Italian makers of Prosecco are threatening to fine UK pubs and bars up to 20,000 euros for selling the sparkling wine on tap instead of by the bottle, The Telegraph reports.

The group of prosecco producers, which is backed by the government in Rome, has threatened legal action against outlets that refuse to stop selling the drink from kegs.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency and Intellectual Property Office has been contacted by the group to enforce the European law from 2009 which states that “prosecco wine shall be marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles”.

Luca Giavi, the director of the consortium of winemakers in the Valdobbiadene-Conegliano area of the northern Veneto region, told The Telegraph: “We’re just trying to protect consumers – if they order a glass of prosecco, then that it what they should be getting. We’re safeguarding the reputation of prosecco – the producers of Champagne or Chianti or Barolo would do the same for their wines.”

In 2014 the UK was the top export market for prosecco with sales increasing as more bars sell it on tap.

According to Stefano Zanettin, president of the consortium, bars that serve prosecco on tap could be prosecuted for fraud and fined up to 20,000 euros.

The move has the backing of the Italian government which has said it will act in conjunction with the EU against the “incorrect” serving of the drink.

MP Michele Anzaldi from the Democratic Party of Matteo Renzi said: “We will find out if sanctions have already have been applied and if not how best we can discourage further violations that are damaging a valuable sector of our economy.”

“It’s one thing to drink prosecco, a protected brand, but quite another to drink pseudo-wine pumped with carbon dioxide, as seems to be served in some British pubs.”

 

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