The Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine

The Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Wines can provide a new level of gastronomic experience when mixed with food. For this particular reason, sparkling wines have gained popularity over the years. Sparkling wine is known for its bubbles – sometimes called ‘bubbly’ – caused by the carbonation process during its second fermentation. Non-connoisseurs are often confused about the difference between champagne and sparkling wine and, understandably, interchange the two.

What’s the Difference Between Sparkling Wine and Champagne?

The main difference between sparkling wine and champagne? Nothing. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine made special by its place of origin: the Champagne region of France.

It may seem like an insignificant factor but knowing the country of origin of your wine is essential, especially when talking about champagne. European law states that only areas within 100 miles of the region can legally use the name. The reasoning behind this is that winemakers in the region use specific grape varieties to create the beverage as we know it.

Grapes like Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier are the most common varieties used in creating champagne. These grapes provide that distinct flavor famous worldwide.

Countries have different sets of customs in making their wine, and different countries of origin mean that the bottle of bubbly in your hands has a distinct character to it. For instance, unlike in France, German sparkly wine contains grape varieties from all over the continent – this gives the German variety of the beverage a more diverse flavor.

Methods of Making Wine Bubbly

A bottle of sparkling wine differs from other types of wine because of secondary fermentation. There are two methods bubbly wine must undergo before it becomes fit for consumption.

Method Traditionnelle

In the traditional method, the base wine undergoes a second fermentation inside the bottle itself. Champagne usually undergoes the traditional method where winemakers will first let the wine age inside a barrel and then ferment for another 15 months with dried yeast inside the bottle. The finished product is the bubbly beverage everyone knows and loves with a stronger and more aged flavor.

Charmat Method

The Charmat method is named after Eugene Charmat, who improved and patented Federico Martinotti’s method. This method involves trapping bubbles in the wine via a carbonation process in large steel tanks.

Creating sparkling wine through the Charmat method is similar to the traditional method at the beginning. The base wine will be fermented in barrels for months, even years. After that, the liqueur de tirage, or wine mixed with sugar and yeast, is placed in a large stainless steel pressure tank.

While the yeast triggers the second fermentation by eating the sugar with the wine, the wine is pressurized to force carbon dioxide into the bottle, resulting in a fizzy beverage. Because the beverage did not undergo additional aging, the wine produced by the Charmat method contains a fruitier flavor than those developed using the traditional method.

Sparkles that undergo the Charmat method are less expensive than those that employ the traditional method. The reason for this is that the traditional method is more labor-intensive than the Charmat method. Monitoring the aging process is the most crucial part of winemaking. This is especially true in the case of making a bottle of bubbly manually.

Other Types of Sparkling Wines

Just because champagne is the most popular type of fizzy alcoholic beverage, it doesn’t mean there’s no alternative when it comes to flavor and accessibility. Depending on the region or country of origin, various types of bubbly exist, all with different qualities and overall flavors.

Here are other types of fizzy beverages that you may want to try:


Prosecco is named after the village it was originally produced – Prosecco, Italy. It’s probably the second most popular among these fizzy alcoholic beverages.
Although prosecco is widely known as a fizzy beverage, it has non-sparkling varieties too. A bottle of prosecco can exhibit different flavors according to the grape variety used to make it. For instance, the widely used Glera grapes will produce a sweeter and fruitier flavor.


This particular fizzy wine is produced in Catalonia, Spain. Cava is also traditionally produced using a Spanish grape variety called Macabeo. Cava’s overall flavor is tangy and fruity with a floral aroma it is known for.


This traditionally made bottle of bubbly wine is made in Burgundy, Limoux, and the Loire. Cremant is different from other French sparklies because of its creaminess and overall nutty flavor underneath the fruitiness and tangy flavors of the grape variety used to make it.


This German bubbly wine is known for its low sweetness and alcohol content. Sekt can be produced with alcohol content as low as 6% and contains floral aromas. Unlike the French types of wine, winemakers can make Sekt using the traditional or the Charmat method.


Rosé is known primarily for its color – a pink color that varies depending on the amount of black grape skin included in the production. Although some variations of Rosé do not contain the fizz, the bubbly version is more popular and in demand.

Dishes That Are Perfect With a Bottle of Bubbly

Now that you have an idea about the difference between champagne and sparkling wine, it’s time to determine which dishes go well with a bottle of bubbly. Organize a picnic or a celebration outdoors with a bottle of bubbly or prosecco along with these delicious dishes that complement it:

Fried Chicken

It’s a simple yet delicious dish made fancy with a glass of your choice of sparkling alcoholic beverage. You might scoff at the simplicity of this dish, but fried chicken can go a long way, especially when paired with a chilled bottle of sparkles. Season your chicken with your preferred herbs and deep fry it.


Steak is often paired with red wine in fancy restaurants, but a glass of a bubbly alcoholic drink can also do wonders. The sharp, tangy flavor of this alcoholic fizz can balance the subtle earthiness and smokiness of the steak. This is great for Friday night dinners or date night with your significant other.

Fried Potatoes and Onions

Similar to fried chicken, a well-seasoned plate of fried potatoes and onions can do wonders to your tastebuds when paired with a bottle of sparkly wine. The tangy taste from the wine will serve as a palate cleanser for the fried potatoes and onions.

Champagne and sparkling wine are gaining more popularity because their presence is almost synonymous with celebrations. Knowing what makes each type of bubbly distinct will help you decide which dish to pair it with. Consult your local winery for a bottle of bubbly and celebrate the good life.

Village Warehouse Wine and Spirits Provides the Best Sparkling Wines

If you are craving a good bottle of champagne and sparkling wine, consult our Liquor Store Avon, Colorado. Village Warehouse Wine and Spirits has a wide collection of wines from different regions, beers, and spirits.

Are you planning a celebration? Call us and get a quotation with us now!

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