Italians are not pleased that an Austrian company is using Paris Hilton to advertise Prosecco, the Italian white sparkling wine which Germans on limited budgets drink as a substitute for Champagne, which can only legally be called "Champagne" if it comes from the Champagne region of France (no slur implied, good prosecco is quite tasty):
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton dressed provocatively in a skimpy leopard print outfit and showing off her bare legs is not an image Italian winemakers feel is fitting for their Prosecco white sparkling wine.
Yet Hilton, in various high-heeled stages of undress, graces the ads of Rich Prosecco, an Austrian company selling the bubbly in 27 countries. What’s worse, in the eyes of Prosecco producers, Rich Prosecco also comes in cans and in two fruit varieties.
"Hilton hotels are a sign of quality; Paris Hilton is not," said Fulvio Brunetta, president of the wine growers association of Treviso, the northern Italian city in the Veneto region where Prosecco is made.
Prosecco in cans?! Heaven forfend! To get more control over how Prosecco’s marketed and made, Italian prosecco makers are turning to the tried-and-true European solution: registering "Prosecco" as an appellation controlee. Doesn’t seem to have helped the Greeks much, who trademarked ‘feta cheese’ in 2005 but are still fighting (what they consider to be) knockoffs. By the way, getting camember or feta trademarked is a very, very big deal in Europe — you make light of this at your peril. When I was in Greece this summer, practically every container of Greek feta cheese was labeled "100% authentic official Greek feta cheese" or something like that. And it was delicious, as was everything else I ate in Greece.