Champagne and Prosecco - what are they?

Mandy Jenkins
Champagne and Prosecco are both popular sparkling white wines. Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France, an area which centres around the town of Reims, North East of Paris. Only wine produced from grapes grown in this region can be called Champagne. Surprisingly for a white sparkling wine, they use a high proportion of red grapes such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, although Chardonnay is also included in the blend.

Prosecco is made in Italy, in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions in the North. The grape variety used is called Glera, (formerly known as Prosecco) and sometimes Bianchetti Trevigiana may also be used.

The way in which each are made differs too. Champagne is made by what is called the ‘Traditional Method’, this involves pressing the grapes as quickly as possible to avoid colour entering the juice from the grape skins. Then the juice from each type of grape and each village is fermented separately. Once fermented the wines are blended to produce the style required by the Champagne house before it is bottled. Before sealing the wine in the bottle, a mixture containing sugar, yeast and yeast nutrients is added, which makes the wine have a second fermentation in the bottle, this process allows flavours to develop, and also the bubbles!

Prosecco is made using the ‘Tank Method’, this means that the second fermentation is done in a sealed tank and the sparkling wine is then bottled under pressure. This method reduces the costs and is good for wines which are more fruity in character, rather than having more of an influence of yeast in the flavour, as in Champagne. 

Whether you choose to drink Champagne or Prosecco depends upon your personal preference or budget. You can get a good Prosecco from just over £10.00 and a good Champagne for just over £20.00. I think that each have their place in a wine lovers life!


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