In 2013, Prosecco outsold champagne by 307 million bottles to 304 million bottles, according to OVSE - the Italian sparkling wine observatory.
I have a love of things with bubbles - I prefer sparkling water to still, a bubble lemonade to a still, and above all I love the feel of bubbles on my tongue when imbibing wine.
Champagne is my favourite - I love the dryness - and I particularly love a vintage Veuve Cliquot, although I have been disturbed by pictures of z-list celebrities brandishing the distinctive orange label whilst in various tacky poses (be warned Veuve Cliquot - this could be your Burberry moment).
Lack of funds and a tendency to 'drink local' has meant that my favourite tipple has been left on the off-licence shelf for far too long. I have, however, found alternatives that, whilst they do not match my fondness for the particular dryness of champagne, have been very pleasant replacements.
Whilst in Spain I found very (and I mean very) reasonably priced Cava, that was also exceedingly quaffable, with the Extra Brut versions almost achieving my sought after taste. Cava saw its sales drop in 2013 to 241.3 million bottles, which is a shame as it is just as good as Prosecco.
Prosecco, until a few years ago, was little heard of outside the north-east of Italy where it is produced. Its rise is nothing short of incredible. Perhaps there is something more romantic about Italy than Spain, and more than likely a more impressive marketing campaign, which has seen Prosecco sales outstrip Cava, and overtake Champagne.
The economic climate will certainly have helped Prosecco sales, and by the same token should have helped the sales of Cava, but it was not to be (there is also the question of a boycott of Catalan Cava sales within Spain - the internal market has taken a nosedive). What is refreshing (apart from the taste) is that a good sparkling wine is no longer out of the reach of most wallets.
That is especially good for people like me who do not believe that bubbles are the reserve of celebratory events, but a very pleasurable way to start the evening. Long live the aperitivo!
P.S. - Instead of still wine, add Prosecco (or Cava if in Spain) to your risotto. It makes a risotto even better.