This Is The Difference Between Prosecco And Champagne

Prosecco and champagne are both sparkling wines from Europe. They're a great option for celebrating a special occasion, or for the beginning bottle of a night spent pairing bottles with home-cooked dishes for a festive meal. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

Champagne is sometimes used as an umbrella term for sparkling wines, but it actually refers to a very specific beverage. First, champagne must be made only from a blend of three grape types: Chardonnay, pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier (via Wine-Searcher). The other specification to which champagne must adhere to is that it has to be produced in the Champagne region of France (about 80 miles north of Paris), or else it is illegal to put the word "champagne" on the bottle (via Conde Nast Traveler). The Champagne region is about 34,000 hectares of land and is responsible for producing every bottle of champagne produced in the world (via Champagne). 

The defining characteristics of prosecco

On the other hand, prosecco is made predominantly in Veneto, Italy, which is just 15 miles north of Venice. It tends to be sweeter than champagne and is made using the tank method (fermenting the wine together in a closed metal tank to produce alcohol and carbonation, according to The Kitchn) as opposed to the traditional method (a double-fermentation method which takes place in the bottle, according to Decantalo) which champagne uses.

Prosecco is also significantly less bubbly than champagne. The strength of bubbles in wines is measured using atmospheres of pressure, and prosecco has a typical range of two to four atmospheres of pressure, while its French counterpart has between six and seven.

Price-wise, champagne is almost always more expensive, with it being difficult to find a bottle for under $40. On the other hand, a good bottle of prosecco can be had for less than $20. Naturally, given the country of origin of both of these wines, it also makes sense to pair champagne with French food and prosecco with Italian food.