Asti Spumante has seen a slight rise in sales for 2003. The consortium for protection of the Asti wines announced yesterday that sales of the Italian sparkling wine last year increased by 0.64% year-on-year, to 68.66m bottles.

Total sales in the EU countries rose by 16.23%, while sales in North America climbed to 13.19m bottles from 12.856m bottles in 2002.

While sales in Italy reached 17.18m bottles, up from 16.846m, French sales of Asti Spumante increased by 15.29%. UK sales totalled 8.127m bottles, up by 4%.

The sales of Moscato d'Asti wine hit 7.2m bottles, a rise from 6.417m bottles in 2002.

Both Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti are Italian wines labelled with the EU Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG).