My name is Melissa Brauer and I’m known as the Prosecco Queen.
I first fell in love with Prosecco, the utterly delightful Italian sparkling wine made from the Prosecco grape (now known in Italy as ‘Glera’), in 2003 on a trip to Italy, where I discovered that its delicate acidity, soft bubbles and citrus/floral nose made it the perfect wine to drink at any time of the day or night.
Prosecco has been produced for centuries in the Veneto region, traditionally on the breathtakingly beautiful slopes of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, about 45 minutes from Venice. On steep hills, high above sea level and protected from fierce cold by the Dolomites, the grapes are lovingly picked by hand, and fermented at low temperature in stainless steel tanks to preserve their fresh crisp characteristics. The resulting wines bear the illustrious DOCG status (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) guaranteeing geographic authenticity and quality.
In 2010 we were back in Italy, and whilst in Venice, at Harry’s Bar – the birthplace of the iconic Prosecco cocktail, the Bellini – my husband proposed, fittingly, by dropping an engagement ring into the bottom of my Bellini for me to discover, linking us forever with Italy and Prosecco.
Closer to home, North East Victoria’s King Valley has been producing Prosecco for over 10 years, pioneered by Otto Dal Zotto , of Dal Zotto wines, who hails from Valdobbiadene himself , and together with Pizzini, Chrismont , Sam Miranda and Brown Brothers wineries have creating a stunning and delicious wine, food and tourism destination. Sharing the food and wine with those responsible for producing it has only increased our love and passion for the wine, and the region.
When I received a case of Prosecco from Brown Brothers addressed to ‘The Prosecco Queen’ back in January 2013 I knew I had found my calling. I have become well known for my love of Prosecco, visiting the King Valley regularly, and to date I’ve been crowned ‘The Prosecco Queen’ 3 times at the annual Dolce Vita Festival by Otto Dal Zotto himself. For years now I’ve been talking about Prosecco via my blog, on social media, and in local and overseas articles in the press. I’m also a contributing writer to Glass of Bubbly magazine.
Apart from enjoying Prosecco regularly (and responsibly of course) my mission has always been to promote awareness of the magic of Prosecco, spreading the word of its versatility and drinkability.
After a couple of decades in sales (including wine equipment), marketing and social media consulting, I’ve put my money where my wine glass is, and instead of just talking about Prosecco, I’m making a career talking about Prosecco. After all, as the saying goes ‘do what you love’.
The Prosecco Queen is a multi-faceted business, offering Prosecco master classes, dinners and other special events, as well as an online wine and merchandise store with a hand-picked selection of Italian and Australia Prosecco for you to try. If I wouldn’t drink it myself, I won’t ever sell it to you because life is too short to drink bad wine!
In September 2016 we travelled to Italy at harvest time to meet with more than 20 winemakers and learn about the winemaking process first hand, and to meet the families to whom Prosecco is everything. The nuances between vineyards that have only slight climatic and positional factors are clearly expressed in each wine, and meeting with the DOC and DOCG Consortium as well as visiting the Scuolo Enologica rounded out a fascinating research tour and gave me an even greater appreciation for what is possible when people truly care about quality over quantity.
I know I’m not alone in my love for Prosecco, so I hope you’ll join me for a glass or three! Salute!
Sales of Prosecco are bubbling over as the Italian sparkling wine replaces champagne as the drink for everyday celebrations and gatherings.
Prosecco is now outselling champagne in the UK