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Does Champagne Have Alcohol? Breaking Down Your Bubbles.

Special occasions are frequently associated with the popping of bottles, the joyful hiss of bubbles spilling over, and the glug glug of your celebratory drink of choice poured into glasses. 

But what if you don’t drink alcohol? 

Can you have Champagne?

(Spoiler: no.)

Does Champagne have alcohol?

Yes, Champagne is a type of alcoholic sparkling wine created from grapes. Its alcohol content is usually around 12% ABV.

How many units of alcohol are in a bottle of Champagne?

A standard bottle of Champagne, which is usually 750 milliliters, has an average of 9 units of alcohol. This amount may differ based on the type and brand of champagne.

Want to calculate the units of alcohol for a specific bottle? Here’s how you do it:

First, the formula.

Units = (Volume of bottle in milliliters) * (% alcohol by volume) / 1000

For example, if you have a bottle of Champagne that is 750 milliliters and has an alcohol content of 12% by volume, the calculation would be as follows:

Units = (750 ml) * (12%) / 1000 = 9 units

What’s the difference between sparkling wine and Champagne?

All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. Because of its popularity, we tend to say “Champagne” for all sparkling wines, but Champagne is actually a proper noun. 

It’s sort of like saying Band-Aid for all adhesive bandages.

But here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Region of origin: Champagne is a sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France according to strict rules and regulations. Sparkling wine, on the other hand, is a broad term that refers to any wine that has natural carbonation, which is caused by the presence of carbon dioxide in the wine. Sparkling wines can be made from a wide range of grapes and produced in many different regions worldwide.
  • Production methods: Champagne is made using a specific method called the “méthode champenoise,” which involves a secondary fermentation process that takes place in the bottle. This process gives Champagne its unique flavor and effervescence. Sparkling wines can be made using various methods, including the “Charmat” method, in which the fermentation process takes place in a tank.
  • Flavor: Champagne is typically drier and more complex in flavor while sparkling wine can range from sweet to dry and may have a fruitier flavor.
  • Price: Champagne has often considered a luxury product due to its reputation and the strict rules and regulations surrounding its production. As a result, Champagne often fetches a heftier price tag.
A bucket of ice with Champagne and two Champagne flutes sites beside the title "Alcoholic or Alcohol-Free?"
Does Champagne have alcohol?

What about sparkling cider?

Sometimes when people ask if Champagne has alcohol, they confuse the word with sparkling cider, which often comes in a similar-looking bottle. 

This is because sparkling cider is seen as a non-alcoholic substitute for Champagne.

Here are the main differences:

  • Ingredients: Champagne is made from grapes, while sparkling cider is made from fermented apples.
  • Alcohol content: Champagne typically contains alcohol, while most sparkling ciders are non-alcoholic. Some sparkling ciders may contain a small amount of alcohol, but it is usually less than 1% by volume.
  • Production method: Champagne is made using a specific method called the “méthode champenoise.” This method involves a secondary fermentation process that takes place in the bottle. Sparkling cider is basically apple cider or apple juice with a little bit of baker’s yeast added in. Not exactly complicated. 
  • Flavor: Champagne and sparkling cider have different flavors due to the different ingredients and production methods used. Champagne is typically drier and more complex in flavor (due, in part, to its alcohol content), while sparkling cider is generally sweeter and fruitier. The latter is more like bubbly apple juice.

Can Champagne be alcohol-free?

True Champagne? No. But there are alcohol-free versions on the market you might want to try out if you want a good alcohol alternative for it. 

  1. Fre Sparkling: This brand offers a variety of non-alcoholic sparkling wines, including a brut and a rosé.
  2. Château de Fleur: This brand produces a non-alcoholic sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
  3. Princess Bollicine Bianco Extra Dry: This is a dry, sparkling white wine from the Italian brand, Princess. It boasts floral aromas with a hint of cut grass and honey. 
  4. Surely: This is a California dry, sparkling brut with hints of lemon, peach, and passion fruit. 
  5. Lyre’s Classico Grande: This Amazon best-seller markets itself as a non-alcoholic sparkling wine “style” with appealing floral and musk tones. 

It is worth noting that these are just a few examples, and there are many other brands of non-alcoholic champagne available. It might be a good idea to try a few different brands to find one that you like.

Glasses of champagne behind the title Can Champagne be alcohol free?
Can Champagne be alcohol-free?

Looking for alcohol-free options?

Whether you’re participating in a temporary break from drinking like Dry January or looking for a more long-term change, it’s nice to have options lined up. 

Sometimes you find yourself in a social setting where everyone is drinking from fancy glasses, toasting, and making general merriment. There is an aesthetic to alcohol as a social activity that makes us feel left out when we aren’t drinking. 

Alcohol alternatives like non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits can help us feel like we’re still part of the group, even when we don’t drink. 

There will come a time, perhaps, when you don’t care about that, but it’s okay if right now, you want to have a fancy mocktail at a dinner party. 

So long as it doesn’t trigger you into wanting the real thing, enjoy! 

FAQs

Is Champagne stronger than wine?

It depends on the wine you’re comparing it to. Most Champagnes have about 12% ABV. The range of wine, more generally, is about 9% to 16% ABV, putting Champagne squarely in the middle. 

Is Champagne stronger than vodka?

Not even close. Champagne has around 12% ABV, whereas most vodkas contain around 40% ABV

Does Champagne get you drunk faster?

This is one of those common drinking myths. How fast you get drunk depends on a lot of things, like how much you drink, how often, your gender, weight, and genetics. You also have to factor in the alcohol by volume (ABV) content of what you’re drinking. 

Some people believe that the carbonation in champagne means alcohol gets absorbed into your bloodstream faster, but there’s no conclusive evidence of that. 

Bottom line? Champagne is alcoholic, which means it carries with it all the same risks and adverse health outcomes as any other type of alcohol. 

Interested in learning more about that? Check out these resources:

Two Champagne flutes clinked together
Does Champagne have alcohol? PIN

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