What is Spumante? The difference between Italian Champagne and Prosecco
spumante e prosecco

Spumante vs Prosecco? Let’s find out the differences and similarities between Spumante wine and Prosecco, the world’s most popular party wines!


There are moments in life to be celebrated, remembered and accompanied by wines that match the joy being experienced. Prosecco and Spumante play this role, as they are the party wines par excellence!

Italian sparkling wines lead toasts to milestones, arrivals, departures, goals achieved and goals to be achieved. They contribute to create the memory of a moment of serenity and gratification. They play the role of “soul of the party” not only in Italy: in fact, sparkling wines from Italy are very popular abroad as well.


what is spumante


Distracted by the situation, we do not linger over to appreciate these two excellent sparkling wines of Italy that deserve our full attention.

Prosecco sparkling wine… What a mess! To help you choose which wine to crown your happy moments with, follow me in this article. What is Spumante? Together we will learn the similarities and differences between Spumante and Valdobbiadene prosecco.

The following question has probably popped into your head by now: so Prosecco and Spumante sparkling wine (Italian champagne) are not the same thing? What is the difference between champagne and prosecco? Let’s find out together!


What is Spumante? A special wine with double fermentation

What do we mean when we refer to a wine as sparkling? We mean a category to which those wines belong that, when opened, release carbon dioxide to generate froth and the so-called “bubbles”.

The peculiarity of this category is the “perlage”, obtained with the double fermentation. Thanks to this process, carbon dioxide accumulates.

In fact, opening a bottle of Italian sparkling wine (in Italian, Spumante), we can appreciate the bubbles that start from the base of the glass upwards, the effervescence, which we perceive in the mouth as a fresh and sparkling sensation.


asti spumante champagne
Asti spumante champagne


The other characteristic of these wines is a low alcohol content. Sparkling Italian wine is produced in two ways:

  • Classic Method or Champenois Method: this is the oldest and most romantic way to make Italian sparkling wine. It involves a slow re-fermentation in the bottle followed by an extended maturation phase.
  • Charmat or Martinotti method: this is a faster sparkling wine making system that involves re-fermentation in autoclaves, i.e. large hermetic containers.

In order to choose the best sparkling wine of Italy for each situation, we also need to know the classification of sparkling wines according to sugar content:

  • Brut nature or zero dosage: sugar content less than 3 g/L
  • Extra brut: sugar content between 0 and 6 g/L
  • Brut: sugar content between 6 and 12 g/L
  • Extra dry: sugar content between 12 and 17 g/L
  • Dry: sugar content between 17 and 32 g/L
  • Demi sec: sugar content between 32 and 50 g/L
  • Sweet: Sugar content greater than 50 g/L


Prosecco, to be or not to be a sparkling wine? That is the dilemma!

Spumante is therefore a category of Italian sparkling wine and can be produced throughout Italy using the methods I have outlined above.

On the other hand, what’s prosecco? Prosecco is a DOC or DOCG sparkling white wine that can only be produced according to specifications, with certain grape varieties and in a specific area. We can therefore say that prosecco is a sparkling wine.

Where is prosecco from? Prosecco wine is in fact produced in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia with the following grape varieties:

  • Glera
  • Verdiso
  • White, grey or black Pinot

This Italian wine is produced exclusively with the Charmat method.




So, after the first fermentation, prosecco will be transferred to stainless steel fermenters. Here the second fermentation will take place. This will allow the wine to accumulate carbon dioxide which, when opened and tasted, will be perceived as bubbles. This method produces a fresh and aromatic sparkling Italian wine, just like prosecco!

But prosecco is not only sparkling wine, there are also two other types of prosecco: still prosecco and sparkling wine prosecco.

These two white wines are perfect to pair with fish dishes or appetisers. So to the question of whether prosecco is a sparkling wine, I would answer that it is also a sparkling wine, but not only!


Italian champagne vs prosecco – similarities and differences

So prosecco is also a sparkling wine. Spumante may be prosecco but, as we said in the previous paragraph, it is a category to which different wines from different parts of Italy belong.

Prosecco wine, on the other hand, can only be called prosecco if it comes from certain areas of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and if the sparkling wine making method used meets the standards laid down in the regulations.

As far as classification is concerned, it is the same for prosecco and spumante wine: it varies according to the sugar content. Spumante and prosecco can therefore be dry with a low residual sugar content and we will classify them as “brut nature”, ideal to pair with desserts or particularly fatty dishes.

Then in the classification, it gradually rises according to increasing sugar content, until it reaches sweetness. This allows us to pair prosecco and spumante sparkling wine according to the principles of contrast or overlap.

In conclusion, we can say without doubt that prosecco is a sparkling wine. It is one of the high-quality Italian sparkling wines. As, for example, is Franciacorta DOCG, a sparkling wine made using the classic method in the area of the same name in the province of Brescia.

The difference between prosecco and spumante therefore relates to the grapes and the area of production.




Now that you know how to distinguish between Valdobbiadene Prosecco and Spumante sparkling wine, as well as organising a party with the right wine, you can choose the wine experience that suits you best on Italia Delight!

Here is a list of unique Spumante and Prosecco-themed experiences:

Want something even more special? Learn the difference between prosecco and spumante in the field! Create your custom tour with one of the tour operators selected by Italia Delight. You choose the destination and the Local Expert designs your personalised food and wine tour 🥂.

About Author

Flavia Biondi
Ciao, sono Flavia! Aspirante enogastronoma, appassionata di cibo, vino e territorio. Studio Scienze e Culture Enogastronomiche presso l'università Roma Tre. Proseguirò gli studi per comunicare il legame indissolubile tra cibo e ambiente e creare cultura.


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