Writing that Perfect Champagne Toast

champagne toastEvery occasion or event has its own special moment built right into it. A wedding ceremony is momentous, but for some couples, it might be the cutting of the cake or the exchanging of rings that makes the event that much more special. For a birthday party, it might be blowing out the candles on the cake or opening the gifts that really stop the show. Regardless of what the event is, there’s more than likely going to be a toast with champagne of some sort. There are right and wrong ways to write the perfect champagne toast, but the easiest way to do it right is to fall back on answering the age old question of who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Who – This might be the most important question you’ll answer to write your toast. Who are you toasting? The language you use might depend on the age of your toast recipients, for instance. Whoever that might be, remember that your toast is for them.

What – What are you toasting to? Simply, what is the occasion? Quite naturally, this is where your deepest inspiration will hail from. There are hundreds of prewritten toasts for you to borrow from if you need more inspiration. However, don’t settle for a cookie cutter version of what you wish to say. Make it specific to what the occasion is.

When – If your toast comes at the beginning of the occasion, there could be more people there who are alert. If it comes right after the most special part has passed, your toast will need to grab the guests’ attention. Make sure you play on the emotions and traits of the recipient. When also refers to the time of day or year you will be making your toast. It would be perfect if you could incorporate the current season into your toast. Even the slightest reference will do.

Where – You want to consider where you are going to be making your toast. Is it going to be outside or inside, in a restaurant or in someone’s home, or is it in the backyard or in the living room? The setting is as important as what you are toasting to. Depending on where you are set to deliver your toast, you might want to make it longer, especially in casual settings like a living room.

Why – This could be a difficult question to answer, as it has its layers. On the one hand, you need to know why you were chosen to make a toast. You’ll want your words to reflect your relationship to the recipient. Also, make it a point to prove why you were the best person to make the toast. Don’t be shy! Preference your toast with, “We’ve known each other since”, “As your older brother/sister”, or simply say, “To my dearest friend/coworker”.

How – While there is a list of general rules and toasting etiquette you can refer to in order to make your toast perfect, don’t get caught up following a thousand rules. It will be perfect if it’s from the heart and to the point. Speak clearly and loud enough and make sure you have everyone’s attention before commencing. There’s nothing worse than realizing half your audience missed your toast.

Before you join the festivities during your next big occasion, remember that a toast has its own time. You not only want to make it at the perfect time, but you should make it as perfect as possible. Keep it short and sweet. Remember why you’re toasting and to whom you’re toasting.

Too Much Rain and Champagne Grapes

too-much-rain-and-champagne-grapesToo much rain can bring fungus and mildew to the delicate grapes grown in the Champagne region of northern France. This area east of Paris and north of Dijon receives a cool, oceanic climate ideal for the fresh, crisp taste of French Champagne.

The primary grapes used for making the sparkling wine with the appellation of Champagne are:

  • Pinot noir
  • Pinot Meunier
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris may be added
  • Arbane grapes can also be used in the blend

The wineries use skilled winemakers to produce unique blends of the fine sparkling wines using only 2,050 liters of the juice from a press of 4,000 kilograms of grapes.

Champagne weather

This region of France is located at about 49 degrees north latitude. Epernay, and Troyes are cities in this region of vineyards. Historic Reims is the unofficial capital of the Champagne-Ardenne region. Annual rainfall is in the range of 600-650 millimeters throughout the year. The average temperature is 11 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Complex weather patterns mixing a North Atlantic oceanic climate with some continental dryness keep the temperature around the same year-round. The vines in the Champagne region required this consistency. This region receives about 1,650 hours of sunshine each year. In contrast, Burgundy and Bordeaux receive around 2,000 hours of sun annually.

An early spring frost can kill the delicate buds and even ruin the vines. Champagne’s growers always keep an eye on the temperature. Less than normal rainfall will result in dried out grapes while too much rain will attract pathogens that can destroy the vines.

