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Kali Mireva

Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine: What's the Difference?

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Champagne is an essential part of many great events. Weddings, corporate events, and all kinds of other celebrations may include different varieties of wine but the star of the show is usually the champagne. 

Although prosecco wine is also a popular option and it’s getting into more wine lists lately, champagne is still the symbol of elegance and celebration. We have already covered the topic of prosecco vs. champagne and now want to dive even further into this and discuss champagne vs. sparkling wine. 

Knowing the difference between all these categories will help you give better information to your customers and build an incredible beverage inventory. After all, having a well-curated beverage menu can make your restaurant business truly successful and profitable. 

If you run a restaurant and want to make it stand out from the rest not only with the great cuisine but the drinks too, this article will be helpful. We will dive deep into the details that make champagne different from sparkling wine, even though they fall into the same category. 

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Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine: All You to Know

Champagne is a bubbly wine that people from all parts of the globe love and enjoy. It’s a special type of bubbly wine that earned its popularity over the years. It’s commonly called a sparkling wine but as a matter of fact, there are differences. 

To help you understand the whole champagne vs. sparkling wine deal and help you understand that they are not the same thing, we have compiled a list of specifics. Just like in the history of prosecco, we can see the differences it has with champagne, now will do the same for sparkling wine. 

Key Takeaway: Champagne falls into the category of sparkling wines but the terms are not interchangeable. Champagne is produced in a specific region, with special grapes, and using a traditional method of double fermentation. Sparkling wines, however, can be made in any part of the world, using a wider range of grapes and even different production methods. 

Region of Origin

The biggest difference when it comes to champagne vs. sparkling wine is the region of origin. They both come from separate locations and this is a crucial detail to remember.

  • Champagne - Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that originated from the Champagne region, which is in northeastern France. To be able to call the sparkling wine champagne, the producer must have made it in this particular region. 
  • Sparkling wine - Sparkling wine is a wide category that includes all kinds of effervescent wines, like champagne and prosecco. It can be made in any part of the world. 

Grape Varieties

A key component of making any wine is the grape variety. This puts champagne vs. sparkling wine once again, as they are not made with the same grapes. 

  • Champagne - Typically, champagne is made from a blend of three different grape varieties. They are chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. These are the only three grape varieties that are allowed to be used when producing champagne. 
  • Sparkling wine - Sparkling wine, on the other hand, can be made of a large variety of grapes. They can be pinot noir, pinot grigio, chardonnay, and many others. It all depends on the region of production and the style producers are going for. 
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Production Method

What is interesting to know about prosecco and champagne is that they are made in different ways. The same goes for champagne vs. sparkling wine. 

  • Champagne - Everyone’s favorite champagne is produced using a traditional method. Its called "Méthode Champenoise" or "Méthode Traditionnelle." When using this method, there is a secondary fermentation that is done in the bottle itself. This is what creates the wine’s effervescence. 
  • Sparkling wine - There are a variety of methods that can be used to make sparkling wine. Except for the traditional method, there is also a method called Charmat or tank fermentation and carbonation. The production method that is being used typically varies depending on the region and the preferences of the winemaker.


What is on the label matters. Especially when we are talking about champagne vs. sparkling wine. Always read the label to make sure that you are getting exactly what you want. Especially when you want to have real champagne!

  • Champagne - Only the sparkling wines that have been produced in the Champagne area of France can be labeled legally as “Champagne.” The name of this sparkling wine is protected by the French law. 
  • Sparkling wine - Sparkling wine can be labeled as such but it can also include the region of origin. For example, “Cava” from Spain, “Prosecco” from Italy, and "Crémant" from various French regions.

Quality and Prestige

Champagne is a symbol of elegance for a reason. It’s a classy drink that comes at a higher price and of course, with a high quality. But let’s look more into that!

  • Champagne - Champagne is associated with luxury and prestige and it's known for its exceptional quality. The grapes used and the fermentation methods have made it a unique wine with an incredible flavor profile.
  • Sparkling wine - Although sparkling wines are also very enjoyable and are great for celebrations, they can vary greatly in styles and price points. The quality also varies depending on the grapes and production methods that were being used. 

To sum everything up, champagne is a specific type of sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France. It’s made using a traditional method with very specific grape varieties. Sparkling wine, on the other hand, is a wider category that includes all bubbly wines. They can be made in different ways and with various types of grapes. 

That being said, there is no winner in the battle of champagne vs. sparkling wine. Different people prefer different flavor profiles. The price range also needs consideration. If you are running a restaurant in the United States, you may not be able to get champagne at good prices. If so, you can build your beverage inventory using alternatives like locally-produced sparkling wines. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine

If there are unanswered questions about champagne vs. sparkling wine so far, maybe you will find the information you need in the following paragraphs. 

Why Is Champagne More Expensive Than Sparkling Wine?

Champagne is often more expensive due to the region's strict regulations, labor-intensive production methods, and prestige associated with the Champagne name. The name is protected by French law and can’t be used if the wine is not produced in this region. 

Is Champagne the Best Type of Sparkling Wine?

Champagne is highly regarded for its quality, but it's not necessarily "better" than other sparkling wines. The best type of sparkling wine depends on personal preferences and the occasion. To find out what you or your customers like best, you need to experiment with various options. 

Can I Use Champagne and Sparkling Wine Interchangeably in Cocktails?

Champagne and sparkling wine can often be used interchangeably in cocktails and recipes, but the specific style and sweetness level may affect the final result. There are a bunch of prosecco cocktails and champagne cocktails that require using a specific type of wine so their signature flavor is not changed.  

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