Deciding between champagne or sparkling wine for your wedding can be daunting, especially for lovebirds with no catering experience. Like most couples, your priority concern might be getting the best quality without surpassing the wedding budget. Generally, the decision on whether to serve sparkling wine or champagne at your wedding comes down to the budget and your preferred style. Most people combine both, as wine adds some class and pomp to the celebration while sparkling wine saves on the budget. Well, below are important insights that should guide your decision.
Does Champagne and Sparkling Wine Differ at All?
Generally, champagne is a specific version of sparkling wine. Sparkling wines brewed using grapes grown in the champagne region of France qualify to be called champagne. That said, wine connoisseurs agree that most people may confuse sparkling wine for a cheaper option. While they have many similarities, the difference between the two lies in the manufacturing process.
The process used to manufacture champagne is comparably longer and labor-intensive. While both undergo fermentation, champagne undergoes two fermentation processes, which explains the presence of bubbles in champagne bottles. The fermentation process is called methode champenoise and takes at least 40 months. This extensive process is also the reason why champagne is more expensive.
Apart from the location, champagne is made from a few selected types of grapes grown in this region. Although up to 7 different types can be used, commonly used grapes include chardonnay, pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier. Manufacturers blend these types to create a unique blend, which gives champagne its distinct taste and refreshing effervescence.
That said, sparkling wine is essentially carbonated wine. Any wine qualifies to be sparkling wine if it misses one of the three key stipulations of champagne. For instance, wines made outside the champagne region cannot be labeled as champagne. Just to mention, a sparkling wine made just like champagne but produced outside France is called Cremant or Mousseux.
Choosing the Best Champagne and Sparkling Wine for Your Wedding
Regardless of your choice, below are some pointers to guide you when selecting champagne for your special occasion.
- Price vs. quantity
You can serve sparkling wine or champagne at various sessions during your wedding. They can be served during a cake cutting session, when giving a toast, or at the bar during the reception. That said, knowing when you will serve the drinks greatly determines the amount required. For instance, you will need large amounts if you intend to serve at the bar. With a good estimate of the amount required, you can easily make your budget. As mentioned, sparkling wine tends to be a cheaper option.
That aside, you should also consider the number of invited guests. Without a doubt, it won’t sit right with you serving champagne to a small group and sparkling wine to another group. That aside, consider the availability of glassware. Champagne aficionados don’t like drinking their wine on flutes. They prefer wine glasses for a better view of the bubbles.
- Food Pairing
Food pairing is another important consideration when choosing the best sparkling wine or champagne for your wedding. If you serve the drinks at the bar, think of snacks that will be making rounds during that time. They should not only taste great but also complement the food. Rose sparkling wine and vintage champagne often stand out with food.
Finding the best sparkling wine or champagne is just the same as selecting your wedding dress. Therefore, be open to trying several options before picking one. Before making a purchase, consult connoisseurs with an in-depth understanding of champagnes and wines. You should also experiment with various flavours to find the best.
To ease your search, start tasting various options early enough. Once you have identified your favorite, share it with your caterer so that they can make early arrangements. If your favorite option is unavailable in sufficient quantities, they can start suggesting alternatives with similar flavors in advance.
- Vintage vs. Non-Vintage
Most people struggle differentiating vintage and non-vintage wine options. Nothing beats the taste of vintage champagne, especially if you want to wow your wedding guests. Vintage options are produced rarely and only brewed after an outstanding harvest. They are also made from selected grapes with superior quality and taste. This gives them a unique flavor and impeccable quality.
On the other hand, non-vintage options are made every year from grapes harvested through the season. To improve and standardize their taste, they are blinded with reserved wines from early batches.
Which Wine Should You Choose?
Choosing between champagne and sparkling wine for your wedding comes down to your preferences. Fortunately, they can both be served in preparation for wedding toasts. However, you can consider champagne for the toast and sparkling wine for the rest of the event. Therefore, depending on your choice, ensure that you consult your caterer to arrange for timely pouring.