Is Prosecco Sparkling Wine? All Your Questions Answered

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Prosecco is the name for a white wine produced in Italy. Though still Proseccos are also produced, sparkling Proseccos are the norm. The name is most commonly associated with sparkling white wine outside of Italy. Prosecco can only be named as such if it’s produced in the nine provinces of the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions in Italy and made with the Prosecco grape variety.


Prosecco is often confused with Cava and Champagne, as a white sparkling wine associated with celebratory occasions. There are key differences we explore here, answering all your questions about Prosecco so you can make the most informed choice of wine.

Is Prosecco the Same as Sparkling Wine?

Not exactly. But what is the difference between Prosecco and sparkling wine?


The term “sparkling wine” just refers to any wine with additional carbon dioxide which makes it noticeably fizzy. Champagne and Cava are both types of sparkling wine, while Prosecco can be both sparkling and still.


Prosecco made in the sparkling style is referred to as spumante while Prosecco in the semi-sparkling style is called frizzante. Still Prosecco, called tranquillo, is far less common but still permitted.


So, while Prosecco made in the sparkling or semi-sparkling style is a type of sparkling wine, not all sparkling wines are Proseccos because of the rules surrounding where the wines are made. The name specifically comes from the village of Prosecco in the Trieste province of Italy.

Is Prosecco Sparkling Wine a Champagne?

This is a very common question. While “sparkling wine” is the right categorisation of champagne, the actual word “champagne” is legally reserved for products produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France.


People are often confused about the difference between Prosecco and Champagne. Prosecco is not the same as Champagne, with the main differences being the region of production and the method.


Champagne is wine that is specifically made in the Champagne region of France. It’s made using the traditional method, which is a more expensive (and generally more revered) production method that yields the highest quality of wine.


The method Prosecco uses is less expensive than the Champagne method, which translates to a lower cost on the shelf.

How and Where is Prosecco Made?

The main grape variety historically used for Prosecco is called the Glera grape. Rules from the DOC and DOCG (official bodies that control the classification and protection of Italian Wine) stipulate that Prosecco can also be blended with other varieties:


  • Verdiso
  • Bianchetta
  • Trevigiana
  • Perera
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Bianco
  • Pinot Grigio


Usually, Prosecco is produced in the Charmat method (Metodo Martinotti in Italian), which is also called the tank method. In this method, the wine is mixed with sugar and yeast in a pressure tank made of stainless steel.


The fizz comes from fermentation in a closed system, where carbon dioxide dissolves into the wine as it can’t escape. As fermentation occurs and sugar converts to alcohol and CO2, the yeast is filtered and then removed. The CO2-infused wine is transferred to bottles and the Prosecco is corked.


The length of time allowed for fermentation affects the resulting quality of the Prosecco. Longer fermentation generally translates to better preservation of aromas as well as bubbles that last longer.


What Does Prosecco Taste Like?

Generally, Prosecco is known for being crisp and aromatic, with a freshness of aroma that feels light in the mouth. Descriptions often describe notes of green apple, pear, apricot, and white peach.


Learn more about tasting wine.

Is Prosecco Sparkling Wine Sweet or Is Prosecco a Dry Sparkling Wine?

Prosecco wine can be sweet or dry, depending on the amount of sugar added during the production process. The following terms are typically used to describe the sweetness or dryness of a bottle of Prosecco:


  • Extra Brut: This is very dry and not sweet
  • Brut: This is slightly sweeter than Extra Brut
  • Extra Dry: Confusingly, Prosecco that’s “Extra Dry” is actually sweeter than the Brut wines and is generally considered a good all-rounder
  • Dry: Contrary to logic, a “Dry” Prosecco is the sweetest on the market


How Is Prosecco Usually Drunk?

Like other sparkling white wines, Prosecco is best served chilled. It’s usually consumed unmixed as an apéritif, something that is served before a meal. Common cocktails including Prosecco are Bellinis, Spritz cocktails, and Mimosas.


Are There English Equivalents to Prosecco?

Often, people don’t associate delicious sparkling wine with English production. Well, at Bolney Wine Estate we’ve been making quality sparkling wine in our Sussex vineyards in the traditional method. Over the past 50 years, we’ve garnered a string of awards for our range of white, rosé, and unique red sparkling wines.


Why not browse our impressive selection of white sparkling wine to find a superior equivalent to Prosecco for your next celebration? You can buy by the individual bottle or explore our subscribe & save offer which ensures monthly deliveries of sparkling wine to your door.