4 Types Of Sparkling Wine And How To Serve Them

It's important to remember that all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.

Opening Champagne Bottle

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Who doesn’t love a little bubbly to celebrate holidays, a special milestone, or just because? But that glass of bubbly may be called Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, or generically “sparking wine” depending on where it’s from.

Types of Sparkling Wine


True Champagne blends three grapes―Chardonnay (white), Pinot Noir (red), and Pinot Meunier (red)―from the Champagne region of northern France (about a 1 1⁄2-hour drive northeast of Paris). To create Champagne, producers use the méthode Champenoise ("Champagne method") that may be noted on the wine's label. This tells you the wine has undergone a second fermentation in the bottle, producing millions of tiny bubbles. The same process is called the traditional method (méthode traditionnelle) outside of the Champagne region of France.

Champagne is a type of sparking wine, which is made all over the world―from the United States to Italy to Spain (and practically everywhere in between).


Spain's easy drinking Cava (KAH-vah) is made in the traditional method and just might be one of the best values around (often found for less than $12). 


The most notable Italian sparkler, Prosecco (praw-SEHK-koh), is a fun-loving wine with loads of fruitiness, a touch of sweetness, and soft bubbles. It's the base of the bellini, the famous white peach refresher invented in the 1930s at Harry's Bar in Venice.

Espumante, Sekt, and Sparkling Wine

More common sparkling wines to explore include Espumante from Portugal, Sekt from Austria and Germany, and domestic sparking wine from U.S. wine regions like California, Oregon, and New Mexico. Aside from white sparkling wine, there’s also sparkling rosés and sparkling red wines, which can be dry, sweet, or something in between.

How to Serve Sparkling Wine

Chill the Wine

Sparkling wine should be well chilled―30 minutes in ice water or 3 hours in the refrigerator should do the trick―and served in slender, flute-shaped glasses. By chilling the sparkling wine, its flavor, bubbles, and nose are enhanced. “Champagne should be drunk chilled in order to appreciate its finesse and aromas to the full,” according to the website for the Comité Champagne, the trade association for France’s Champagne growers and houses.

Choose the Right Glassware

Flute-shaped Champagne glasses are not only elegant and festive looking, they hold the bubbles in, preventing the wine from going flat. But don’t fret if you aren’t able to amass a stemware collection customized to every type of wine. A tulip-shaped wine glass that has a bulbous bowl that tapers at the top works just as well, according to the Comité Champagne, while Wine Enthusiast’s Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro says a universal wine glass can work for most types of red, white, and sparkling wines.

How to Open a Bottle of Sparkling Wine

Before you can pour sparkling wine, you have to get the bottle open. Despite what you see in the movies, the proper way to open sparkling wine does not involve firing the cork across the room with a loud pop. Rather, in a controlled fashion, let the pressure of the bottle gently release the cork with an ever-so-slight hiss. Loosen, but don't remove, the cage, keeping your thumb over the top at all times. Hold the bottle at a 45° angle. With your thumb over the cork, slowly twist the bottle (not the cork) in one direction while holding the cork firmly. Allow the pressure inside the bottle to gently push out the cork.

How to Pour Sparkling Wine

Now that you know how to open a bottle of sparkling wine, pouring it is another matter. To start, avoid wasting the wine and making a mess by simply pouring sparkling wine into a glass willy-nilly. When poured carelessly, the wine can foam up, spill over the top of the glass, and then take awhile to resettle before pouring can resume. To retain the most bubbles and preserve the wine, pour the bottle into a glass held at angle, if you are used to pouring a beer this way to prevent a foamy overspill, it’s the same concept.

How to Drink Sparkling Wine

To prevent lowering the temperature of your chilled sparkling wine, always hold the glass by the stem not the bowl, according to Betsy Cribb, Southern Living's home and features editor. This also keeps the bowl from getting mucked up by fingerprints, she says.

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