A fungal mycelium can develop when the soil is too wet. The result is a white, powdery mildew coating on the leaves of the vine. Black spots may also appear on the leaves and stalks. The tender grapes can dry out since the mildew interferes with photosynthesis and transpiration.

Grapes that survive a mild mildew infection will not have the taste necessary for a good vintage. This can cost vintners millions of Euros and dollars since their sparkling wines are the major export from this region of France.

Changing weather patterns

The climate affects the flavor of the cuvee, the juice that will be fermented into sparkling wine. The grapes must be harvested on the right days for the ideal flavor. This is les vendages, an event that lasts for two weeks during August in the rolling hills of Champagne.

Climate change is a controversial issue with many opinions on natural and human-made influences. French wine grape growers are very concerned about the effect of even one or two degrees of warming trends on their vineyards. Harvest times have been earlier during the past few years according to several sources including Nature.com, as a result of warming trends.

Scientists continue to study the effect of greenhouse gasses in this area of Europe and its relation to the earlier harvest season for grapes and other fruits. This is phenology, the study of changing seasonal natural phenomena, mainly weather, on plant and animal life. Studies on the effects of climate change with increasing rainfall are important to wineries around the world.

Winemakers in the Champagne region of France will hopefully continue to produce the famous bubbly drink that carries their region’s name.

The Dreaded Hangover

the-dreaded-hangoverMost people who consume alcohol sooner or later have the experience of taking in just a wee bit too much during a party or celebration. The result is quite often that most dreaded of morning-after discomforts: the hangover.

What is a hangover exactly, and how can we increase our enjoyment of alcoholic beverages by avoiding the sometimes unpleasant after-effects?

What Is A Hangover?

People experiencing hangovers manifest diverse symptoms, from headache, to nausea and vomiting, to fatigue and dehydration. Dehydration is, by the way, one of the main reasons for a hangover. Hangovers can make it difficult to get out of bed, to get to work or school, or to perform essential tasks. Feelings of irritability and dizziness can impede work and school performance.

Hangovers are caused by the presence of a toxic chemical, ethanol, in alcoholic drinks. This chemical not only causes the “high” feeling we experience when we drink but is also a diuretic that causes you to urinate more frequently, thus becoming dehydrated and experiencing some of the mentioned symptoms. As it moves through your digestive track, ethanol is absorbed in the blood. Your liver must process the ethanol and remove it from your blood. More alcohol than the liver can filter means it travels to throughout our bodies, including to the brain, creating that drunk feeling.

Organic  molecules produced during the fermentation process, including methanol, tannins, acetone, esters and other compounds — all of which contribute to the taste and aroma of alcoholic drinks — may also add to the hangover symptoms of grogginess or headache. The presence of higher levels of these substances, also called “congeners,” can make a headache or other symptoms worse. Tests seem to indicate that although the level of congeners has little impact on performance, more congeners do make hangovers worse. For instance, vodka has fewer congeners than bourbon, and thus bourbon appears twice as likely to cause sickness as the same amount of vodka.

You may have heard that champagne and sparkling wine can induce a worse hangover than other types of wine. Although scientists are not sure why, this may be true. It’s something about the bubbles. Bubbles in sparkling drinks are, after all, carbon dioxide, which helps you absorb the alcohol faster. thus magnifying the hangover. One way to cut down on the number of bubbles consumed is to serve champagne in a glass with a wider bowl rather than a flute. The wider bowl allows more bubbles to escape, so you don’t get drunk as fast, and the potential for hangover will be diminished.

All types of alcoholic drinks, be it hard liquor, wine or beer, can give you a hangover. The key for avoiding a hangover is to avoid consuming too much alcohol.

Avoiding Hangovers

Everyone has a different threshold for tolerating alcohol, but the low-risk practices listed below are helpful for all sippers of alcoholic beverages for avoiding hangovers.

