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Prosecco and Champagne: Differences, Cocktails & Pairings

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Prosecco and champagne won the hearts of many people with their bubbliness, unique flavors, and luxurious feel. They are the wines people bring out when they want to celebrate a special occasion and are often used for light cocktails. 

Although they both fall into the category of sparkling wines, they are not the same. In this comprehensive guide, we will talk about their history and origins, cocktail drinks to make, food and wine pairings, and more. Let’s get started!

Prosecco History: Origins and Production

In previous articles, we talked in length about the history of champagne, the history of white wine, as well as the history of rose. We have talked about the history of port wine, too. And even though these different varieties of wine have some things in common, their history is unique. The same applies for prosecco and champagne.  

The Fascinating History of Prosecco

Prosecco is a light, floral wine, with a beautiful fragrance. Because of that both prosecco and champagne are now the wines people like to drink when celebrating. Before champagne was much more popular, but lately prosecco is on the rise, too. That’s why it’s good to know its history and understand it better. 

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Brief History of Prosecco Wine

Probably the first reference to prosecco was found in literature dating back to 77 AD. Pucino wine was a favorite of the wife of Emperor Augustus, which is how prosecco was known back then. People even believed that this wine had healing properties.  

The place where prosecco originates from is a small town near Trieste, which is called Prosecco. Over the years, the production region expanded beyond Prosecco to the east and west. 

The Grapes for Prosecco

Prosecco is made from a grape variety called Glera. It is a thin-skinned green grape that is grown in Friuli and Veneto regions of Italy. This particular variety has been growing there for hundreds of years. 

The Glera grapes have high acidity. This makes them perfect for making sparkling wine. The aroma given by the grapes is of peaches, melons, pears, and white flowers. All of the wines made with Glera grapes are usually light to medium-bodied. Then, depending on the production methods, the alcohol levels range between 8.5% and 12.5% for fully dry wines. 

How Is Prosecco Made?

The vineyards are harvested in September. This is when the grapes have the right ripeness. Glera is a delicate grape with light skin, so it’s important to ensure proper monitoring of the winemaking process. 

Once the grapes are harvested, they are pressed to extract the must. The must is filtered and then goes through a clarification process. The initial fermentation is done with the help of yeast. After that, the wine sits for several weeks, which is part of the aging process. 

When the previous steps are completed, oenologists taste the wine to evaluate the vintage and coupage before moving on to the sparkling phase. The sparkling phase is the second fermentation that creates the “prise de mousse” and creates the perladge. 

The Different Styles of Prosecco 

Both prosecco and champagne have a variety of different styles. Here is a comprehensive list of the types of prosecco you will encounter:

  • Sparkling (Spumante)
  • Semi-Sparkling (Frizzante)
  • Still Wine (Tranquillo)

The list above is just one way to classify prosecco. There is also a region of origin classification, which looks like this: 

  • Prosecco DOC Treviso
  • Prosecco DOC Venito
  • Prosecco DOC Friuli
  • Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato
  • Asolo Prosecco DOCG
  • Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
  • Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive DOCG
  • Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

More Categories of Prosecco

Prosecco is typically divided into the first three categories we mentioned, which are based on the perladge. The sparkling type includes some sub-categories, however, which are the most popular ones. 

  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Dry
  • Demi-Sec

The wine falls into any of these categories depending on the sugar content in the bottle. But there are some other categories, too, including:

  • Non-Alcoholic and Low-Alcohol Prosecco Wine
  • Low-Calorie Prosecco Wine
  • Low-Carbohydrate Prosecco Wine
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Prosecco and Food Pairings to Try

Prosecco is a light and refreshing sparkling wine. That’s what makes it a great wine to combine with everything from appetizers to main courses and desserts.  

Here is our comprehensive list of foods you can offer with prosecco.

1. Light Appetizers

  • Fresh Seafood 
  • Bruschetta 
  • Caprese Salad 

2. Cheeses 

  • Brie 
  • Goat Cheese 
  • Parmesan 

3. Salads

  • Mixed Greens
  • Arugula Salad 

4. Pasta and Risotto

  • Pasta Primavera 
  • Lemon Risotto 

5. Light Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken
  • White Fish 

6. Asian Cuisine

  • Sushi 
  • Thai Dishes 

7. Fruit and Desserts

  • Fresh Berries 
  • Fruit Tarts
  • Light Desserts

What Desserts to Have with Prosecco 

The light and effervescent nature of prosecco makes it ideal to pair with many desserts. To provide an even better customer experience and make your restaurant more profitable, have your waiters suggest any desserts with prosecco or vice versa. 

  • Fresh Berries 
  • Fruit Tarts
  • Sorbet
  • Shortbread Cookies
  • Cheesecakes 
  • Panna Cotta
  • Creme Brulee
  • Macarons
  • Meringue Desserts
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
  • Lemon Bars 
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The Best Prosecco Cocktails to Serve

There are many unique cocktails that include prosecco, which you should consider making part of your beverage menu. Here are the top 5 prosecco cocktails we suggest you add to your offers: 

1. Mimosa

Evryone loves simple, refreshing and delicious drinks. The Mimosa is exactly that! It mixes prosecco and fresh orange juice. It’s a must-have for your restaurant brunch menu. It’s also one of those drinks where you can use both prosecco and champagne, depending on what you have or personal preferences.

