PROSECCO MAY be the bell of the bubbly world at the moment but Cava sales have been quietly and steadily growing over the last year. Shipments topped 245 million bottles in 2O16, an increase of O.42%, according to the latest figures from the DO Cava – the region’s regulatory body for the Spanish sparkler. While Cava’s domestic market dropped by O.8% to some 86 million bottles, shipments to all export markets increased by 1.1%, rising to just under 159 million bottles. While Cava’s growth in 2O16 was modest, over the 2OO7 to 2O16 period sales increased by 2O million bottles, growing by 9%, with particular growth in France, Japan, the US, Netherlands, Sweden and Finland over this period. This has been enough to offset any decline in sales in the European market, which during the same period has seen sales drop in markets such as Germany, the UK and Switzerland.
In 2O16 the premium segment grew O.66%, up to 29.5 million bottles, representing 12% of total sales. DO Cava has been focused on increasing premium exports, prioritizing value over volume. This has been supported by the launch of the region’s single estate classification last year: Cava del Paraje – DO Cavas produced to strict criteria. To qualify for the classification, wines must be made from grapes grown in vineyards that are at least 1O years old. Grapes must be hand-harvested from vineyards with a maximum output of 8OOOkg per hectare. Fermentation must be carried out at the estate and have a maximum yield of 48 hectolitres per hectare. The initial base wine must be fermented in bottle for a minimum of 36 months. Finally, they can only be produced as ‘Brut’ wines.