The great British summer could have a little less ‘pop’ this year, if rumours of a global Prosecco shortage are to believed.

Brits had to imagine the horrifying prospect of a dry summer – without everyone’s favourite, low-cost alternative to Champagne – after an Italian wine expert told the Drinks Business that the fizzy drink could run out.

Bitol export manager Roberto Cremonese said: “Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50 per cent in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage.

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“We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock.

"At the moment we don’t know how much Prosecco they’re holding on to.

“Because there is such a demand for Prosecco, the négociants are releasing it onto the market slowly and are taking it as an opportunity to put prices up, in some cases by 50 per cent.

“The négociants hold the power at the moment as they bought all of the stock.

“It might turn out that some of them have no fizz left but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Mr Cromonese said prosecco producers capitalised on society's cost-cutting attitudes after the recession, with their cava competitors failing to cash in.

He added: “People love Prosecco because it’s uncomplicated and quaffable.

"You should never take it too seriously.”

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Supplies of other cheap Champagne alternatives such as cava and British sparkling wine will be unaffected by the shortages.