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Is Sparkling Wine & Champagne the Same Thing?

sparkling wine

While we all know Champagne has bubbles and regular wines don’t, you may be left wondering is all sparkling wine the same? And just how do they get those bubbles in there anyway?

Curiosity killed the cat. Don’t let it get the best of you. Keep reading to learn the answers to your questions about sparkling wine and champagne.

Sparkling wine and champagne, what’s the difference?

All Champagne is sparkling wine. However, all sparkling wine is not Champagne. Sparkling wine can only be labeled Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. When created anywhere else, it is just called sparkling wine. That being said, you might have heard of some of the other regional names for sparkling wines.

Is Prosecco sparkling wine or Champagne?

Prosecco is sparkling wine from Italy. Here are some additional sparkling wines you may have heard of:

  • Asti or Prosecco – These sparkling wines originate in the Veneto region of Italy and are made from Glera grapes. Wine makers ferment these wines in tanks. They often have a DOC or DOCG rating.
  • Cava – Created in Spain, these sparkling wines have a light crisp taste.
  • Sekt – Sparkling wine from Germany.
  • Cremant – French sparkling wine created outside the Champagne region. Although not Champagne, they still make these wines made with the traditional method.

How do they make sparkling wines?

Producers create sparking wine in two ways. Both start off the same way.

  1. First wine growers harvest the grapes.
  2. Then the grapes undergo the first fermentation where they become dry wine.
  3. After that, the grapes enter tirage. At this stage, wine producers add yeast and sugars to the wine. Then they bottle them for a second fermentation. Inside the bottles, the yeast dies and the CO2 becomes trapped, creating bubbles. During the charmat method, the second fermentation takes place in tanks rather than bottles.
  4. During the traditional method, the bottles undergoing riddling. Wine makers carefully turn bottles upside down to collect the dead yeast in the bottle necks.
  5. Following that, the yeast is frozen in the bottle necks and the disgorgement stage begins. When they remove the caps the dead yeast shoots out from the build up of CO2.
  6. In the final stage, known as dosage, wine producers add sugar and regular wine to the carbonated wine that remains in the bottles. Then the wines are corked and sealed.

According to Science Daily, a Champagne cork can travel up to 50 mph when leaving the bottle. So be careful, so you don’t shoot your eye out!

What are the types of Champagne?

Champagne can be divided into 3 different types.

  • Blanc de Blancs – made with 100% Chardonnay grapes
  • Blanc de Noirs – made with red grapes such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
  • Rose – created either by adding red wine to the final product or by fermenting the wine with seeds and skins. The first way causes a lighter pink color, while the second makes a darker color.

Need to brush up on your wine terms? This lesson on wine lingo will teach you the basics.

How should I serve sparkling wine?

sparkling wine in a glass

You should always serve sparkling wine chilled between 43-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you should either chill it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Use either a flute or a tulip glass. While flutes are the most popular way for serving sparkling wines, tulip glasses prevent bubbles from escaping and enhance aromas.

Only fill glasses 3/4 full for maximum taste. A standard bottle will fill about 5 glasses.

How do I open a bottle of bubbly?

  • 1 . Angle the bottle away from yourself and others.
  • 2. Then remove the foil.
  • 3. Once the foil is removed, untwist the wire and remove the cage.
  • 4. After that, place your thumb firmly on the cork and twist the bottle from the base.
  • 5. Then allow the cork to gently come out of the bottle with your thumb still on the cork

Which Champagne is sweeter?

It all depends on how much sugar producers add during the dosage stage. This chart starts with the sweetest and progressively gets drier as you work your way down the chart.

LabelAmount of Sugar per liter
Doux50+ grams
Demi-sec33-50 grams
Sec17-35 grams
Extra Dry12-20 grams
Brutless than 12 grams
Extra Brutless than 6 grams
Sweetness Scale

What happens next?

Do you wonder how these wines find you? There are several ways that sparkling wine gets to market.

  • Negotiation Manipulant – Here a vineyard may buy additional grapes from other growers to combine with their own. This allows them to market large quantities which they can export.
  • Growers – Many vineyards market their own products. These make high quality products because they are grown, produced, and sold in one place. However, growers produce smaller quantities and are more likely to sell their wine locally.
  • Cooperative Maniulant – In this situation, local farmers get together to produce wine. By combining their grapes, and sharing in the production, they keep their costs down while producing tasty regional wines. Again, these are mainly sold locally.

This should clear up confusion about sparkling wines vs. Champagne. Plus now you have some interesting trivia to entertain your friends with.

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Donna Emperador is a creative blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and wine. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time traveling and making wine culture easier to understand for readers.

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