For a wine to be labelled Prosecco the grapes must come from the Italian region of Prosecco. Picture: Supplied
If all that bubbles isn't Champagne, then it might just be Prosecco.

Easy to drink and easy on the pocket, the Prosecco movement is making strides in the sparkling wine industry.

Prosecco has become increasingly popular around the world and locally, with sales in South Africa up by 24 percent adding to the 325 bottles sold globally every year.

It's taken the world by storm and becoming the bubbly of choice for many drinkers, often replacing the pricey Champagne on offer.

Just like Champagne is protected by the French rules of Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), so does Italy’s Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di origine controllata garantita (DOCG) regulations that dictate which sparkling wines qualify as Prosecco.

For a wine to be labelled Prosecco the grapes must come from the Italian region of Prosecco.

Described as a crisper, lighter drink than Champagne — Prosecco has become the front runner in the battle of the bubbles.

Much of its success is owed to the cheaper price tag and versatility. It’s also less formal than Champagne which makes it accessible and more appealing to wine lovers - especially millenials.

Alex Valenti, managing director of Prosecco SA says: “Prosecco is not stiff or formal. It’s about family, life, love and celebrations. And in all of those things, you should have a bottle of Prosecco in the middle… it’s a drink for Life Lovers.”

The “Italian Charmant” method used to produce Prosecco involves fermentation in steel tanks while the French “methode Champenoise” used to make champagne requires fermentation in the bottle for a minimum of 15 months.

A glass of Prosecco contains only about 80 calories, while a glass of wine contains about 220 calories.

Prosecco is not a sweet wine, the bubbles are more delicate than Champagne and its made to be drunk fresh, unlike Champagne which usually improves with bottle maturation.

There are four categories that indicate the sugar content of the wine, with Brut being the driest, moving through Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec being the sweetest.

Its versatility makes Proseccos fit for any occasion. It can be mixed into a bellini or a fruit punch and can also be paired with various dishes.
Prosecco makes a versatile base for cocktails
Brut, with its subtle notes of honey, black liquorice and acacia blossom perfectly compliments salty Italian canapes like prosciutto, stuffed mushrooms and focaccia.

Meanwhile the Extra Drys enhances the flavour in heavier dishes like mussels in a creamy sauce as well as seafoods with more subtle flavours, like sushi.

Prosecco can also be paired with desserts like fresh fruits or a lemon tart.

If you are new to Prosecco Valenti suggests an Extra Dry with subtle notes of pear and apple.

“It’s an approachable, fruity sparkling wine that offers excellent value and caters to everyone’s tastes,” says Valenti.

Other acclaimed Prosecco's available in South also include Mionetto, Kosher Extra Dry Prosecco by Val Do’Oco. and the low-sugar Skinny Prosecco made from organic grapes from Thomson & Scott Limited.

The next time you're in the mood for a cocktail or looking to discover the flavours of a Italian wine, start your journey with a glass of Prosecco.