The Hidden Cost Of Our Thirst For Prosecco
The Debrief: Perhaps we have overdone it a bit. Maybe we did get a bit carried away. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Prosecco, prosecco everywhere. How much of it can you drink? For years now prosecco has been our tipple of choice. It’s cheaper than champagne, less sickly than cava, lighter than white wine and, somehow, less likely to turn you into a white wine witch.
Christmas was once synonymous with champagne but since the recession it’s been prosecco season. The Italian bubbly gives you the feeling of being simultaneously exec and democratic; the cork popping is highly instagrammable and its affordable (if you’re in the know you can get a bottle for under a fiver from Lidl), it’s the perfect drink for millennials who spend over half of their income, after tax, on rent but still want to feel fancy.
Today The Times pointed out that our endless thirst for prosecco and desire to attend bottomless brunches comes at a price. According to them, Britons drank their way through 86 million bottles of prosecco in 2015. That was almost double the amount of 2014 and twice as much as the US consumed. By their calculations that makes Britain by far the largest prosecco market. We buy one in every five bottles produced of the stuff, which explains why Boris Johnson tried in earnest to put the drink at the centre of his Brexit strategy.
But, what is the real cost of our love affair with prosecco? According to The Times demand for the drink is now so high that ‘bulldozers are clawing everything into their maws: trees, hedges, rolling hills, dipping gullies and hidden pastures’. All of this is being churned up and ‘flattened to make way for row after row of the magic grape. From the Slovenian border to the shores of Venice, swathes of eternal Italy are being sacrificed to the transient profits of prosecco.’
Indeed, it’s not only postcard perfect landscapes that are being damaged to keep our glasses full. In 2014 several news outlets reported that prosecco vineyards were partly to blame for deadly flash floods sweeping the Treviso region.
Perhaps we have overdone it a bit. Maybe we did get a bit carried away. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Brexit is probably going to put the cost of prosecco up so its days as the people’s champagne might be numbered anyway.
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