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Colfondo trademark owner Drusian says he will give the designation to Prosecco consortia

“Colfondo” trademark owner Francesco Drusian appears poised to give the designation to the Prosecco DOCG consortia, according to a report published today by the popular Italian wine blog Intravino.

“After twelve years,” writes Intravino contributor Giovanni Corazzol, “Drusian has expressed his willingness to give the trademark to the two consortia [Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Montello-Colli Asolani]. The consortia will safeguard the trademark and they will incorporate the production method into their appellation regulations. By doing so, they will bring clarity to a field threatened by low-quality products that have been created using illicit means, often outside the DOCG area and often with different grapes.”

At present, the Prosecco DOCG (which applies to both consortia) recognizes and allows for Prosecco re-fermented in bottle as a sanctioned category. But the appellation regulations do not mention nor regulate the designation colfondo.

News of Drusian’s willingness to share the trademark arrived during a Prosecco producers conference organized in Valdobbiadene township last week by Turin university wine law professor Michele Antonio Fino.

Today, the editors of Intravino also shared Fino’s slides, including the following, which addresses the issue of how the term colfondo is used liberally by winemakers and even beer and wine-cooler producers outside of the Prosecco DOCG where it originated.

The Franciacorta designation Satén, created by the Bellavista winery and then given to the appellation’s consortium, offers a precedent, writes Fino.

    - Today, two companies own the trademark colfondo (Drusian and Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene SAC).
    – There already exists a tested model that could serve as inspiration: the term Satén (created by a winery [Bellavista, trademarked in 1990] and then given to the Franciacorta consortium with the understanding that the appellation would guarantee its oversight and regulate production of Satén wines)….
    – Today, the colfondo trademark is under insidious attack and is being demeaned unscrupulously. It’s being liberally and widely used in a wide range of categories (that often don’t have anything to do with the production of Prosecco DOCGG).
    – Of the two private parties who own the trademark, only one currently produces the wine [Drusian].
    – The protection of such a beleaguered trademark by private individuals would be particularly complex and costly.
    – Were it to become a officially recognized production category, efforts to protect it would be expedited.

With characteristic hyperbole, the editors of Intravino have called the move by Drusian an “epochal shift” and “Prosecco colfondo year zero” (making reference to the 1948 Rossellini neorealist film “Germany Year Zero”).

But as interest and enthusiasm for Prosecco colfondo continue to expand unchecked in Italy, the consortia’s embrace of the category would represent a major victory for colfondo proponents.

On his Facebook today, Bele Casel grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro called it “the beginning of a revolution.”

Translations by Bele Casel blogmaster Jeremy Parzen.

best glass for prosecco

Bele Casel in Beverly Hills @PizzeriailFico where Italian is spoken

john tierney fico los angeles

Above: Italian is spoken here. Il Fico co-owner studied Italian language, literature, and culture at Stanford University.

We had read the rave reviews of Pizzeria Il Fico in Los Angeles and its Pugliese-centric menu.

We had heard that its authentic-style pizza was among the best in Los Angeles, a metropolis that seems to have more Neapolitan pizza ovens than Naples.

But it wasn’t until we visited a few months ago that we learned that co-owner and wine director John Tierney not only lives and breathes great Italian food but he also was a student of Italian at Stanford University before getting into the restaurant trade.

It’s no wonder that this chic restaurant on the edge of Beverly Hills feels like it could be in Lecce or Milan.

And that’s just one of the reasons we are extremely proud to share the news that Pizzeria Il Fico now serves Bele Casel Prosecco Brut by the glass.

Pizzeria il Fico
310 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 271-3426
Google map

Prosecco diaries: June 2014 – giugno 2014

Ancora molto lavoro in vigna per sistemare vigne e cercare di proteggerle dalle infezioni funginee.

In June, again, we spent a lot of time working in the vineyards to fix up the plants and protect them from fungal infections.

Segare l’erba nelle vigne di Monfumo è particolarmente complicato e per riuscire a fare un bel lavoro serve forza, precisione e un poca di esperienza.

