Sparkling Wine & Champagne: What’s the Difference?
Published by Abigail T

Sparkling Wine & Champagne: What’s the Difference?

In every celebration, especially the new year, you can spot a bottle of champagne nearby. The popping sound of champagne cork can be heard in many joyous moments in life. Moreover, its sweet flavour and bubbly texture give a refreshing gulp in every sip. Since it has those bubbly sensations, then champagne must be a sparkling wine, right? 

It is not wrong to claim that champagne is a sparkling wine. But it raises one question, what is the difference between sparkling wine & champagne? Are they the same term? If you want to know the answer, be sure to read the article below!

Sparkling Wine & Champagne: Are They the Same?

You can say that all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine. Champagne is produced with a Methode Traditionnelle technique or The Classic Method which involves a secondary fermentation process in the bottle.

The secondary fermentation occurs when yeast and sugars are mixed into the blend in the bottling process. Carbon dioxide starts to fill the bottle and create the champagne’s bubbly texture while killing the yeast cells. The champagne will then be aged for at least 15 months. 

While being aged, the champagne producer will start the riddling process to clarify the blend. The bottles will be rotated slowly to gather the dead yeast cells at the neck and remove them. Later on, sugar and wine will be added to the blend before being sealed. This method produces Champagne’s iconic nutty, soft, and creamy flavour and texture.

Champagne is a name of a region in France where all champagne is produced. The grapes in the Champagne area are used as the main ingredient to make the bubbly drink.

Sparkling wine can only be categorized as champagne if made in the Champagne area, uses the grapes in the Champagne region, and is produced with the Methode Traditionnelle technique. Meanwhile, sparkling wine can be made from various other techniques from different regions in the world.

What is Sparkling Wine?

Now that you have understood the differences between sparkling wine & champagne, you must be curious to know more about sparkling wine. Is sparkling wine a ‘wine soda’? It isn’t wrong to say it that way since sparkling wine is a carbonated wine!

Sparkling wine can be made from either red or white grapes, but commonly, it is produced from the white grape. Each sparkling wine type or style can have a different flavour and bubbly texture. The alcoholic beverage can sometimes be categorized from its sweetness level:

1. Brut

Brut sparkling wine is dry with only a hint of sweetness. This is the most common sweetness level in sparkling wine.

2. Extra-brut

If you like a non-sweet sparkling wine, then you can try drinking the extra-brut one. This is the driest sparkling wine with no sweetness at all. This is because the yeast has broken down all the sugar inside the blend. 

3. Extra dry

Despite it being dry, extra dry sparkling wine still retains its sweetness. It is even sweeter than brut and extra-brut sparkling wine.

4. Demi-sec

Do you enjoy a sweet sparkling wine? Then demi-sec sparkling wine is your call! It has a high sugar content and matches well with dessert.

How Sparkling Wine is Produced?

Sparkling wine & champagne have different methods and origins. But, how sparkling wine is produced generally? Besides Methode Traditionnelle or Methode Champenoise, There are other methods to produced sparkling wine, such as:

1. Charmat method

In the Charmat method or tank method, after the first fermentation, the blend will be moved into a large sealed pressurized tank to continue its secondary fermentation process. Carbon dioxide will accumulate in the blend and create a bubbly texture. By using this technique, the sparkling wine will have a lighter and fruity flavour.

2. Transfer Method

The transfer method is a combination of the Methode Traditionnelle and the Charmat method. The blend will be inserted into bottles to begin the secondary fermentation with the yeast. Afterwards, it will be poured into a tank to be filtered.

3. Carbon Dioxide Injection

Instead of undergoing secondary fermentation, the sparkling wine producer will inject carbon dioxide into the blend to attain the bubbly texture. Later on, the sparkling wine will undergo the bottling process under pressure.

Choosing Your Sparkling Wine

The best way to know which sparkling wine & champagne that suits your taste bud is to explore different varieties of sparkling wine. You can always visit the Red & White store to buy various types of sparkling wine & champagne. You can also ask for recommendations from the shop assistant. No need to be shy and fire away from your questions!

Red & White

Red & White is Indonesia’s leading full-service wine and spirits retailer since 2014. I'm very happy to provide you information about the liquor world and let's have a drink together at the nearest Red & White store.

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