Bubbles are having a moment. Be it champagne, cava, prosecco and all the variations thereof, consumers are taking carbonated wine beyond the confines of special occasions. They’re serving their favorite versions of the sparkling drink at home on a more regular basis, hosting tastings and food pairings with it or using it to create sparkly cocktails.
“Beverages with fizz are having a huge moment right now from non-alcoholic to lower priced prosecco and even luxury champagne. I think sparkling cocktails, in particular, are becoming more popular because they are a simple way of making a drink just a little bit more fun and more of a tactile experience, especially at home,” said Liana Ottaviani, general manager, Fante’s Kitchen Shop, Philadelphia, PA.
Meanwhile, Melissa Rockwell, direct-to-consumer sales manager at Sparkling Pointe Vineyards and Winery in Southhold, NY, a winery dedicated to sparkling wines, echoed Ottaviani’s sentiment, as she said consumers are increasingly embracing this segment of the wine industry.
“Consumers are really beginning to discover that there is so much diversity within the category. There are so many options at varying price points, making bottles of bubbly accessible to everyone. Wines can be fresh and simple to full bodied and complex. They may be dry (brut nature or brut) or sweet (demi-sec or deux), thus appealing to a wide range of palates,” she said. Rockwell also noted that Sparkling Pointe has seen an increase in the number of customers attending its various tasting and pairing events and asking how they can recreate the experience at home.
“One pairing we feature daily at the Sparkling Pointe tasting house is often recreated at home by our guests. We feature a sparkling wine and chocolate pairing with Vosges Haut Chocolate exotic mini chocolate bars. Many of our consumers will take part in this pairing at the tasting house and then purchase the wines and chocolate bars to take home and re-create with family and friends,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Ottaviani noted that for Fante’s customers, the trend has resulted in an increase in setting up do-it-yourself champagne and mimosa bars chock full of ingredients such as fresh fruit juices, herbs, and specialty liquors and syrups to pair with at-home brunches and dinner parties.
“As the young foodie crowd is getting older and having children, we are seeing a lot more of our customers host brunches and dinners at home. With children, it is much simpler for them to arrange and enjoy a brunch or dinner at home. A sparkling cocktail makes the experience a little more special, especially when you are used to having a mimosa for a brunch treat,” she said.
And while purists might agree that a glass of pure sparkling wine is delicious and perfect on its own, Rockwell agreed that it can also serve as a transformative ingredient for cocktails. With that said, for sparkling wine cocktails, she suggested that dry bubbles work well since most cocktails call for sweeter ingredients and this will give you the best balance.
“However, if you lean toward sweeter cocktails a sparkling wine with more residual sugar will also work. And consumers should keep in mind that since they are mixing the bubbly, there is no need to pick the most expensive or highest quality champagne or sparkling wine. Something with light and simple flavors will do just fine,” she said.
And, when the party is over, the leftovers can be salvaged. Ottaviani noted that champagne stoppers have been a hot seller at Fante’s, as imbibers who want to drink fizzy drinks on a more regular basis realize that they can preserve the quality for another night of sipping.