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Sparkling Wine and Champagne – Can You Tell the Difference?

three bottles of sparkling wine

Champagne is a light, delicious and bubbly drink that many associate with celebration, relaxation, party and good times. A glass of chilled champagne will make you feel warm and fuzzy. Simply put, it is the drink that puts a smile on your face with every sip you take. Champagne is without any doubt, the best sparkling wine available on the market today, but what makes it more special than other sparkling wines?

Although many people enjoy drinking this beautiful sparkling wine, only few know the difference. The truth is, Champagne is a typical sparkling wine made from the combination of three wine grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This wine varietal shares the same characteristics with the best sparkling wines offered by various wine regions. Although there is not a significant difference, not every sparkling wine can be Champagne. For a sparkling wine to be called ‘Champagne’, it must be produced in the French region which bears the same name – Champagne.

In order to help you understand what makes Champagne distinctive, we have compared it with some of the best sparkling wines consumed in different parts world wide. Here are the basic features that characterize the main types of sparkling wines.



  • Made from the grapes grown in the Champagne region in France. Hence, the name.
  • Only three grape varieties can be used to make this sparkling blend: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier;
  • Must be made under strict regulations, according to a traditional method (Methode Traditionelle);
  • The fermentation of the wine takes place in the bottle in which wine will be distributed and served.


  • Typical for Veneto, one of the best known Italian wine regions, located in the North-Eastern part of the country;
  • Can be made out of two grape varieties: prosecco and glera;
  • A stainless steel tank is used in the production process; it is the vessel in which the secondary fermentation takes place.

Sparkling Shiraz

  • Unique Australian sparkling wine;
  • Previously known as ‘Sparkling Burgundy’;
  • The second fermentation occurs in the same bottle the wine is served in;


  • Produced in the Spanish wine region Catalonia;
  • It is one of the best sparkling wines made from native Spanish grapes: macabeo, xarello and parellada;
  • Produced in accordance with the same method as Champagne, the Champenoise Traditional Method.


By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.