2. Bellini

This is one of the true classic cocktail drinks. To make it, combine prosecco with peach purée or nectar. If you want to make it more unique, experiment with different cocktail garnish options and/or different styles of glassware

3. Aperol Spritz 

The Aperol Spritz is a drink that is not a prosecco drink, strictly speaking. It’s a mixture of Aperol, prosecco, and soda water. Its light and bubbly nature makes it perfect for the hot summer nights. 

4. Kir Royale

This elegant drink blends prosecco and crème de cassis. It has a beautiful deep red color and balanced flavors. 

5. French 75

French 75 is a delicious cocktail with a sparkling twist. It mixes gin with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and prosecco. This drink has a zesty and bubbly feel, which made it a favorite of many. 

Prosecco vs. Champagne: What Are the Differences

Who doesn’t love a nice, celebratory glass of sparkling wine? Prosecco and champagne are both a common choice for people who would like to raise a glass and celebrate something special. But do you know that these wines are not the same although they may look similar? 

Let’s see what are the differences between prosecco and champagne!

All About Champagne

Both prosecco and champagne are synonyms for celebration and luxurious experiences. Every special occasion requires a nice bottle of bubbly wine! But in the same way different varieties of wine without the sparkle are different, bubbly wines are different, too. Here is what you need to know about champagne!

Origin of Champagne

Champagne comes from the region of France with the same name. There, medieval monks discovered secondary fermentation. Years later, the English glassmakers found a way to make bottles strong enough to capture the fizz. 

How Is Champagne Made?

Champagne is made of grapes, typically of pinot meunier and pinot noir. The first step of the winemaking process is fermentation and the production of champagne is no different. 

At the beginning stages of the winemaking process, the grapes are blended together. After that, sugar and yeast are added to the mixture. The liquid is then transferred to bottles which are sealed with a crown cap. 

The secondary fermentation begins when the yeast starts eating up the sugar and turning it into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Because of the crown cap, the carbon dioxide can’t escape the bottles and it gets trapped inside. This is what makes the bubbles!

When the reaction is done, the yeast dies off and settles into the neck of the bottle. There it goes through some more chemical changes, which is what creates some of the funkier characteristics of champagne. This is removed with a disgorging process. A special tincture is used to help with the sweetness. 

Prosecco and Champagne Characteristics

One of the biggest differences between prosecco and. champagne is their characteristics. Champagne, depending on the grapes used, smells of red fruit and citrus with notes of biscuit. 

Prosecco is a light and fresh wine with fruit and white flower flavors and aromas. It has 12% ABV. An interesting fact is that the alcoholic content battle between prosecco and champagne is won by the latter. Champagne’s ABV is 12.2%!


Can’t talk about prosecco and champagne without discussing the bubbles. Champagne is known for its fine and persistent bubbles The prosecco bubbles are larger and frothier. 


Champagne has been the most popular type of sparkling wine for decades. It’s a pricier sparkling wine than prosecco because of the production method and aging requirements. Prosecco is more accessible and affordable, and that’s why in recent years it’s surpassed champagne in popularity. 

Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine: Are They the Same Thing?

Champagne is a sparkling wine that people from all parts of the world love and enjoy. Although champagne is not like any other sparkling wine, it’s commonly called that. However, as we already discussed, champagne is made only in a specific region in France. It is similar to prosecco and other sparkling wines but has its own unique characteristics.

There are many other sparkling wines, other than prosecco and champagne. They can be made from all kinds of grapes in different parts of the world. They also come at different price points. 

Champagne Cocktails: A Short but Important List

If you want to better your cocktail menu with great wine cocktails, specifically ones with champagne, this list is for you. Here are all of the best champagne cocktails to serve:

  • French 75
  • Bellini
  • Mimosa
  • Sgroppino
  • Raspberry Fizz
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Food and Champagne Pairings

Great drink and food pairings are very important for the success of any restaurant. Even though most people come for the great cuisine, wine pairings can significantly improve the experience of your customers.

Besides all of the regular wines you can pair with different foods, you should think about pairings that can be made with sparkling wines. We already shared the rundown of the best prosecco food pairings you can make. We have also talked about prosecco and desserts. And although prosecco and champagne are commonly served with similar foods, the lists are not entirely the same. 

Food and Champagne Pairings for Restaurants  

Champagne pairings can significantly elevate the experience in your restaurant. This type of wine is a symbol of luxury and is usually a part of people’s special days and celebrations, everything needs to be thought out well. 

Train your restaurant’s waiters to suggest delicious champagne pairings and encourage customers to try new meals with the drink. Choose to serve dishes in your restaurant that make sense for the concept you have and even the region you are in. Here are some of our suggestions: 

1. Oysters and Brut Champagne

2. Smoked Salmon and Blanc de Blancs

3. Caviar and Vintage Champagne

4. Sushi and Rosé Champagne

5. Friend Chicken and Champagne

6. Truffle Risotto and Vintage Blanc de Noirs

7. Grilled Lobster and Extra Brut Champagne

8. Fruit Tarts and Sec Champagne

Other desserts pair well with champagne too, but fruit tarts are some of the best to combine it with. They pair well with prosecco too. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own great food and champagne pairings to offer to your customers.  

Final Words

Prosecco and champagne are both types of wine that need a special place on your wine list. Wine lovers will appreciate a good selection of them and also the opportunity to try different unique pairings. 

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