The Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco

Yes, they really are different

A sparkling wine by any other name isn't actually as sweet—it's sweeter.

We're talking about Prosecco, the dark horse of the sparkling wine realm. In addition to being sweeter than its Champagne counterpart, it's lighter, too—both in taste and the toll it takes on your bank account. So what's the actual difference behind these similar-looking pours?

It's all about the type of grape (and region) the wine is made from.

The name itself is all you need to know. Champagne is from France, specifically a region of the same name, and Prosecco is from Northern Italy near Venice. As such, they're made from different grape varietals.

Another difference is that during the second fermentation, the action happens inside the bottle for Champagne, whereas for Prosecco, it's done in a tank. The lengthy (and expensive) process for Champ is what makes its price tag skyrocket.

And then there's the wild card, cava, Spain's contribution to the potluck. It's not as widely celebrated in the States as other sparkling wines; however, if you're spending New Year's in Barcelona, get ready to drink up.