  • Keep track of the number of drinks and ounces of alcohol you consume. There are guidelines for body weight to help promote lower-risk consumption habits.
  • Food slows down your alcohol absorption rate. Always eat before you drink.
  • Avoid “rounds” or “flights,” which make it harder to track your consumption.
  • Drink water between alcoholic beverages to counter dehydration.
  • Stop drinking alcohol well before you plan to depart from an event or before you go to bed. Give your body time to metabolize the alcohol before bedtime so you can fall asleep.

You can enjoy champagne or any kind of alcoholic beverage without concern for a hangover if you develop drinking practices that minimize exposures to health or safety risks.

The Art Of Champagne Tasting

the-art-of-champagne-tastingTasting champagne or a similar sparkling wine is an experience involving all of the senses. Champagne is actually the name of a sparkling wine from that delimited region of France using certain grape combinations.

Champagne from this region of France is blended from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes. The red Pinot Noir skins are not left in the mix long enough to color the wine. The different amounts of each grape variety blended into the wine is the decision of the winemaker.

The bubbly wine is developed over a minimum of 15 months using a special process to age it before it is finally put in bottles, corked and sent to the market for sale. If you are fortunate to taste this carefully designed wine, there are several things to note:


Your eyesight is the first sense that is used in examining the champagne. Look for a gold to light straw yellow color. The liquid should be clear with bubbles cascading as it is poured into a glass.

Pouring champagne is an art form for the person who pours. The uncorked bottle should be wrapped at the neck with a serviette (napkin) and the liquid poured onto the side of a gently angled glass. Tubular glasses are recommended. Watching this event that takes only seconds is part of the tasting process.


Hearing the cork pop followed by a gentle hissing indicates that there are tiny bubbles waiting to be released along with the carbon dioxide gas. Those bubbles should make a slight fizzing sound as the liquid is poured into the glass.


Inhale the odor of the wine before you drink it. This is recommended for most wines, even if they are not the sparkling variety. The nose or smell is delicate with a slight woodsy, spicy or floral odor.

Smelling wine and other beverages is part of the tasting process. Champagne’s special delicate odors change while the wine is exposed to air in the glass. This is according to champagne experts who judge wines. The bubbly should be allowed to stay in the glass for a minute or two before it is consumed.

Touch and taste

Holding the glass by the stem is another part of the experience. You can also touch the bottle to feel how cold it is. Champagne and sparkling wine should be served chilled at a temperature of 46.5-50 degrees F or 8-10 degrees C.

Taste is the final part of the experience. This is not a product to be gulped down like a soda drink. It is to be sipped to fully appreciate the feel of the bubbles and the delicate taste of the wine.

Professional wine tasters look for a sharpness, intensity and fruity richness in the flavor. Bubbles should “explode” in the mouth with an acidic sharpness, according to the experts. Everyone else can simply enjoy the pleasant flavor of the blend.

Other sparkling wines

Champagne is not actually a generic name although it is sometimes used to indicate high quality in a product.

California winemakers in the Napa and Sonoma valleys follow the same procedures used in France to produce outstanding sparkling wines. They may use different grape combinations and they do not advertise their sparkling wines as champagne. Other wine producing states and countries follow the same rules under international treaties and agreements. Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy and Cava comes from Spain. Both sparkling wines are tasted in the same way as French champagne.

Regardless of where you taste sparkling wines, enjoy and toast the winemaker who created the vintage.

5 Myths About Champagne

5-myths-about-champagneWho doesn’t love a little bubbly with dessert or brunch? Once reserved for weddings and New Year’s Eve, Champagne is becoming increasingly popular for everyday drinking and smaller occasions. However, there are still a lot of myths floating around about this fizzy, bubble wine beverage. Here’s a closer look at those myths and the real truth that they’re masking.

Myth 1: Champagne gets you drunk faster than other wines.

