In the vast and varied world of wines, there exists a category that has captured the hearts of all: sparkling wine. This effervescent beverage, synonymous with celebrations, milestones, and moments of joy, is more than just a drink—it’s a symbol of festivity, luxury, and the art of winemaking.

Sparkling wine, with its vibrant bubbles dancing in the glass, has a fascinating history, a complex production process, and a diversity that spans across regions, each with its unique characteristics and traditions.

What is Sparkling Wine?

Sparkling wine is a type of wine characterized by significant levels of carbon dioxide, which makes it fizzy. This carbonation is a natural result of fermentation.

Is Sparkling Wine Champaign?

No, sparkling wine is not Champagne due to one simple detail. Thought it may be made from the same grapes, sparkling wine can’t be called Champagne if it is not made in the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wine can be produced in various regions around the world using different methods.

Is Sparkling Wine Sweet?

Sparkling wine can vary in sweetness levels depending on the type and style. Most types of sparkling wine make bottles at various levels. For example, you can buy Champaign from Brut (dry) to Demi-Sec (semi-sweet).

Sugar Level Taste
BRUT NATURE 0 – 3 g/l of residual sugar Bone Dry
EXTRA BRUT 0 – 6 g/l of residual sugar Very Dry
BRUT 0 – 12 g/l of residual sugar Dry
EXTRA DRY 12 – 17 g/l of residual sugar Medium Dry
DRY 17– 32 g/l of residual sugar Medium Sweet
DEMI SEC 32 – 50 g/l of residual sugar Sweet
DOLCE 50+ g/l of residual sugar Very Sweet

Types of Sparkling Wine


Champagne is often considered the pinnacle of sparkling wine and hails from the Champagne region of France. It is known for its elegance, fine bubbles, and various styles from Brut (dry) to Demi-Sec (semi-sweet). In Champagne, France, the primary grape varieties used are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.


Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine, primarily from the Veneto region. It’s known for its light and fruity character. It is made primarily from the Glera grape, with some blends including other local varieties like Verdiso and Bianchetta Trevigiana.

How Many Calories in Prosecco

Prosecco has approximately 120 calories per 5 oz.

Prosecco Has How Much Alcohol?

Prosecco typically has around 10.5% – 11.5%. ABV.


Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine, typically produced in Catalonia. It offers good value for quality and is available in various sweetness levels. In the production of Cava, the most common grape varieties include Macabeo, Xarel·lo, and Parellada. Other grape varieties may be used as well. It’s known for its affordability and is made using the traditional method similar to Champagne.


Crémant is a term used for French sparkling wines made in regions other than Champagne. Different regions, such as Alsace, the Loire Valley, and Burgundy, produce Crémant. Crémant d’Alsace typically features Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, while Crémant de Loire includes Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc.

California Sparkling Wine

California produces high-quality sparkling wines, and regions like Napa and Sonoma are particularly famous for their Brut and sparkling Rosé varieties.

Asti (Moscato d’Asti)

Asti is a sweet sparkling wine made from the Moscato grape in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s known for its low alcohol content and sweet, fruity flavors.


Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It can range from dry to sweet and is often served chilled. is made from various Lambrusco grape varieties.


Sekt is a term for German sparkling wines, produced in various regions across Germany. Sekt can be produced using different grape varieties, including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and others.

Types of Sparkling Wine Quick Chart

Grapes ABV Method
Champagne Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier 12.5% ABV Traditional
Prosecco Glera 10.5% - 11.5%. ABV Charmat
Cava Macabeo, Xarel·lo, and Parellada 12.5%-13.5% ABV Traditional
Crémant de Loire Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc 12.5% ABV Traditional
Crémant d’Alsace Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris 12.5% ABV Traditional
California Sparkling Wine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay 12.5% - 13.5% ABV Traditional
Asti Moscato 7% to 9.5% ABV Asti
Lambrusco Lambrusco 8% - 13% ABV Charmat
Sekt Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir 12.5% - 13.5% ABV Charmat

How Is Sparkling Wine Made?

There are two main ways of making sparkling wine. The traditional, or Champpenoise method, and, the Charmat method. There are also a four other lesser used methods.

Traditional Method (Méthode Champenoise)

This is the most used, and most intensive, method when making sparkling wine. First, the wine is fermented in tanks or barrels in the normal method of producing wine. Then, it’s bottled with a mixture of sugar and yeast, to initiate a second fermentation in the bottle. The mixture creates carbon dixode in the wine, this of course is where all the bubbles come from.

