3 Ways To Toast With Bubbles During The Champagne Shortage

3 Champagne Alternatives

ICYMI, article after article in wine trades have been detailing the global champagne shortage leading up to the holiday season. In light of this shortage, our Wine Practice has pulled together a few tips on how to find alternative sparkling wine options just in time for your holiday celebrations!

Champagne: It’s the world’s favorite beverage during those important celebratory moments. We toast with the bubbly at weddings, sip on it at cocktail parties and give bottles to friends as a gift during the holidays. This year, however, many Americans will find Champagne in short supply. Along with other products that have been disrupted by global supply chain issues, “Year on year, Champagne offers have declined by 6.4 percent since December 15, 2021,” according to Don Kavanaugh of Wine-searcher.com.

Other factors have played a part in the shortage. The Coronavirus pandemic contributed to fluctuations in demand for Champagne, with celebrations put on hold in early 2020, only to resume with extra enthusiasm in 2021. According to Shanken News Daily, “This year will mark the 13th consecutive annual gain for sparkling wines, which suffered a temporary setback during the global financial crisis of 2008.” Among other factors, Wine Enthusiast reports that “As demand climbed throughout 2021, the Champagne region experienced unprecedented weather issues,” causing a smaller harvest, and ensuring further limits for Champagne supplies.

Champagne Shortage Will Persist

Between these global supply chain issues, a poor 2021 harvest, and fluctuations in demand (this Wine Enthusiast article does a great job explaining the how and why behind each of these), Champagne was bound for trouble from multiple fronts. This Champagne shortage, they say, could last for several more years. Hillary Richard for Wine Enthusiast writes “The bad news is production won’t be back to normal for several years, and prices will likely continue to increase. Even with a perfect supply chain, the time and materials required to create Champagne means inventory can’t catch up overnight.”

With Champagne difficult to acquire, how might our celebrations look different this year?

We have many other equally as festive sparkling (and non-sparkling) options available on the American market. So, while our parties and celebrations might not include a bottle of the coveted Champagne, you can find plenty of other great bottles to pop this holiday season for some fizz and fun.

First, a little background on Champagne. Arguably the most famous sparkling wine in the world, Champagne earns its title from the French appellation by the same name, where its grapes are grown and the wine is produced. Although many people mistakenly refer to any sparkling wine as “Champagne,” it is only sparkling wine from the Champagne region that can bear the famous name.

You can find plenty of bubbly bottle to pop this holiday season for some fizz and fun – Alexis Karis

Champagne made sparkling wine famous, but you can find other producers that make sparkling wine in the traditional method, or the more economic tank method, from all over the world. Ask your favorite wine shop owner about these three categories or enter these in your search online. You’re sure to find a bottle to help you ring in the new year.

3 Great Champagne Alternatives

  • American Sparkling – With the global supply chain troubles making some imports harder to find, and a rising demand for sparkling wine, it seems natural that this would create an opportunity for Sparkling Wine made on American soil. Made in California, and across the United States of America, sparkling wines can be found in many different formats and varieties, made with the traditional method, tank method or even sparkling rosé and pet-nats.
  • Cava – A sparkling wine from the Cava D.O. of Spain, Cava is a great choice for the holidays. Because it is made in the traditional method like Champagne, it is a fantastic (and affordable) alternative to consider. Cava has made a spectacular recovery as well this year following the fluctuations caused by the pandemic. According to a press release from D.O. Cava, “Through September 30, sales already exceeded those recorded in the first three quarters of 2019, reaching 170 million bottles, up by an outstanding 16.45% compared to last year.” Cava’s more prestigious Reserva and Gran Reserva categories have had even more noteworthy growth this year, as consumers reach for more high-end wines to drink at home.
  • Prosecco – Made using the tank method, Prosecco tends to have a different flavor profile from traditional method sparkling wine like Champagne. Generally an affordable alterative to Champagne, popping the cork from Prosecco is equally as fun and still delicious! And much like Cava, Prosecco has also seen an increase in demand. Andrew Adams of Wine Business Monthly reports “What is real and ongoing is the strength of sparkling wine that started to spike in April and have maintained that momentum through the end of the year. Moramarco said the trend has lifted all types including Prosecco and Cava. YTD through October of 2020, total sparkling imports were slightly more than 12 million cases while YTD through October of this year saw a total of 18 million.”

With almost two years of the pandemic behind us, it’s clear that the next normal will include much change and uncertainty, to which we will adapt. The wine industry itself has embraced creativity during these tumultuous times, as we reported earlier this year on our blog. Don’t let the Champagne shortage stop you from celebrating this year with the same fervor and excitement. Plan for a fun and safe celebration. Try something new and pop a bottle of American Sparkling, Cava or Prosecco.



By Alexis Karis