Many people have come to believe that they’ll get sloppy a lot faster drinking Champagne than if they were to drink red or white wine. This is a myth, as champagne is 12% alcohol by volume on average. By comparison, red wine is usually about 13% alcohol and white wine is usually around 11.5%. If you drink 8 ounces of Champagne, you should not be any more or less drunk than if you were to drink an equal quantity of red or white wine. The thing is, most people drink Champagne faster than they drink wine, since the bubbles help it go down so easily. Moderate your drinking, and you should be just fine.

Myth 2: All carbonated wine is Champagne.

This may be true colloquially, but technically, there are many types of bubbly or sparkling wine and Champagne is just one of them. Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France from specific types of grapes. Other sparking wines include Cava, which is a Spanish specialty, and Prosecco, which is made in Italy. Carbonated wines made in Australia or the US are sold as “sparkling wine.”

Myth 3: Champagne must be served in a champagne flute.

Though you often see Champagne served in flute for special occasions, this is more for show than anything. To fully enjoy the nuanced flavors of the bubbly, it’s actually better to serve it in a wider white wine glass. This allows the drink to have more contact with your tongue as you sip it. There’s also more space for you to enjoy the aroma of the Champagne, which really enhances the experience.

Myth 4: There are two types of Champagne: sweet and dry.

There’s actually a whole spectrum of sweetness, so you can find a Champagne that’s a great match for your tastes. Usually, Champagnes are divided into five categories based on sweetness.

  • Demi-Sec: This is the sweetest Champagne and is usually served with dessert.
  • Sec: These Champagnes are slightly less sweet and may be a nice choice for breakfast.
  • Brute: A good middle-of-the-road Champagne with sweetness comparable to Riesling.
  • Extra Brute: These Champagnes are dry without too much bite.
  • Brute Nature: The driest Champagnes fall into this category. Usually, these are paired with cheeses and meats or served with dinner.

Myth 5: Champagne should be served ice cold.

This myth probably comes from the images of Champagne bottles sitting in ice buckets at cafes along the French sidewalk. While you want your Champagne a bit chilled, serving it ice cold will just mask the more nuanced flavors. The drier the Champagne, the warmer you want to serve it. Brute Nature and Extra Brute Champagnes can be put in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. Sec, Brute, and Demi-Sec will be perfect if refrigerated for about an hour. There’s no reason to keep the bottle on ice unless the you’re outside where the temperature is soaring (as in those French photographs.)

The world of Champagne is a fun one to explore! Now that you know the truth behind these myths, feel free to sample different varieties in the glasses of your choice without that ice bucket by your side. Happy sipping!


The Proper Pour


Champagne is a drink that works in multiple scenarios. Whether celebrating with a group of friends or having an intimate evening with a special someone, champagne is a fine choice. Pouring champagne is something of an art, but it is one that can be easily mastered with the right information. Here is a quick guide to how to properly pour a glass of champagne.

Chill the Bottle.  Pouring champagne begins long before you are ready to open the bottle. To start off on the right foot, make sure that you chill your champagne. Place the bottle in ice in a wine bucket for roughly an hour or two. If you don’t have a wine bucket, you can achieve the same effect by allowing the bottle to chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Wrap the Bottle.  There is more to wrapping the bottle of champagne in a napkin than just style. The practical reasoning behind this is that it will absorb condensation, allowing for an easier grip on the bottle, and soak up any loose drops of bubbly that slip past the glass. A tea towel is your best bet, as it will absorb the most loose liquid, but you can still substitute a linen napkin in a pinch.

Pop It Open.  Perhaps the most exciting part of the process is opening the bottle. There is a sense of electric anticipation as you unwrap the foil and prepare to push the cork from its tight hold in the mouth of the bottle. During this, be sure to hold your hand over the cork. Some bottles can be tricky, and the cork can pop all on its own. To avoid injury or accident, keep one hand over the cork, pointed away from anyone’s face or any nearby glass.

