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What is the difference between Champagne and Prosecco?

How to Drink Better: There’s a reason why Prosecco is the cheaper bottle of fizz

Q: What is the difference between Champagne and Prosecco?

A. Champagne is a region in France, roughly a two-hour drive east of Paris. Only wine made in the region, from grapes grown in the region, can call itself Champagne. It is home to most of the world’s greatest (and most expensive) sparkling wines. Dom Perignon, Roederer Cristal and Krug are all Champagnes, as are Moēt & Chandon, Bollinger and Veuve Cliquot.

Champagne can be made from one or all of three grapes (chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier) and goes through an extremely laborious method of double fermentation in bottle before being matured for a lengthy period before release. This is known as the Traditional Method. It is said to produce better wines with finer, longer-lasting bubbles.

There are plenty of other sparkling wines around the world made by a very similar process, and some are every bit as good as standard Champagne – and a lot cheaper.


Prosecco is different. It comes from Italy, usually the northeast corner in the Veneto region. It is made from the glera grape variety. It is almost always made by a simpler, less expensive method whereby the wine is fermented in large stainless-steel tanks.

Prosecco is usually richer, fruitier and sweeter than Champagne. The frothy bubbles tend not to last as long. Frizzante Prosecco is bottled at a lower pressure and has fewer bubbles than Spumante Prosecco. It comes with a screw cap or driven cork. Because of this it is treated by Revenue as a still wine and attracts half the excise duty.

The final difference is price. A bottle of Champagne is at least twice the price of a bottle of Prosecco or a lot more. This is partly because Champagne goes through a complicated and expensive process that usually makes it a more complex and finer wine. But it is also down to marketing. The Champenois have been very good at convincing us that Champagne is the drink of celebration, and superior to all other bottles of fizz, including Prosecco. Not always true but often true!