Monday, 18 December 2023 15:25

Lindauer Prosecco - an Italian partnership

Written by  Stephanie McIntyre
Jane de Witt Jane de Witt

“When you look at the sparkling wine sector, Prosecco has been a clear leader for growth,” says Lindauer Prosecco winemaker Jane De Witt.

Lion, which owns Lindauer, was eager to tap into that opportunity. But while New Zealand could grow Glera (the grape variety known as Prosecco until 2009), the company was hesitant to sell a Prosecco made outside Italy, or beyond the stringent regulations of the Prosecco designation of controlled origin (DOC). So Jane did tastings from Australia and Italy, to “understand what was possible”, then went to Italy in 2020 to meet with the Zonin team in Gambellara and discuss the idea of making a Prosecco together.

“Zonin was a year shy of celebrating its 200th Anniversary and I was eager to learn from them. I looked around vineyards, the winery, and the bottling hall; ensuring processes were in place to meet Lion standards. I also looked through their museum – such amazing history captured with Italian pizazz. I discovered what styles of wine could be produced and blended our first Lindauer Prosecco.” The Covid-19 pandemic put the project on hold, but a year later Jane read an article on rosé Prosecco and her enthusiasm was reignited, with Lindauer’s first Prosecco released in New Zealand in 2021.

Prosecco was granted DOC status in July 2009, but its legal regulations have evolved over hundreds of years, with very precise intentions. “The Prosecco DOC is quite prescriptive,” Jane explains. “It’s not like winemaking in New Zealand, where we have much more of a free hand, and I chuckle to think the rebellion that would occur if these types of regulations were put in place here.” There are controls to cover most aspects of Prosecco, including designated areas where grapes are sourced, harvest tonnes, production, ageing, alcohol level, titratable acidity, and packaging, among others. “Our collaboration with Zonin works very well,” she adds. “They are experts of their DOC and I greatly respect that. They in turn respect my desire to provide specifications throughout the winemaking process and to have full control over the blending decisions.”

The Lindauer Prosecco D.O.C and Prosecco D.O.C Rosé are produced using the Charmat method, where second fermentation occurs in the tank before being transferred to bottle. Both wines are made with Italian fruit, with the Prosecco D.O.C exclusively Glera and the rosé incorporating 15% Pinot Noir. Once the Lindauer blend is assembled, Zonin sends Jane samples with composition and analysis details for approval. “Following sparkling fermentation, they again send me samples with a ‘wine declaration’. And, at time of bottling, I get sent another set of samples with the finished analysis and composition/additives for final approval.”

It’s been an encouraging first two years of sales, she says. “Both Proseccos are receiving excellent consumer feedback and selling out ahead of schedule. We couldn’t ask for more.”

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