The Pour.  The real artistry of serving champagne exists in the moment of the pour. Do not pour champagne with one hand and hold a glass in another, as it can easily slip without proper support from both hands. Instead, pour into glasses on a stable surface, or in the hands of those you are serving. When you pour, you want to hold the bottle in two spots: one hand should go on the bottom of the bottle, where the indented area known as the punt resides, and the other should hold the bottle from the side as you tilt.

There are many opinions out there on how to properly pour a glass of champagne. The more widespread opinion is that you should keep the glass flat and pour the bottle from an angle, aiming directly for the base of the glass. This is the way that the French have been pouring champagne for years. Since it is the country where the drink originates, no one thought twice about questioning the method. Still, questioning the status quo can be beneficial, as some French researchers discovered.

While the traditional method might be the popularized approach, the researchers discovered that there is a much more scientific way to go about pouring a glass of champagne. When pouring, champagne is handled in the same manner as pouring a glass of beer, with the glass itself on an angle as it is being filled, more CO2 is preserved. Carbonation is quite important in maximizing the pleasure of champagne, so you want to have high levels of CO2 in each glass. The “beer pour” tactic might not be as widespread as the traditional methods, but it is a way that will allow you a much more satisfying amount of champagne that you can raise a glass to.

The Most Expensive Champagnes in the World


Champagne has become something that is enjoyed by pretty much everyone at least sometimes, but there are still types out there that evoke the incredible expense that it used to signify. We may not all be able to taste these vintages ourselves, but we can live vicariously through those who are lucky enough to have a glass or bottle of these following champagnes:

Dom Pérignon ($1,950) is a well known name throughout the world, and the remaining bottles of this vintage sell for an ever-increased sum as their numbers decrease. Moët et Chandon has in fact made a name for itself as a premier champagne house largely on the strength of this vintage.

Krug Clos d’Ambonnay ($3,500) manufactured with red wine grapes, Krug’s foremost product is a sublime and masterful example of champagne which demonstrates ably why Krug is such a respected name in the champagne world.

Perrier Jouët Champagne ($6,485) is a sparkling wine made with the very best grapes the Perrier Jouët house can grow, and it is clear when tasting this why such a degree of discernment is warranted. These bottles are sold in groups of twelve, so you won’t run out too quickly.

The Champagne Cristal Brut 1990 ($17,625) was only ever produced in limited quantities, and when you combine rarity with quality you get a price tag like this one. This is an elegant and memorable vintage well worth the wait and the cost.

Krug 1928 ($21,000) is Krug’s second entry on this list, and a bottle sold for $21,000 at auction in 2008. The grapes used were grown in 1926, and the first bottle was manufactured in 1938, making this a very old sparkling wine that has justified its cost with a tremendous and widely-lauded pedigree.

Dom Pérignon White Gold Jeroboam ($40,000) marks the other champagne house with two entries on this list. At over twenty times the cost of ‘ordinary’ Dom Pérignon, White Gold Jeroboam is a masterwork of delicate sparkling wine and wholly deserves its royal appellation.

Pernod Ricard Perrier Jouët ($50,000) comes in a set of twelve bottles, and a variety of liquors have been used, allowing you to choose one that most suits your taste. These liquors are both exotic and of the highest quality, combining with some of the finest grapes France has ever grown for a truly spectacular champagne.

Fifty thousand US dollars is a huge sum, even for twelve bottles of champagne. So would you believe that the most expensive item on this list does not come in a set of twelve, but that the price represents one single bottle? Here is the most expensive champagne in the world and, as far as we can tell, in all of history.

Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck ($275,000) is by far the most expensive champagne in the world. In 1916 a considerable shipment of this champagne was sent via sea from France to Russia, intended for the Imperial Court. The ship carrying this shipment was sunk by a German U-boat, however, and it lay at the bottom of the icy Baltic for over eighty years, until being discovered in 1998. Astonishingly, many of the bottles survived intact, and unsurprisingly this extraordinarily rare vintage commands a tremendous price tag, but all accounts suggest the quality of the wine justifies it.

