Sales of Asti Spumante, the Italian sparkling wine, totalled over 36m bottles for the forst nine months of 2002, up 3.8%, it was reported in the Italian press yesterday.

Exports of the wine were up 6.8% compared to the same period last year, with Germany and the US leading the way.

However non-EU countries registered an impressive 17% leap in export, while the Eu saw growth of only 0.3%.