story, like the one about Italians buying Spanish olive oil and selling it to the world as Italian because Spanish producers are no good at marketing?

No, it is because rape of the countryside is not on cava-makers' agenda.