Cutting the grass in our Monfumo vineyard is very complicated. To do it right, it takes a lot of effort, precision, and a little bit of experience.

video mowing the grass

5 giugno – primo passaggio per tagliare i tralci di troppo che creerebbero umidità attorno ai grappoli.

June 5 – we made our first pass through the vineyards to prune excess canes. By doing so, we reduce the humidity around the bunches.

flowers vineyard italy

10 giugno – abbiamo controllato tutte le vigne, risultato?

PERONOSPORA inesistente
BOTRITE ha creato qualche rarissimo problema nelle zone più basse
OIDIO primi sintomi su qualche erba mi da da pensare. Nei prossimi giorni faremo un trattamento con zolfo polverulento.
CARENZE di magnesio e potassio in una singola vigna, domani tratteremo con micro-elementi.

Credo che con altri 2 interventi chiuderemo l’annata.

Purtroppo i 2 trattamenti diventeranno probabilmente 4 a causa di piogge intense e ripetute.

June 10 – we made a survey of all the vines. The results follow.

BOTRYTIS has created a few problems in the lowest-lying vineyards.
OIDIUM early symptoms on some of the grass worries me. I plan to treat the areas with powdered sulfur in upcoming days.
DEFICIENCIES of magnesium and potassium in just one vine. Tomorrow I’ll treat it with micronutrients.

I hope that I won’t have to make more than two treatments before harvest.

Unfortunately, those two treatments will probably become four treatments because of the repeated and intense rainfall.

19 giugno – ecco come sono messi i grappoli di Glera.

June 19 – this photo shows the condition of the Glera grapes.

prosecco grapes

Questo invece un grappolo di bianchetta.

Here’s a photo of a Bianchetta bunch.

bianchetta grapes

27 giugno – durante un trattamento notturno il trattore ha deciso di rompersi. abbiamo passato tutta la mattina successiva dal meccanico.

June 27 – during a nighttime treatment, the tractor decided to break down. We had to spend the entire next morning at the mechanic.

vineyard tractor

28 giugno – cena in trattore.

June 28 – dinner on the tractor.

sandwich winemaker recipe

E lavoro fino a tarda notte per recuperare il tempo perso.

We had to work late into the night to make up for lost time.

grape grower hard work

—Luca Ferraro
vignaiolo (grape grower/winemaker)

@SettembreMag, @JacopoCossater’s new English-language magazine devoted to Italian wine

There’s just one week left in Jacopo Cossater’s crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo.

If it meets its goal, Jacopo — one of Italy’s most respected wine writers and experts — intends to use the funds to launch Settembre, a new English-language magazine devoted to the wines of Italy.

“A magazine with contributions by great photographers and great authors,” writes Jacopo, “printed on the best paper, which will not only list wines and their ratings but also will attempt to tell you everything that is hidden behind a great bottle of wine. It is a journey to discover all the best that Italy’s wines can offer including photos, interviews, stories, and wine tastings. It is both a magazine to browse on the sofa at home and a guide to take with you on your next trip to Italy.”

Especially with the demise of the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana (which stopped publication in late 2013), there are few English-language resources today devoted exclusively to Italian wine.

Here at Bele Casel, we welcome Jacopo’s initiative and hope that you will support it as well.

Please click here to learn more and to donate.

italian wine magazine

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all of our friends in the U.S.A.!

We hope you enjoy the holiday and long weekend!

And in case you’re thirsty, we know that a bottle of Bele Casel Colfòndo is a great pairing for all the traditional Fourth of July foods!

—Ferraro Family

“We must work to build awareness of the Prosecco DOCG.”—Matteo Lunelli

prosecco docg

Above: The Prosecco DOCG growing zone is renowned for its distinctive Morainic hills, with their steep slopes and stony and sandy subsoils. The DOC lies in the plane in the distance. See the DOCG/DOC map below.

