Champagne and Prosecco — The Best of Sparkling Wines

Do you know the differences between Champagne and Prosecco? Believe it or not, there are many. With a bit of practice, your palate will be able to distinguish between the two sparkling wines in a blind tasting. Are you ready for the challenge? Consider me your trainer.

Let’s get started. First, the similarities. Both have bubbles, are very light to transparent in color, and hail from Europe. Second, their names indicate their place of origin.

Champagne and Prosecco: The Differences are Real

Q: What is the main difference between Champagne and Prosecco?

A: Basically, Champagne is French, and Prosecco is Italian.

The allure of Champagne runs deep in the American psyche and with good reason. You can use the following postcards as CliffsNotes. Prosecco immediately follows.

Choo-choo! — All aboard the Champagne express!

This gorgeous train ride gives new meaning to “half the fun is getting there.”

France’s Chanpagne area


Mumm’s the word… to earn the name Champagne.


Champagne — It’s in the blending.

Did you know that blending is integral to creating Champagne?  I didn’t.

Mumm Champagne


Q: Why is the Cost of Champagne so much higher than Prosecco?

A: Champagne is more labor intensive, that’s true. Also, consumers are willing to pay more for Champagne.

Blessed and royally approved.

Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims


Champagne represents French culture.

It’s the cornerstone of a culture, a way of life.

Champagne is world famous and has influenced societies around the globe. UNESCO added the Champagne industry to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. The United Nations deemed that the “hillsides, houses, and cellars” making and selling Champagne merited the distinction.

Champagne is more than a celebratory drink or a region in France.


Delicious, gorgeous, and UNESCO status.

Avenue de Champagne in Epernay is part of the UNESCO site.


Q: What is the capital of the Champagne region?

A:  Épernay.

Adieu, Champagne. We will meet again.

Champagne vs Prosecco: The Real Differences

Vive la difference! Pour the Prosecco and Salute!

Did you know? Like Champagne, Prosecco is named after its region of origin. The Prosecco region is only an hour from Venice in northeastern Italy.

Not only is Prosecco a region, it is the name of the main grape used for the wine. Former grape, that is. Now the grape is called Glera. The DOC and DOCC designations dictate that Prosecco may be a blend of wines, with no more than 15 percent of other grape varieties. For a refresher course on DOC and DOCC designations, read my article  here. Prosecco received its designations in 2009.

 Q: Have you enjoyed Prosecco?

A: Most likely you have had at least a sip.

Prosecco’s popularity is growing, and oftentimes Champagne is used generically for “sparkling wine.” A good example of confusing the two terms is the popular brunch beverage, the Bellini. A true Bellini uses Prosecco. After all, it was conceived in Venice at Harry’s Bar in 1948. If you’ve been to a baby or wedding shower, a celebratory function, or any kind of social gathering, it’s a safe bet you have experienced the joys of Prosecco.

Speaking of the Glera grape

Wine authorities put the origin of the Glera grape in Slovenia. Prosecco is a village of Trieste, which borders Slovenia. I love these kinds of facts. And that the first recorded mention of Prosecco dates back to 1754 in a poem penned by Aureliano Acanati.

Q: Does it pay to count calories and cents when choosing between Prosecco and Champagne?

A: Weighing in at 80 calories for a standard glass, Prosecco has fewer calories than wine, around 225 calories, or a vodka and tonic, about 100 calories. You don’t need me to tell you that Prosecco is less fattening than beer. As I mentioned earlier, Prosecco is less expensive than Champagne. Prosecco uses the Tank Method, whose secondary fermentation process is very efficient.

After my wine tours in Italy, I had a summer affair with Prosecco. I probably tasted more than 1 to 15 different bottles per month and finally found my favorite: (Piedmont, Italy – Sant’Orsola Prosecco is made with a selection of Glera grapes. This Prosecco has intense flavors with hints of white fruits).  Please note, this is not an ad. It is just my personal preference.

No one has ever confused me with Marilyn Monroe. We do, however, have one noteworthy thing in common — loving Champagne. According to legend, Marilyn once bathed in 350 bottles of Champagne. I think if Marilyn were alive today, she’d give Champagne and Prosecco equal billing with diamonds as a girl’s best friend. And I would agree.

What differences between Champagne and Prosecco have you discovered? Share your finds with us.


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