The champagne world is always evolving however, and who knows what will be released, or even discovered, in the future? We’re always keeping an eye out for new rare and expensive champagnes.

What to Know When Buying a Champagne Refrigerator


Champagne, the “sparkling wine,” was meant to be served chilled. Proper etiquette calls for keeping it, and serving it, at just the right temperature. This is key to ensuring each glass of champagne served may be an experience of bubbly vivacity.

Champagne Etiquette

When toasting a special occasion or event, champagne is the correct choice. Choose the right glass, as well–champagne should be served in a fluted glass, to concentrate the flavors and encourage a healthy flow of bubbles. Before serving, champagne should be chilled: traditional or vintage champagnes, like the original French, should be chilled to a temperature between 39 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, while non-vintage, and sweeter interpretations should be chilled to around 46 or 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to pour correctly. Champagne tends to be fizzy, and even foamy if you’re not careful. Start by pouring just a little bit in your guest’s glass, let the bubbles settle, then fill the glass about two thirds full.

Keep the bubbly cold. A bottle chilled in a bucket filled halfway with ice, and half way with icy water for about twenty minutes prior to serving is the traditional way to chill most wines. The desired temperature can also be attained by placing the bottle in the freezer for about fifteen minutes, or for a couple hours in the refrigerator. But to achieve the best results, using an actual wine refrigerator is the perfect choice in techniques.

Choosing the Best Refrigerator

This will be the end result of a combination of your needs and tastes.

  • Determine what your bottle count is going to be. Do you serve champagne, or other wines frequently? If not, a smaller size will be preferable.
  • Is your wine cooler meant to make a statement? There are some very sexy wine refrigerators on the market today–some even feature ambient lighting, while others are very elegant, and mimic wood furniture.
  • Some refrigerators come with dual temperature zones, giving you options for different genres and flavors.
  • If you are remodeling, choosing your champagne refrigerator early will allow you to incorporate it into the new design, especially if you want the “built-in” look.
  • Know whether you are buying a thermoelectric or a compressor-based wine cooler. Most smaller coolers employ a thermoelectric system; these create less vibrations, resulting in fewer disturbances to your stock. Compressor-based coolers are more like a normal refrigerator, and are more ideal for larger coolers.
  • Choose a wine cooler that’s easy to clean.

Having the best champagne refrigerator will allow you to enjoy a bottle of bubbly anytime it suits you. Consider your needs and preferences before you buy, and remember you always get what you pay for–don’t go cheap, buy the best you can afford, and familiarize yourself with whatever model you have chosen. Champagne was meant to make spirits bright, and keeping it perfectly chilled  is the secret its success.

Romance and Champagne

When the Romans were attempting to establish viable vineyards in the Champenois region of northern France around the fifth century, things didn’t look good for the now highly-prized wines from that region.  Pale and pink in color, the wines from that region were not very full-bodied, and often very acidic.  Also, the temperate north rather than the warmer south meant that the grapes failed to ripen fully, and cold winters often stopped the fermentation process altogether in the chilly months, only for it to start again as the temperature rose in the Spring – at worst, casks and bottles would burst under gas pressure, and at best, the wine would be full of bubbles, much to the horror of the French makers, who considered this a terrible fault.

However, the British, not generally renowned for their culinary good taste during the 18th century, developed something of a taste for sparkling wine, especially amongst the upper classes and aristocracy.  Not to be outdone, the French claimed back their previously considered “spoiled” wine as their own, and champagne as a drink associated with wealth and celebration was born.

What’s in a Name?

Champagne obviously takes its name from the region in which the famous pinot noir grapes are grown, but did you know that one of the most famous brand names in the champagne industry – Dom Perignon – was actually that of a 17th century monk?  A perfectionist, Dom Perignon insisted on the vines now growing above a certain height, and limiting contact between pressing and grape skin, thus standardizing the pale perfection of today’s champagnes rather than the more pinkish hue generally expected from a white wine made from red grapes.

