The holiday season will be here before we know it, and it seems that wine lovers are naturally gravitating towards sparkling wine.

In our opinion, sparkling wine should be enjoyed year-round … like on a Tuesday night after a long day at work. But even we can’t deny that there is something so festive about a glass of sparkling wine in the winter season. 

When shopping for your favourite sparkling wine, there are a few terms to look out for so you can be sure to know what style you’re getting. The biggest question we get is ‘isn’t it all just Champagne?!’ Short answer, no. Unless you’re getting your wine from Champagne, France, it will be called by a different name. We in Canada are not allowed to call it Champagne, which is why you’ll see wineries outside of France call theirs by a few different names like sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco, 

Yet, even within the sparkling wine category, there are a few different styles in which it can be made. Here are some key terms to look out for:

Traditional method – this signifies that a second fermentation was in the bottle in which it was later sold. This is the same method that Champagne, France uses when making a sparkling wine. If you like Champagne, you’ll like this style! 

Bottle fermented – very similar to the traditional method, however, after fermentation is finished in the bottle, all the wine is then poured into a sealed tank under pressure. The wine is then filtered to remove the yeast, and rebottled into a fresh bottle

Prosecco – also known as the Tank Method. In this style, both first and second fermentation happens in a sealed tank. During the second fermentation though, the CO2 dissolves in the wine, which causes the light bubble

Asti Method – predominately used to produce a sweet sparkling wine. In this method, juice is fermented as needed and the CO2 is sealed into the tank. The fermentation is then stopped when the alcohol level is reached and then bottled for immediate sale. 

Carbonation – This just means that CO2 is injected into still wine under pressure. However, producers don’t need to list this on the label, so unless you’re familiar with the winery there isn’t a way to tell. The best indication that we can suggest is looking at the price point. This is a cheaper method for wine producers, which would translate to a more affordable price point on liquor store shelves. 

Now, we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we only explained the different types of sparkling wines and didn’t make some suggestions of our top picks. May we suggest…

Summerstorm by Arrowleaf Cellars. Made from 100% Zweigelt, this tank method sparkling wine is the perfect answer to reminisce about the summer days. Boasting of flavours of strawberry, rhubarb and pink grapefruit, with a touch of sweetness and dry finish. This can be yours for the low price of $22.60

Confidence by 8th Generation. A blend of predominantly Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine is blended with Pinot Gris to create a delicious Frizzante style wine. Crisp berry flavours, with hints of grapefruit dance on the palate, making this a perfect sipper any time. Lunch, brunch or dinner, you decide! You’ll be able to find this sparkling wine in various liquor stores, or at the winery for $22.20 

Gold Label Brut by Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. This sparkling is made using the traditional method, with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a little bit of Pinot Gris. Hands down, this sparkling wine is a crowd pleaser! Think notes of lemon, apple on the palate with the perfect amount of bubble. Available at the winery or online for $27.90

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