Silly Season Explainer: What’s the Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

Silly Season Explainer: What’s the Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

Written by
December 9, 2017

It’s okay to admit it: maybe you don’t know that much about sparkling wine. Maybe you’ve only avoided it (except for at Christmas parties) because you don’t know where to start. It’s okay!

We’ve got some quick facts to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself this silly season.


What’s the difference between sparkling wine and champagne?


It’s super easy tbh ­– champagne can only be called champagne if it’s made from the grapes grown in one of the 319 villages in the region of – you guessed it –Champagne in northern France!


Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. Sparkling wine can be made anywhere in the world and can encompasses a bunch of different types of bubbly wine.


Cool! So what’s prosecco then?


Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that is made from the glera grape. It’s popular because it’s dry but also balanced, with a touch of citrus or peach creating a creamy finish. Prosecco bubbles are light, frothy and can tell you the plot of every Kardashians’ episode since the pilot (just kidding – but the first two things are true).


While we’re on the subject of European sparkling, give cava a gander. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine produced in Catalonia in the same way that champagne is made, but with different grapes. Aside from tasting delicious, cava is also renowned for being great value for money. Nice.


Oh! But you can get sparkling wine in Australia, yeah?


Yeah! Australia is fast establishing itself as a competitor to the old houses from France. Much of Australia’s wine country is too hot to make sparkling, but in the higher altitudes and more southern regions – like Victoria, Tasmania, and Adelaide Hills in South Australia – we’ve been producing some world-class bubbles.


Australia even makes its own version of prosecco – King Valley is the home to a 50km food and wine trail known as ‘Prosecco Road’.


Can other stuff sparkle?


Your soul! Not really. White wines aren’t the only kind of wine that can be bubbly. Sparkling rosé is growing in popularity, and sparkling red (yes, really) is also transcending novelty status.


Sparkling red is particularly popular in Australia, because our warm climate makes a slightly chilled red a great option during the sunny season.


Got it. But what’s a vintage?


Aha! Well, ‘vintage’ refers to a harvest from a single year and is generally considered to be of a higher-quality than non-vintage wines. You can tell a non-vintage wine from the ‘NV’ on its label.


Now go forth and enjoy the silly season! Toast a glass to your newfound knowledge.