Sparkling wine vs. champagne: what’s the difference?


Although many see them as synonymous, one who puts an equal sign between the meaning of sparkling wine and champagne is mistaken. For lay wine consumers, even minimally carbonated wines are often described as champagne. However, this statement is incorrect, as the difference between sparkling wine, semi-sparkling wine and champagne is quite significant. We could also say that all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. In the following, we dig down to the bottom of the basic similarities and differences between the drinks, which are becoming more and more popular around the world.

What’s the difference then?

According to the Hungarian wine law, the difference between sparkling wine, semi-sparkling wine and champagne is the pressure in the bottle: below 3 bar we are talking about sparkling wine, between 3-5 bar we are talking about semi-sparkling wine, and above 5 we are talking about champagne. In addition, there is a big difference in the case of quality sparkling wine, where carbon dioxide is produced during fermentation and carbon dioxide is not added at the end of the process.

Champagne or sparkling wine?

Champagne is the name of the wine region of north-eastern France and the drinks that come from it. It has been protected since 1927, as it represents the pinnacle of what the world of champagne has to offer: its tradition, quality, style and durability make it extraordinary. The saying that all champagne is sparkling, but not all sparkling is champagne, is correct. Champagne differs from sparkling wine in that its carbonated content is formed naturally, from a mixture of sugar and yeast added to the wine, by fermentation. While bubbles are artificially introduced into the sparkling wine as a result of the absorbed carbonic acid. Consequently, it is bubbly, but it has nothing to do with champagne.

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