Mike Valdés-Fauli (right) is the President & CEO of Coral Gables-based Pinta PR, with clients ranging from Carnival, Comcast, and Microsoft to Western Union, Heineken, and T-Mobile. Ervin Machado is a veteran sommelier, beverage director, hospitality consultant, and entrepreneur. During the pandemic, the two decided to team up and ride two distinct trends: the rising popularity of prosecco (Italy’s bubbly wine that surpassed Champagne in 2019) and the growing demand for products with less sugar. What they came up with is Prosecco Zero, a super low sugar prosecco that also happens to taste really good. After cutting a 40-year contract with Peninsola Wines in northern Italy (in the region where prosecco comes from), the duo has taken their product to market with a vengeance.
Valdés-Fauli and Machado officially launched Prosecco Zero, LLC in January, after two years of Machado working to create a tasty prosecco with 2.8 grams of sugar per liter bottle (compared with the average 25 to 30 grams). Since then, leveraging Valdés-Fauli’s “secret sauce” of an award-winning PR and marketing firm to push the brand, the firm has signed up 80 clients in South Florida, including Gables restaurants such as Tur, Zucca, Kae Sushi, and 77 Sports Bar. They also scored an amazing 96 points from Wine World Tribune, the highest-ever rating for a sparkling wine. They are now finalizing deals to expand beyond Florida into markets in Texas and Mexico, with a direct-to-consumer distribution platform (www.procecco0.com) that can ship to 40 states in four days or less.
What They Say
“As a pure business proposition one can capitalize on the low sugar trend, but you really have to pull a rabbit out of your hat to have a better tasting product,” says Valdés-Fauli. “Ervin pulled off the magic trick of a refined sophisticated taste with lower sugar.” Machado, who grew up in Italy and secured the deal with the winery, says, “I learned how to make Prosecco in northeast Italy, and I remember thinking during the process, ‘Why are you doing it this way and why adding so much sugar?’ … At the biochemist level, it’s not that complex a process. You just have to achieve the right kind of PH and grapes in that part of Italy.” As for their pandemic launch, quips Valdés-Fauli, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”