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Champagne 101

There are as many bottles of wine in the world as there are bubbles in a glass of Cristal. To narrow your options (and stay within your budget), follow this advice.

Think Beyond Champagne

Strictly speaking, Champagne is sparkling wine that’s made in the Champagne region of France in the "methode champenoise" style of aging -- that's when secondary fermentation creates effervescence inside the bottle. Everything else -- be it an Italian Prosecco, a Spanish cava, or any carbonated wine from the U.S. -- is referred to as sparkling wine. Since they're less rare, they're a fraction of the price.

Don’t Worry About Wine Snobs

“If you like something that’s $10 a bottle, your guests will, too,” says Leonard G. Logan, owner of Elizabeth's Cafe and Winery in Duck, North Carolina. (See pro picks below.) And, unlike red wine, a better vintage doesn’t mean better Champagne. So serve something affordable, like Prosecco during cocktail hour, and then pour a more expensive varietal at dinner, he says.

Buy in Bulk

It’s the most cost-effective way to purchase large quantities at once. Check out -- they often offer one-cent shipping!

Offer an Alcohol-Free Option

Your six-months-pregnant maid of honor and any teetotalers in the group will appreciate a flute of something they can drink, too.

Save the Good Stuff for You

Pop a special bottle, like Dom Perignon or Veuve Clicquot, while you're getting ready. “And if you get really fancy Champagne or sparkling wine as a gift, for God’s sake, don’t open it at the wedding,” Logan says. Keep it for a time you can savor it, like your first anniversary.

Good Bubbly for the Buck

Champagne: Mumm Brut Cordon Rouge ($45) or Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut ($50, both at
Sparkling Wine: Gran Sarao Brut Cava ($10,
Rose: Parigot Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rose NV ($24,
Nonalcoholic: Fre Sparkling Brut ($6,

Product availability and other information in this story were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual vendors.

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