Sparkling wine explained

Sparkling wine

Ever wonder what makes sparkling wine…well, sparkling wine? Pour yourself a glass of your favourite “bubbly” and read on. Everything you ever wanted to know about this unique type of wine is here—and maybe a little more!

The source of the sparkle

Let’s start with the most obvious feature of sparkling wine —its effervescence. That delightful fizziness is compliments of carbon dioxide suspended in the liquid. This may be the result of natural fermentation, either in a bottle or in a large tank. It can also be the result of carbon dioxide injection. Either way, the resulting bubbles are what put the sparkle in sparkling wine.


Sparkling wine” is a generic term for all wines with carbon dioxide. Champagne, on the other hand, refers only to sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France, where wine makers use specific fermentation techniques. While wineries outside of Champagne may use these same techniques, including some Nova Scotia wine makers, they can’t call the final product Champagne. Instead, they call it “Method Traditional”. 

Colour me sparkling

Most sparkling wines are white, but not all. Sparkling rosés are fairly common and you can even find sparkling red wines.

How sweet do you like it?

Brut is a term used to describe sparkling wine made without adding any extra sugar. Extra Brut is a dry wine with a touch of sweetness. Brut is next in terms of sweetness and is the most popular type of sparkling wine. Extra Dry is, confusingly, sweeter than Brut. Demi Sec is a notch sweeter than Extra Dry, and Doux is the sweetest sparkling of all.

Sparkling at home

Here in Nova Scotia, wine makers are creating wonderful sparkling wines that are earning global recognition. Nova Scotia’s climate compares to the Champagne region of France. Most of our province’s sparkling wines are produced using the French, “Method Traditional”. Explore a new local favourite sparkling wine.

Pairing a sparkling

Pair the dryer, less sweet Brut and Extra Brut wines with oysters, or raw fish. The sweeter wines, like Extra Dry, pair well with spicy food since the sweetness of the wine will balance out the spice. Take some flutes (or white wine glasses) out of the cupboard and share a glass of sparkling wine with some friends in celebration of the simple effervescent existence of this special experience!