The Delevingne Sisters On Prosecco, Pandemics And Pink Drinks

Food & Drink

Given Chloe, Poppy and Cara Delevigne’s respective professional successes over the years, it’s surprising it took a global pandemic to join forces.

The sisters’ very first collaborative venture—Della Vite—launched in the UK in August 2020 with the unveiling of two premium Proseccos: Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Della Vite Treviso DOC.

And, despite a general apathy towards the Italian sparkling wine at the time, it went down a storm.

“I think for anyone bringing a new product to the market, there are always concerns associated with it, but there was something quite liberating about bring something new, fresh and exciting to a category which didn’t have the best reputation,” says Chloe.

“Entry-level Prosecco is a saturated market, but there aren’t many better-quality options out there. People don’t tend to have a favourite brand of Prosecco in the same way as they do champagne or gin. That’s what we’re trying to change with DV—to be the first brand of Prosecco people ask for when they go to the bar.”

Admittedly, they are not wine experts, but understood that getting said specialists on board from the start would be crucial to their brand’s success.

“Finding the Biasiotto family was a really key milestone for us,” says Cara. “We wanted a winery which shared our vision for DV to not only taste good but do good from an environmental standpoint.

“Fortunately, sustainable quality means just as much to Foss Marai [the Biasiotto’s third-generation family winery] as it does to us. But that commitment to quality means nothing can happen that quicky!

“Our Glera grapes are picked by hand, and we ferment the wine for at least 60 days, versus the standard 30 for Prosecco.”

To produce each bottle extra-dry blends are fermented using a unique homemade strain of yeast, then ceramic-filtered, fusing new technology with traditional production methods.

The efforts of which are already paying off. Between Della Vite’s Treviso DOC and Superiore DOCG—the sales split is in currently favor of the DOCG (the highest classification of grape quality in Italy).

“We definitely believe there’s a place for a better-quality Prosecco,” says Chloe. “People don’t always want to drink champagne nowadays; it’s more formal and people feel like they need a big celebratory moment to open a bottle. It’s also slighter heavier and more complex on the palate, which means after a glass or so, people want to swap to a different drink.

“Prosecco is different—it’s more spontaneous and casual, and also lighter and more refreshing. But that doesn’t mean it should be of a poorer quality. That what we’ve tried to do with DV—bottle some of the amazing Prosecco we’ve had in Italy and share its story with the rest of the world.”

Which, despite Covid-19’s many challenges, quickly proved to be the right take at the right time.

Figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) show that sparkling wine sales in the UK hit £1.3 billion [$1.59 billion] in 2020, equating to 135 million bottles, with the America’s growing taste for Prosecco booming at similar rates.

By September 2021, demand was so high—thanks, in large part, to global export delays—they launched in the US to enormous consumer regard. And they didn’t stop there.

Following a change to the Prosecco DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) in 2020, winemakers are now allowed to produce rosé Proseccos feauturing up to 15 percent Pinot Nero/Noir, when they had to contain 100 per cent Glera grapes until that point.

“We know there’s a massive trend for pink drinks, but loads of the time it’s all about how it looks and not enough about how it tastes,” says Cara. “We set ourselves the challenge to create a product that not only looks great, but which tastes great as well and we’re proud to say that we think the latest addition to the DV family does just that.”

In a bid to remove the world’s rosé-tinted glasses, the Della Vite Prosecco D.O.C. Rosé Millesimato 2021 is arguably the most complex of the portfolio to date: fermented for at least 90 days, the liquid boasts an aromatic nose of crushed wild berries and rhubarb, with a delicate, fruit-forward palate and creamy texture. In fact, it’s so good it’s already been awarded the ‘Master’ medal in the prestigious Global Prosecco Masters.

“There can be a bit of scepticism about ‘celebrity’ brands, but I think that tends to be when it comes across as more of a name-badging exercise,” says Chloe. “That just isn’t the case with DV—it’s our own business, which we’ve built from the very beginning, rather than a brand endorsement or partnership, so it’s naturally something we’re collectively incredibly passionate about and want to succeed.”

“Fortunately, we all have quite a different skill set which makes things easier when it comes to the value we’re able to bring to the business,” says Poppy.

Though they share many responsibilities, Poppy leads on design and branding (“it’s something I really enjoy and it’s my handwriting on the bottle, which feels special”), Cara leads on everything US-based (“she knows all the cool bars and restaurants and where we want DV to be showing up!”) and Chloe leads on business (“she’s good at keeping us on track and she’s also our secret weapon when it comes to doing live TV interviews –nails them every time!”).

Admittedly, it’s early days for the brand, but they’re off to a flying start with high-end stockists across the UK, Europe and America. Cara even shared a bottle with her table at the amfAR gala in Cannes.

So, for now, the road to success is paved with education and promotion. “When we’ve got people asking for a glass of DV or nothing else, we’ll know we’ve got there!” laughs Poppy.

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