After aging, the bottles are riddled (gradually tilted and turned) to collect sediment in the neck. The sediment is then removed in a process called disgorgement. During this process, the neck and all the sediment collected in the neck of the bottle is frozen. The bottles are then carefully opened, the pressure from the fermentation pushes the frozen sediment out. Before the bottles are recapped a small amount of wine and sugar syrup are added to the bottle.

Charmat Method

The main difference between the traditional method and the Charmat method is the second fermentation happens in a tank vs in each individual bottle. The wine is then filtered and bottled under pressure. This method is much faster and cheaper than the traditional method.

Transfer Method

This method combines aspects of both the traditional and Charmat methods. Like the traditional method, the second fermentation happens in the bottle. However, instead of removing the sediment from each individual bottlet, the wine from all the bottles is transferred to a pressurized tank where the wine is filtered to remove the sediment. The clarified wine is then bottled under pressure.

Ancestral Method (Asti Method)

This is one of the oldest method to make sparkling wine. The wine begins fermenting in tanks or barrels and is bottled before the fermentation is complete, without the addition of extra yeast or sugar. The fermentation finishes in the bottle, producing natural carbonation. These sparkling wiens tend to be a bit more cloudy and less refined.

Asti Method

The Asti method also involves only one fermentation process. The Moscato grapes are pressed and then the juice settles in a cold environment, which helps clarify it by removing solids before fermentation. Once ready, the juice is moved to tanks where the fermentation happens at low temperatures to ensure a slow process. Then, fermentation is intentionally stopped early by chilling the wine. After fermentation is stopped, the wine is filtered and bottled under pressure to retain the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation

Carbonation Method

The carbonation method is the cheapest, least prestigious method and not used for high quality sparkling wines, Still wine is carbonated by injecting it with carbon dioxide gas, similar to the process used for carbonating soft drinks. The bubbles produced do not last long once the bottle is opened.

Prosecco vs Champagne

Two of the most popular sparkling wines are Prosecco and Champagne. Though both are sparkling wines, their similarities end there. They are made in different regions, from different grapes and via different methods.

  • Region: Champagne hails from the Champagne region in northeastern France. Prosecco is produced primarily in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of northeastern Italy. These areas have a milder climate compared to Champagne.
  • Grape Varieties: Champagne is typically made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. Prosecco is made mainly from the Glera grape.
  • Production Method: Champagne is produced using the traditional method, or méthode champenoise. This involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives Champagne its distinct effervescence. Prosecco is made using the Charmat method, or tank method. The secondary fermentation takes place in large stainless steel tanks, resulting in a lighter and more fruit-forward style of fizz.
  • Flavor Profile: Champagne is known for its notes of citrus, green apple, brioche, and often a hint of minerality. Prosecco has fresh, light, and fruity flavors. Common tasting notes include green apple, pear, citrus, and floral elements.

Prosecco Versus Moscato

Where is Sparkling Wine Produced in The United States

American sparkling wines come in a variety of styles, from traditional method wines to tank method or carbonic maceration sparkling wines. They may be produced using a range of grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and others.

  • California Sparkling Wine: California, particularly regions like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, are known for producing high-quality sparkling wines using the traditional method. Some of the well-known producers include Domaine Carneros, Schramsberg, and Iron Horse Vineyards.
  • Oregon Sparkling Wine: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, also produces excellent sparkling wines. Producers like Argyle Winery and Soter Vineyards have gained acclaim for their sparkling offerings.
  • New York Sparkling Wine: The Finger Lakes region of New York has gained recognition for its sparkling wines, particularly those made from traditional Champagne grape varieties. Dr. Konstantin Frank and Hermann J. Wiemer are notable producers in this region.
  • Michigan Sparkling Wine: Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula are known for producing sparkling wines, especially those made from cool-climate grape varieties. L. Mawby and Chateau Chantal are among the notable producers.
  • Other States: Sparkling wines are also produced in other states, such as New Mexico, with producers like Gruet, and Virginia, where wineries like Trump Winery have entered the sparkling wine market.

What Sparkling Wine Is Best For Mimosas

Any sparkling wine can be used for mimosas, but traditionally, orange juice is mixed with a dry sparkling wine like Champagne or Prosecco.

What Sparkling Wine is For Sangria?

Sangria is a drink of Spanish origin, so naturally, Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, is the sparkling wine commonly used in Sangria.

Does Sparkling Wine Go Bad?

Sparkling wine can go bad if it has been improperly stored or stored for to long. However, they do last longer than a year. An unopened bottle should still be good 2 to 3 years past the recommended drinking window. Expensive Champagnes could last up to 10 years.

Does Sparkling Wine Have Alcohol?

Yes, sparkling wine typically contains alcohol.