If you imagine Prosecco in your mind, you think of cheerful bubbles and fruity flavors that tickle your tongue. It’s a happy, carefree drink that you don’t have to put too much thought or contemplation into. Due to its simple nature, Prosecco is also a staple for cocktails like the Bellini or a mimosa. It’s a little bit of luxury, that anyone can afford.
However, during the last few months the COVID19 virus outbreak has turned Italy, and the rest of the world, upside down. All nonessential businesses have been closed and Italians are to remain at home. Under strict orders, citizens may not leave their homes for any reason, except to visit the grocery store, talk a socially distant walk, or to seek medical care. Luckily, for Prosecco DOC producers, they’re considered essential.
Yes. Prosecco is essential, especially during these hard times. In fact, alcohol sales in the US have increased 55% more than prepandemic levels. In the spirit of keeping us engaged, Prosecco DOC coordinated a producer collective Zoom meeting to talk about the different producers and some of the things they have been up to. The meeting was joined by Mionetto, La Marca, Bottega Gold, Valdo, and Villa Santi DOC Proseccos.
The overall energy of the meeting was light and gleefully optimistic. I was instantly struck by their resilience. Despite all the hardships, the producers are carrying on business as usual. Mionetto has certain protection measures for its employeees who are still making sales calls: masks, gloves, and remote work schedules are now a part of their work week.
Prosecco mega producer La Marca was still manufacturing at an unprecedented rate. They also donated €50,000 to its local hospital in Treviso to help medical staff tackle the Covid-19 crisis. It’s gestures like this which really struck me.
Additionally, Producer Valdo has assured employees they will be cared for during the outbreak. In order to support its employees, Valdo will be paying out an extra €700 for the month of March and is providing an insurance policy to all employees that gives them sick pay for hospital admission and convalescence if in the event they contract COVID19, as well as post-recovery assistance for the following fourteen days.
Valdo Prosecco has also made as a donation in order to re-open an old Hospital located in Valdobbiadene at the heart of Prosecco DOCG territory. This occurred right at the beginning of the outbreak.
Villa Sandi stated during an interview “We are planning some strict safety protocols during harvest, especially on the hills of prosecco where all operation are by hands. Wineries need a COVID-19 manager… maintaining this status for the sector depends on all businesses ensuring that social distancing and hygiene protocols are in place to protect employees, contractors and other people that they need to deal with.”(Stefano Gava, Villa Sandi winemaker, Drinks Business May 2020).
Although the COVID19 crisis has put the breaks on bars, resturants, and tourism to Italy. The Italian DOC Prosecco producers know no bounds. Their resilience is inspiring, their generosity to local hospitals shows how they care for their local communities. When producers stand together, nothing can take them down, not even COVID 19.