Prosecco has taken the wine world – and our social lives – by storm in the last few years and is now a feature of many parties and occasions. However, we tend to think of it as a cheap Champagne rather than as a drink in its own right, which just isn’t fair!

To even things up a bit, here’s some interesting facts about this popular fizz.

There’s a town called Prosecco

Prosecco is a suburb of Trieste in Northern Italy. The name is actually from the Slovenian “prozek”, or “path through the woods”. Of course, Prosecco is produced in lots of other regions now, but this is where it all started.

It started a long time ago

Prosecco often uses the Glera grape, which the ancient Romans knew well. In fact, Pliny the Elder namechecks this wine in his Natural History. Take that, Zinfandel! Other grapes that can produce Prosecco include the Verdiso, Perera and even Chardonnay.

Prosecco isn’t made with the Champagne Method

It’s made by the charmat method, or the tank method. The already-fermented wine goes through its second fermentation in a steel tank, not the bottle. This means less contact with yeast sediment – although some wineries might allow controlled contact if they’re after a particular flavor.

The charmat method makes it cheaper

It’s faster and more efficient, therefore it’s less expensive than Champagne. Huzzah! This doesn’t mean it’s less complex, though, as steel tanks are in many ways cleaner, so lots of aromas and flavors can come through.

There’s a flat Prosecco

There’s three degrees of perlage – or bubbliness. Spumante is the fizziest, then frizzante, then tranquillo is the still one.

Prosecco was flat until the 19th century

Although the Romans were fond of it, as well as more recent Italian generations, Prosecco remained still until Antonio Carpenè sent a batch for a second fermentation. Then the legend was born, with the CarpenèMalvolti winery being the first to make fizzy Prosecco for widespread consumption.