Saturday, February 1, 2020

Celebrate Chinese New Year, Observe Italian wine coop evolution, OMG yummy Prosecco #ItalianFWT

February is a happy month to me every year as the Lunar Chinese New Year (CNY) usually falls in this month. CNY, by far, is the most celebrated holiday for Chinese and a lot of Asian people around the globe. On top of that, I’m very excited to explore the topic of Italian wine cooperatives (coop) with our #Italian FWT February host Kevin Gagnon from Snarky Wine as I have heard about the significance of this form of wine operation to the Italian wine industry - particularly how it helps smaller grape producers to realize their dreams to become winemakers, using shared winemaking facilities and marketing efforts under the larger coop brand.  A big shout-out to Susannah Gold from Avvinare, who has sourced the Val d’Oca Proseccos samples from Prestige Wine Imports Corp. Let’s do a few fun things here - Celebrate Chinese New Year, Observe Italian wine coop evolution, and OMG yummy Prosecco!

Celebrate Chinese New Year
Cooking and eating traditional CNY dishes is one of the most important parts of celebrating the festivity. Recalling the many “New Year” dishes that were served during CNY in Hong Kong when I grew up – steamed whole chicken drizzled with minced ginger and scallion oil, braised dried scallops and sea cucumbers, abalones, and shiitake mushrooms, steamed whole fresh grouper, pan-fried tiger shrimp in spicy peppery salt…, it was a big meal in family style to share in our house. With a healthier-eating resolution for my own family this year, I simplified a whole lot and cooked to the wines too - Val d’Oca Proseccos - with a seafood themed CNY dinner. I pan-fried some seabass (i.e., the word “fish” and “leftover money” sound the same in Chinese), sticking with the tradition to cook and eat food that brings good luck for the rest of the year. I made a mildly hot and sour soup with mixed seafood medley and sliced shiitake mushrooms (i.e., a soup with a lot of ingredients is to bring abundance) and noodles tossed in ginger and scallion infused oil (i.e., noodles are to bring longevity). These seafood dishes not only are “meant” well but go well with the Val d’Oca Proseccos.
Photo Credit:
Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene - Val D'Oca, which was established in 1953, is a leading Prosecco coop in Italy. Located in Treviso, the northeastern part of Italy, it is one of the oldest coops, out of the 484 wine coops in the country. It consists of nearly 600 growers within 800 hectares of vineyards. For many years, Val d’Oca has been focused on producing quality wines at a good value, aiming to promote the efforts of its members and communicating the production stages, from grape growing to bottling of wine to consumers. Val d’Oca has invested significantly into technological updates, vinification and lab controls, ensuring continual improvements on the quality of the harvest and sustainability of their member growers’ vineyards. 
Observe Italian wine coop evolution
A wine cooperative (coop) is an organization that has built facilities for winemaking and the production of wines and allows its members to produce wine under the same brand(s) in their portfolio. Members of the coop, often the farmers who grow the grapes, will share the operational and marketing costs for using the facilities and leveraging the marketing efforts. Coops are particularly popular when a grape-growing region has a lot of smaller farmers, who may not have the means to produce wines on their own if they have not had the opportunity to use the shared facilities to debut their wines. 
“Italy’s cooperative movement, or cantina sociale, is as strong as in any wine-growing country in Europe. Producing more than 60% of Italy’s wines, co-ops represent a vital part of the national wine industry and, happily for the wine lover, offer myriad wines of fantastic value and quality.” – Simon Reilly, Decanter, January 2018 

OMG yummy Prosecco!
Well, the effort of Val d’Oca is evidential in their Proseccos. Their sparkling wines are made with Glera grapes that are cultivated and vinified in the hills of Valdobbiadene. Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are added to the Prosecco for extra textures and tastes where the styles see fit.

Prosecco Millesimato Extra Dry (SRP$17.99) is a vintage-dated sparkling wine made exclusively of Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG grapes. It smells like morning meadow on the white flowers. On the palate, it’s crisp but a bit toasty. The green apple notes are throughout with a salivating finish! Nothing can’t beat this with the pan-fried seabass which is cooked perfectly with only a bit of salt for seasoning!
Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry (SRP $12.99) is a crisp and citrusy and has the aromas of peaches and apples. It’s perfect with finger food and crunchy vegetables like the vegetarian spring rolls and stir-fried string beans I have made. 
Rosé Sparkling Extra-Dry (SRP $12.99) has the festive color for CNY. The Rosé has fresh strawberry notes on the nose. It’s luscious, floral and red berry on the palate. Pairing it with my Chinese desserts like candied ginger and glutinous black rice cake is simply awesome.

Disclaimer: Wines are samples. Ideas and opinions are mines. 

Check out the #ItalianFWT bloggers’ Italian wine coop experiences…


  1. Prosecco is perfect for Chinese New Year. I served a traditional feast with Lychee Nut Martinis instead of wine.

    1. Thanks for your read. Lychee Nut Martinis is great too.

  2. How interesting to know what each dish brings Phinny! While the traditional sound super, I always appreciate going the healthier route.I'm pretty much sold on the Millesimato, cheers to that and Chinese New Years!

    1. Yes, the traditional meal is so high in calorie and simply not enough people around to east up the food.

  3. What a wonderful feast! I'd definitely be excited to be a part of this celebration and I also appreciate your healthier take on it too. And may those fish bring lots of $$$$$!

  4. Hard to beat good quality and value prices!