The untapped Moscato d’Asti Market

Over the weekend, my family and I attended a pool party for a seven-year-old’s birthday.

We attend a lot of similar gatherings. With two young girls, ages 5 and 7, weekend birthday parties are a regular event for our family.  In most cases, the parties are hosted by the parents of children who attend school, ballet, or girl scouts with our kids.

But in this case, the connection was mine: The mother of the seven-year-old who was celebrating his birthday happens to be one of Houston’s top wine bloggers and an on-the-rise wine educator. She’s also a major wine collector who loves Italian wine. It was our first time over at her house and as soon as we arrived, her husband insisted that I take a tour of the wine cellar, a custom-built space with temperature-controlled racks and glass doors in their spacious house. It’s not entirely full, they told me, but holds more than 400 bottles (and that’s just their home cellar!).

I spied a number of top Italian and French wines, including marquee-name Tuscans and a smattering of top Nebbiolo growers. The white Burgundy section became the source of more than one envy pang!

But when it came to the tub filled with ice on their patio overlooking their pool, hot tub, and pool house, the wine of choice was Moscato d’Asti. The host graciously and generously asked me if I wanted to open something from their cellar.

Anything you want!” she plied. She’s a good friend and has drunk many Nebbiolo at our place. I know she meant it genuinely.

But it was a perfect day for Moscato d’Asti: Between basking in the Houston summer heat and playing with the kids in the pool, the low-alcohol wine with its gentle sparkle was just the thing. And it was the PERFECT pairing for the catered fajitas with all the trimmings (more on that later).

Whenever I have a lot of people over like this,” she told me, “I always serve Moscato d’Asti.” It’s a “southern thing,” it’s true. But it’s also representative of a segment of the American market that Moscato d’Asti growers and bottlers have overlooked.

This group of Americans LOVES Moscato d’Asti. But it’s never been marketed to. These are not the Society of Wine Educators or the Guild of Sommeliers types. No, these are upper-middle-class Americans who enjoy wine but don’t spend a lot of time thinking about wine.

And they represent an immense opportunity for Moscato d’Asti. And my thoughts on how they can tap that untapped market will be the subject of my next post. Stay tuned.

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Jeremy Parzen
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Italian literature at U.C.L.A. in 1997, Jeremy Parzen moved to New York City where he shifted his focus to food and wine. By 1998, he was the chief wine writer for the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2005, he published his annotated translation of Maestro Martino's 15th century cookery book, The Art of Cooking (University of California Press). In 2007, he launched his blog DoBianchi.com (named after the Venetian expression for two glasses of white wine). Since that time, he has published countless articles on Italian food and wine, including bylines for publications like Decanter and Wine and Spirits, which named him a "Master of Place" in 2017. Known for his humanist perspective onto the world of Italian enogastronomy, he works as wine and restaurant industry consultant from his home office in Houston, where he and his wife Tracie (a native Texan) are raising their two daughters. A former rock musician and songwriter, Jeremy continues to compose and record music with and for his family. He was honored to be named an Italian Association of Wine Merchants ambassador in 2018 for his "profound scholarship in the humanities, his great knowledge of winemaking, and his excellence in communications."

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