Italy\'s sparking wines are growing in popularity outside the country, as exports have grown by 6.6% in volume and 9.2% in value, the industry says. Sales of Italian bubbly within Europe grew by 7%, although the value slipped 2%, in the first half of this year compared with the same time last year, says the Economic Observatory of Wines. Strongest demand is coming from Asia, which has already claimed two million more bottles of Italian bubbly than in the same period in 2011, according to the organization. \"The Italian government must pay more attention to the economic assets of the country and wine, likegood food, are certainly among them,\" said Giampietro Comolli, who heads the organization. Sales to Asia rose by 11% in volume and 20% in value, with Prosecco, Asti, and Valdobbiadene wines comprising almost 96% of sales in the first half. Consumption has risen by 8% in the former Soviet Union states, while Canada and the United States are also buying more sparkling Italian wines. Last year, Italian wineries sold 4.2 billion euros in wine, including 1.2 billion euros of sparkling wines. Exports are especially important at present because domestic demand is slipping in recession-riddled Italy. Domestic shipments have declined by 10.1% in the first half of the year, while consumption is down 6.9%.