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Meet the Brit making waves in the prosecco market

Ed Smith, founder of British prosecco brand The Emissary, talks about how he got into the sparkling wine business and where sees the industry going.

Ed Smith The Emissary

Where did your interest in wines start?

I've been interested in wines from an early age. Both my parents are wine lovers and it passed down to me.

What do you find particularly fascinating about prosecco?

After visiting Venice in my late teens and first tasting prosecco, I realised there was something really special and unique about it. The light, refreshing taste seemed to encapsulate the spirit of Venice. Since I have been in the industry, I think this spirit sadly has been largely lost with the mass production of prosecco.

Where do you see the UK market for prosecco going and how does a brand such as The Emissary fit into that?

The UK is still the leading market for prosecco - it is growing and is still a massive market here. However, I think people are becoming more discerning about what they drink and consume in general, with provenance and sustainability of products becoming a key issue. This is very much the case with prosecco - people are turning more towards premium products that have a story and deliver consistent quality, and The Emissary is at the forefront of this.

You've spoken of a lack of distinctive brand labelling in the prosecco market - why do you think this is the case?

I think, because it has become a mass-produced commodity, the key driver for volumes was the price. So 'stack it high, sell it cheap' became the main focus for many producers. Investing in branding and expensive labels obviously didn't correspond with this.

What's on the horizon for The Emissary?

We are exploring export markets. Many European and US markets are seeing large growth to hopefully catch up with the UK, so we are trying to make sure we're a part of that. Whilst it's exciting for the category to see increased demand for prosecco production, The Emissary vineyard has been a small family-run venture for generations, so they want to keep the focus on the craft, passion and authenticity that has made it the boutique success that it is today.

The Emissary is a British prosecco brand whose range includes Treviso Spumante Extra-Brut, Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut, and Prosecco DOC Rosé Treviso Millesimato 2020. It harvests glera and pinot noir grapes for its products from a vineyard in Treviso, Italy.

18 December 2020