The world of wine is built on age-old traditions — best practices and standards passed down through generations of winemakers in France, Italy and the U.S. But Ervin Machado, founder of Prosecco Zero, knew it was time to shake things up.
As a seasoned sommelier and judge in the American Fine Wine Competition, Machado estimates he’s tasted “thousands and thousands of wines,” pinpointing the flaws and imperfections of each well-intentioned blend. Over the years, he realized that the faultiest wine across the board was Prosecco, the bubbly Italian relative of France’s Champagne. The main detractor: “absurd amounts of sugar.” Sugary sweet wines limit pairing options greatly, and they’re not exactly ideal for your health.
When visiting Italy for the September harvest, Machado was invited to make a Prosecco, which allowed him the opportunity to pick local winemakers’ brains and learn why Prosecco can have 25–30 grams of sugar per liter. “This is just how (they) have been doing it,” he shares. “It was something about the tradition in Italy that didn’t allow them to see what I was talking about.” A seed was planted in Machado’s mind that maybe he’d be the person to introduce the world to zero-sugar Prosecco. “Me being as curious as I am, I really wanted to experiment with a product that renovates this wine and really gives it a sense of place,” he says. But when he returned home from Italy, he fell back into his comfortable routine at his steady sommelier position, leaving his dream to sit in the back of his mind for a few years.
Then came the pandemic and the news that he had been laid off like so many other workers. Machado chose to use this unforeseen bad news as a chance to finally branch out. “It made me reinvent myself and it pushed me to come back to this idea of the Prosecco that was bothering me for so many years,” he says. In pursuit of that goal, he began taking classes in biochemistry in order to study wine on a molecular level. He also began collaborating with Peninsola Wines in northern Italy to test out sugarless Prosecco blends, and it didn’t take long before he struck gold. “When I read the first laboratory sheet — and I hadn’t tasted the wine, but just the numbers — the numbers were absolutely perfect. The pH was perfect, the sugar levels were perfect, the acidity was perfect — every single thing that I measured, for me, was really (proof) that this could be the making of the best Prosecco,” Machado says. Then he tasted it and found that even without fermentable sugar, the wine wasn’t bitter.
He took his discovery and, alongside Mike Valdés-Fauli, launched Prosecco Zero in 2021. Producing the zero-sugar wine in a “very virgin market” was surprisingly easy due to many Italian vendors’ traditional wine standards deeming Prosecco Zero a non-threat, granting Machado access to assembly lines and wholesale grapes unavailable to the competition. The label may have started as an underdog but it’s now one of the fastest-growing luxury brands in its distributor’s portfolio and has firmly planted itself in the alcohol market’s growing health trend.
Prosecco Zero’s two blends comprise a classic sparkling white wine and Prosecco Zero Rosé, touted as the first zero-sugar rosé Prosecco. The white features the flavors of green apples and yellow pears with fresh aromas of Mediterranean herbs and lemon zest; it has a well-balanced medium finish and pairs well with fish and soft cheeses. The rosé offers an aroma of raspberries, red apple skins and strawberries, before the equally exciting flavors finish full in the palate.
It’s a full, serious sparkling rosé that’s completely dry and pairs well with salmon and sushi. Machado adds that while vegetable dishes are a sommelier’s “worst nightmare,” both Prosecco Zero blends go great with veggies.
Prosecco Zero offers free shipping across 46 states, including New York and Florida. To learn more, visit proseccozero.com.