Sweet as Sugar

The British didn’t let their early fascination with sparkling wine wane, and much debate and experimentation went on with regard to making it bubble.  Christopher Merret, a scientist, opined that pretty much any wine could be made to sparkle by adding sugar.  Poems and plays of the period mention the beauty of a glass of sparkling champagne with increasing regularity, with an early link between champagne and romance made in the 1693 play “Love and a Bottle”.

Vive la Revolution

Champagne even managed to show some love back during the end of the eighteenth century – champagne merchants happily changed the titles of noblemen and women to the revolution approved “Citizen” on their invoices, thus saving many lives.  As the aristocracy fled across Europe to safety, many of the brand names we recognize today fled with them.

You might think that EU rules and regulations about what can and cannot call itself champagne might have taken some of the modern day romance out of this most luxurious of sparkling wines, but whether it’s engagement or wedding, special occasion or just because we can, champagne is still our first choice of wine to add a special glamor and polish to any occasion.  From a humble and disappointingly flat product that was a laughing stock amongst its more established wine-growing neighbors, this acidic formerly pink drink has pulled off the most romantic transformation of all, truly going from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.

How to Select Good Champagne


Choosing the perfect bottle of champagne shouldn’t be difficult if you understand the basics. Before you make your selection there are several important things to consider when deciding between the wide variety of champagnes available. Make sure to:

1. Understand the origins.  Champagne, with a capital c, refers to varieties made exclusively in the Champagne of France. Other champagnes, known also as sparkling wines, are made in various areas across the globe including California, Australia, and Italy. The varieties produced in France are held to a highly specific production standard called appellation. This process is an ancestral method and requires strict adherence to each individual step.

2. Decide on a price range.  There is a wide range of prices available for different varieties. Champagne from France ranges anywhere from $40 to $100 and is determined by whether the bottle is of a mass produced variety or a vintage selection. Laurent Perrier and Moët & Chandon are the more affordable varieties and vintage Champagnes include Dom Pérignons and Krugs.

If you’re opting for a sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne of France you can expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $30 a bottle. The price difference depends on the vineyard, the bottling process, and taste. ?

There are also exclusive champagnes that are available for purchase that range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Vintage bottles of Pol Roger Winston Churchill can sell for $300 to $600 dollars and rare finds, including bottles salvaged from the bottom of the Baltic Ocean on a crashed 1907 ocean liner, may sell for upwards of $10,000.

3. Choose the bottle size.  Champagnes come in a wide variety of bottle sizes. Pay attention to the size of the bottle when making your selection. If you are choosing a bottle that is above 3 liters be prepared for a higher price tag because the glass bottles are far more difficult to make. You may also want to consider choosing smaller bottles in order to enjoy several different champagnes.

4. Select a variety based on sparkle, taste, and color.  There are three main differences in champagnes; sparkle, taste, and color. These differences make up the unique flavor of each champagne and are important to your selection process.

  • Sparkle The champagne’s sparkle is determined both by its nature and its temperature. If you choose a bottle that barely sparkles in your mouth it is a sign that it isn’t cold enough or it is of poor quality. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the size of the bubbles the higher the quality. The amount of sparkle, also known as sparkling intensity, is really up to the individual and depends primarily on personal preference.
  • Taste The tastes of champagnes are incredibly varied and offer something for every individual preference. Brut is a popular flavor of champagne and boasts a dry and oaky taste. You may be interested in a sweeter variety that features hints of citrus or vanilla. It is important to pay attention to both the dryness and the flavor of the specific variety when choosing a bottle.
  • Color There are many different colors available ranging from amber to silver to pink. The most common color of champagne is a faint yellow color created by the skins of the grapes used.