For years, the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC has been fighting an uncompromising battle to protect and raise awareness among consumers, especially foreign ones, educating them so that they can recognise so-called “fakes”.

The last campaign promoted abroad was in December 2023, and one in particular caused quite a stir.

This was a structured and impressive campaign that included the London Underground, where 880 posters were put up.

The disruptive claim “This is not Prosecco” was chosen to counter the sale of Prosecco imitations, some even consisting of generic sparkling alcoholic beverages available on tap.

The poster also clearly states “if it’s an ordinary sparkling wine, don’t call it Prosecco”.

The importance of protecting the Prosecco DOC

The Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC has been very active for years in protecting its DOC in many ways.

We still remember the battle of great media resonance against the traditional name PROSEK, which we also covered in a previous article. A precedent we hope to see no more of, thanks in part to the issuance, expected soon, of the new regulations introducing the new unified and comprehensive system of GIs (Geographical Indications), which protects the names of wines, spirits and agricultural products endowed with characteristics, attributes, or reputation linked to the place of production.

One of the rules of the new EU Regulation on PDOs and PGIs is believed to be the elimination of loopholes such as those that gave rise to the cases such as those of Slovenian or Cypriot balsamic vinegar, and Prosek.

The fight against Italian-sounding products, waged by our MEPs, should facilitate the protection of PDOs and PGIs for the future, thanks to some approved amendments to the text of the new regulation, although, of course, it will have no effect on ongoing cases.

And so it is that the strength and foresight of the different Consortia can also be measured in the activity of protecting Intellectual Property, of which geographical indications are a part.

In fact, the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC has numerous ongoing European and international objections against trademarks that are “evocative” of its DOC .

In an increasingly interconnected society, such activity must be well coordinated with advertising activity.

That is why, between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC developed a major cross-media communication campaign in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, in which the famous wine was featured in commercials on major national TV networks, radio stations, and social media.

“The communication campaign launched in the UK in December 2023 was designed and implemented to protect the consumer. It is important to know that Prosecco can only be sold in bottles and that selling wines called Prosecco on tap is a fraudulent act” – these are the words reported in Wine News by Stefano Zanette, President of the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC – “The Protection Office works daily, in collaboration with local authorities, to fight the ongoing phenomena of inappropriately using the term “Prosecco” to sell sparkling wines. The Consortium’s commitment, considering the growing severity of the problem in the United Kingdom, will be evermore determined over the next few months, to guarantee British consumers that when they order Prosecco, Prosecco DOC is served”.

If non-Italian consumers confuse prosecco with a basic sparkling wine – even worse one that is served on tap – it is clear that there is a need to educate and inform the relevant consumers.

This type of lack of knowledge and sensitivity is certainly known to all of us Industrial and Intellectual Property Consultants, who work daily to protect the rights of the PDOs and PGIs of the Consortia we assist, against cases of evocation and exploitation of the renown of Italian geographical indications.

Unsurprisingly, there are many consumers in the European Union who lack awareness of the distinctiveness and exclusivity of products recognised as geographical indications, while less surprising are cases outside the EU, where this type of protection is more complex to safeguard.

Although privately-initiated protection strategies, added to various international agreements, can provide adequate protection on paper, we are often met with blindness on the part of local offices.

We continue to work, therefore, so that the synergistic activities of the Consortia and national authorities can be increasingly effective in improving the situation on the international scene.