Champagne is expensive. Here are sparkling wine alternatives!

Is it time to explore alternatives to Champagne? While we expect luxury prices, Champagne costs have surged by 30% in 2021 and remain high. The grim outlook continues, with a predicted shortage driving prices even higher from 2023 to 2025. Supply chain challenges, labor shortages, port bottlenecks, and climate change contribute to this problem.

Considering these challenges, why not explore other sparkling wine options? In this guide, discover delightful and luxurious sparkling wines as alternatives to Champagne. Before delving into suggestions, let’s briefly revisit what makes Champagne unique.

What makes Champagne special

What’s the difference between sparkling wine and champagne?

Many are confused, mistakenly assuming their drink is Champagne when it falls under the broader category of sparkling wine, which includes Prosecco, Cava, etc. Champagne constitutes only a fraction of this diverse category.

For a sparkling wine to be labeled Champagne, it must originate from the Champagne region in France and adhere to stringent denomination rules. Wines produced elsewhere cannot be labeled as Champagne.

The Champagne AOC regulations rigorously govern aspects, like grape selection, pruning, yield, alcohol content, fermentation, maturation period, and more.

Why is Champagne more expensive than other sparkling wines? 

Aside from the strict regulations and quality control we mentioned above, there are a few other factors: limited production, its prestige, the time-consuming vinification process, and of course the brand. 

Champagne prices vary from about $1,200 pesos for a regular cuvée, to thousands for special cuvés and vintages. 

Alternatives to Champagne 

champagne alternatives

Crémant – the other French bubbly 

If you love French wines, Crémants are a fun niche to explore! 

Crémant wines refers to sparkling wines produced in various French regions, utilizing the traditional “champenoise method” outside Champagne. The labels always indicate Crémant along with the specific region, such as Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Loire, and more.

These wines are crafted with region-specific grapes, like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for Crémant de Bourgogne and Chenin Blanc for the Loire version.

Crémant price range: $600-$900 pesos for regular cuvés, and it can go up to thousands of pesos for special cuvées or vintages.  

Franciacorta – the Italian high-end sparkling wines

Franciacorta is the Italian answer to Champagne. And it’s awesome! 

This Italian wine is produced only in the region of Lombardy, Northern Italy, where it follows strict DOC and DOCG regulations. The grapes used are similar to Champagne: Chardonnay and Pinot Nero (Italian Pinot Noir). Different from Champagne, Franciacorta can also have a small proportion of Pinot Bianco. 

Franciacorta producers also use the same labor-intensive and time-consuming “Champenoise Method” used in Champagne.

Franciacorta price range: $900 – $1200 for regular cuvées, it can go up to thousands for special cuvées and vintages

Ronco Calino Brut Franciacorta

Raventós – The Spanish high-end sparkling wines

Pepe Raventós, a Spanish producer, has crafted wines that are so unique that they earned their own category. Recognizing this, the Spanish Wine Council established the Conca del Riu Anoia D.O in Pénedes in 2012, specifically for his wines. Currently, Pepe Raventós is the sole producer in this denomination.

While the Raventós winery traces its roots to 1497, Pepe actively joined his father in the late ’90s after gaining experience in Europe with renowned names like Hubert Lamy in Burgundy, Gaston Chiquet in Champagne, and Didier Dagueneau in the Loire.

Raventós specializes in biodynamic wines, utilizing native Penedès grapes like Sumoll, Xarel-ló, and Parellada. With extended maturation (18+ months), their wines are renowned for their mineral precision.

Raventós prices range from MXP $800 to $1000 for regular cuvées, with special cuvées and vintages reaching thousands.

Raventos I Blanc de Blancs

Non-denomination sparkling wines 

This is where you can find interesting, off-the-beaten-path sparkling wines that offer amazing value, including some great natural wines and organic wines

Non-denomination wines are the ones produced outside of denominations and/or appellations, whether because their region doesn’t have one (which is the case with all Mexican wines), or because the winemaker decided to produce wines without following any denomination rules. 

There is no easy way to pick a wine from this category – you have to know the producer’s reputation, or trust your wine shop staff to point you in the right direction.

Check out here some sure-bet sparkling wine options.

Even more affordable sparkling wine options

affordable sparkling wines

We have covered some options that offer the same luxurious and prestigious level of Champagne. But what if you’re looking for a more affordable, day-to-day bubbly? 

In that case, here’s what you should look for:

Pét-Nat Sparkling Wines 

Perfect for those seeking adventure, Pét-Nat wines have a distinctive appearance—cloudy, fizzy, unconventional colors, sediments at the bottle’s bottom, and sealed with a beer cap.

If Champagne is a brand new Mercedes, Pét-nats would be a retro jeep. If you’re in the mood for adventure, Pét-Nat should be your next pick.

Short for Pétillant Naturel, Pét-Nats are crafted using the ancient méthode ancestrale, predating Champagne’s méthode champenoise. Bottled before primary fermentation, they skip the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars, resulting in a simpler, rustic, yet exciting and unpredictable wine.

Each bottle unveils a surprise, capturing the essence of its time and location.

Pét-Nat wines price range: $500 to $1,200 pesos.

Prosecco Wines

Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, is renowned for its light, citrusy, and festive character.

To be labeled Prosecco, the wine must adhere to the Prosecco DOC and DOCG denominations, covering regions in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia. Crafted with the Glera grape using the Charmat method, Prosecco is known for its straightforward and simpler profile, yet it can achieve high quality.

A tip for selecting a quality Prosecco: always opt for bottles labeled Prosecco di Valdobbiadene or Prosecco di Conegliano—these two small Italian villages produce the most high-quality and delicious Prosecco.

Prosecco price range: from $300 to $500 pesos.

Il Follo Prosecco Rosé
shop link - sparkling wines