“Unfortunately, the uniqueness of the Prosecco DOCG has gone unrecognized and there are just a few brands that consumers identify with it and that they ask for by name. When Prosecco is perceived as a generic wine — ‘unbranded’ as they say in English — it focuses the competition solely on price. As a result, the value of the product is put at risk. We must work to build awareness of the Prosecco DOCG.”

Matteo Lunelli
Cantine Ferrari

In April 2014, Cantine Ferrari — Trentino’s premier producer of sparkling wine — acquired a 50 percent stake in the historic Prosecco house Bisol. The statement above was published last week as part of an interview on the Mille Bolle Blog (translation mine).

When Bele Casel grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro posted the above excerpt on his Facebook yesterday, a lively discussion ensued.

Luca and his family represent but a sliver of the wine produced in the Prosecco DOCG. But when it comes to the appellation’s current branding crisis, he faces the same issues as Matteo Lunelli, a major player in the Italian wine industry and a 50-percent stakeholder in one of the Prosecco DOCG’s largest wineries, Bisol.

When the Prosecco consortium created the Prosecco DOCG in 2009 and enlarged the Prosecco DOC to cover a wide expanse of flatlands in the Veneto and Friuli (see map below), some believed that the move would help to protect DOCG growers and bottlers because it would help consumers differentiate between the two tiers of production.

According to the logic of the moment, the small and exclusive DOCG — Valdobbiadene, Conegliano, and Asolo — would ultimately denote superior quality in the minds of consumers while the DOC would be identified with a lesser appellation.

Five years later, the ugly truth is that foreign consumers do not understand the quality difference and DOCG producers are struggling with sales while Prosecco DOC — sourced at lower cost — continues to surge.

prosecco doc docg map asolo

Above: Valdobbiadene, Conegliano, and Asolo are the three historic townships of Prosecco. Today, it’s increasingly challenging for Prosecco DOCG growers to compete with the DOC growers and bottlers in the planes of the Veneto and Friuli, where growing costs are significantly lower.

As an observer of the Italian wine trade and a consumer, I see evidence of this in nearly every segment of the industry.

When visiting wine shops, consumers are baffled by the disparity in prices.

This morning, a U.S.-based search for Prosecco on delivered 465 results, with prices ranging from $8 to nearly $50.

Because of the way that the Prosecco brand was originally positioned in the U.S. market — as a lower-tier sparkling wine — wine shoppers are unlikely to have any experience with the higher priced bottles.

And the same thing occurs with restaurant buyers. Why, they ask, should they pay more for a Prosecco DOCG when the vast majority of guests will not recognize the higher quality DOCG or its brands?

The genie is already out of the bottle and there’s no turning back.

The only way to combat this misrepresentation and misperception of Prosecco and to protect Prosecco’s top producers is to raise awareness of the Prosecco DOCG (one of the few instances within the DOC/DOCG system where the DOCG does actually denote a higher quality wine).

Jeremy Parzen

See also this post by Italian wine trade veteran Alfonso Cevola.

Prosecco diaries: May 2014 – maggio 2014

Maggio 2014 lo ricorderemo per una fioritura molto anticipata.

We will remember May 2014 for the very early flowering in the vineyards.

1 maggio – unico giorno utile per fare i trattamenti, addio Festa dei Lavoratori.

May 1 – This was the only day that we could spray the vineyards. And so no May Day celebration for us.

may day italy

9 maggio – ho deciso di sfasciare l’erba senza usare il trattore. Sapete che vi dico? Se avessi la possibilità lo farei su tutti e 12 i nostri ettari. Camminare avanti e indietro tra i filari guardandoti attorno é come fare meditazione zen (clicca qui per il video).

May 9 – I decided to mow the grass without using a tractor. Let me tell you: if it were possible, I would do this for all 12 of our hectares. Walking back and forth through the rows and soaking in the sights around you is like Zen meditation (click here for the video).

14 maggio – i grappoli stanno cominciando a prepararsi alla fioritura , uno spettacolo della natura.

May 14 – The clusters began to flower, one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles.

flowering vineyards grape
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