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Finance Here's what the terms DOC and DOCG mean on your prosecco bottle — and how to spot a fake

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It's summertime and the bubbles should be well and truly flowing. Counterfeit fizz, however, is reportedly on the rise. So that you can rest assured that yours is the real deal, here's how to spot a fake.

Contrary to what you might think, prosecco experts don't recommend you use a regular champagne flute. play

Contrary to what you might think, prosecco experts don't recommend you use a regular champagne flute.

(Shutterstock/Maurese)

  • Conterfeit fizz is reportedly on the rise.
  • There are certain markers on a bottle that will tell you whether it's a certified prosecco DOC or DOCG.
  • Read on to learn the difference between the two.


It's summertime and the fizz should be well and truly flowing.

While crémant and English sparkling wine are steadily gaining popularity among those who don't have the spare cash to invest in champers, our old friend prosecco is still mighty popular.

Counterfeit fizz, however, is reportedly on the rise. So that you can rest assured that your bubbles are the real deal, it's worth knowing how to spot a fake.

And have you ever wondered what the terms "DOC" and "DOCG" refer to?

Business Insider spoke to Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, the fashion executive husband of Jessica Chastain, who also owns his own premium prosecco brand Fiol.

Prosecco is made in certain territories in north-east Italy, using mainly "glera" grapes, although other varieties such as chardonnay and pinot grigio can also be mixed in.

Passi de Preposulo told us that back in 2009, when the prosecco boom began following the financial crisis, around 20% of bottles were fake.

DOC vs. DOCG

That year a consortium of producers made efforts to regulate the industry and created two classification labels, DOC and DOCG, that could confirm a bottle's status.

DOC means designation of controlled origin, while DOCG means designation of controlled origin and guaranteed.

The latter is more stringent. The production area of DOCG is limited to the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area, a hilly area in north-east Italy 50km from Venice, where the prosecco produced is considered "superior." DOCG guidelines also stipulate that government representatives taste the prosecco before it is bottled.

The rolling lush hills of Valdobbiadene are pictured below.

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(Shutterstock/FranciscoMarques)

Meanwhile, production of prosecco DOC falls within four provinces of Friuli Venezia Giulia — Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste, and Udine — and five in Veneto — Belluno, Padua, Treviso, Venice, and Vicenza.

You can see an illustration of the "quality pyramid" here.

Spotting a fake

According to the prosecco DOC's online guidelines, there are a few markers that will help you to detect whether you have a real bottle of prosecco on your hands.

Firstly, look out for a unique alphanumeric code and data matrix on the bottle collar.

Meanwhile, on the back of the bottle the label should read "Prosecco DOC" and "Product of Italy."

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(Shutterstock/Maurese)

Don't drink it from a regular flute

To make your experience even more authentic, it may come as a surprise that regular champagne flutes are not recommended by the prosecco experts in the know. Passi de Preposulo suggests that you enjoy prosecco in a tulip-shaped glass to make the most of the "mineralogy and bouquet."