From Grapes to Bubbles: How Prosecco Is Made

by Kaia

Prosecco, the sparkling Italian wine known for its effervescence and vibrant flavors, has captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts worldwide. But have you ever wondered how this delightful bubbly is crafted? In this article, we’ll take you through the fascinating journey of how prosecco is made, from the vineyards to your glass.


1. Grape Cultivation

The journey of prosecco begins in the vineyards of northeastern Italy, primarily in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions. The primary grape varieties used for making prosecco are Glera, with small additions of other permitted grapes like Verdiso, Bianchetta, and Perera. The grapes are carefully cultivated to achieve optimal ripeness, typically harvested between late August and early October.


2. Gentle Grape Pressing

After harvest, the grapes undergo a gentle pressing to extract their juice while minimizing contact with the skins. The resulting juice is known as “must” and is typically pale in color.


3. Primary Fermentation

The must is then transferred to temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for primary fermentation. During this phase, yeast converts the sugars in the must into alcohol, creating still wine with relatively low alcohol content.


4. Blending and Secondary Fermentation

Prosecco’s signature effervescence is achieved through a secondary fermentation. Unlike traditional Champagne, where the secondary fermentation occurs in individual bottles (the “Méthode Champenoise”), prosecco often undergoes secondary fermentation in pressurized stainless steel tanks (the “Charmat” method). Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine, which creates carbon dioxide and bubbles. This process typically takes about one month.

5. Clarification and Filtration

After the secondary fermentation, the prosecco is clarified and filtered to remove any remaining yeast and particles. This helps achieve the wine’s clarity and brilliance.

6. Adjusting Sugar Levels

Prosecco can be made in various styles, ranging from “Brut” (very dry) to “Demi-Sec” (semi-sweet). Winemakers adjust the sugar levels by adding a “dosage” mixture before sealing the bottles. The dosage determines the wine’s sweetness.

7. Bottling and Aging

The wine is then bottled and sealed with a crown cap to maintain its effervescence. Prosecco is typically aged for a short period, around three to six months, to develop its flavors and aromas.

8. Labeling and Packaging

Once the aging process is complete, the bottles are labeled and packaged for distribution. The labels indicate the type of prosecco (e.g., Prosecco DOC, Prosecco Superiore DOCG), the producer, and the style (e.g., Brut, Extra Dry).

9. Enjoying Prosecco

Prosecco is best enjoyed chilled, typically served at around 45-50°F (7-10°C). Its vibrant bubbles and fresh, fruity flavors make it a versatile wine that can be sipped on its own or paired with various dishes, making it a popular choice for celebrations and everyday enjoyment.


The journey of prosecco, from the vineyards to your glass, involves meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each step in the production process contributes to the wine’s delightful effervescence and unique character. The next time you savor a glass of prosecco, you can appreciate the artistry and tradition that go into creating this beloved Italian sparkling wine.

FAQs about how prosecco is made:

Q1: What is the primary grape variety used in the production of prosecco?

A1: The primary grape variety used for making prosecco is Glera. Small quantities of other permitted grape varieties like Verdiso, Bianchetta, and Perera may also be used in some prosecco wines.

Q2: How does the “Charmat” method differ from the “Méthode Champenoise” used in Champagne production?

A2: The “Charmat” method, used for prosecco, involves conducting the secondary fermentation in pressurized stainless steel tanks, while the “Méthode Champenoise” used in Champagne production involves fermenting in individual bottles. The Charmat method is a faster and more cost-effective way to produce sparkling wine.

Q3: What are the main styles of prosecco in terms of sweetness levels?

A3: Prosecco is made in various styles, including “Brut” (very dry), “Extra Dry” (slightly sweet), and “Demi-Sec” (semi-sweet). The sweetness levels are adjusted by adding a sugar “dosage” before sealing the bottles.

Q4: Are there specific regions in Italy where prosecco is primarily produced?

A4: Yes, the primary regions for prosecco production are Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy. These regions have ideal terroirs for growing the Glera grapes used in prosecco.

Q5: Can prosecco age like other wines, or is it meant to be consumed relatively young?

A5: Prosecco is generally meant to be consumed relatively young, within a few years of production. While some premium prosecco wines may benefit from short-term aging, the majority are best enjoyed when they are fresh and vibrant.

Q6: What are some common food pairings for prosecco?

A6: Prosecco pairs well with a variety of foods, including appetizers, seafood, salads, white meats, and light desserts. It’s a versatile wine that complements a wide range of dishes.

Q7: Is prosecco typically served as an aperitif or with meals?

A7: Prosecco is often served as an aperitif due to its refreshing and effervescent nature. However, it can also be enjoyed throughout a meal, especially with lighter courses.

Q8: Can I use prosecco as a substitute for Champagne in cocktails like mimosas or Bellinis?

A8: Yes, prosecco is commonly used in cocktails like mimosas and Bellinis. Its fruity and bubbly characteristics make it an excellent choice for mixing in cocktails.

Q9: Are there specific designations or quality levels for prosecco wines?

A9: Yes, there are designations such as Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) that indicate the origin and quality of prosecco. Prosecco Superiore DOCG represents a higher quality tier.

Q10: Can I visit prosecco-producing wineries in Italy for tours and tastings?

A10: Yes, many wineries in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to explore the beautiful vineyards and learn about the production process of prosecco.



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