Club and resort sommeliers, beverage directors and bartenders are witnessing a notable shift in member preference—sparkling wine is gaining prominence over its illustrious counterpart, Champagne.
This trend is reflective of broader changes in the market and a fresh interest in good-quality, reasonably priced options. Also, a bubbly drink, like a cocktail, spritzer, or a glass of sparkling wine, makes any occasion feel festive, from member events to special toasts.
It’s important for club and resort beverage teams to notice this change and to update their wine selections to satisfy better what members and guests want.
Behind the Sparkle
The sparkling wine category has experienced double-digit growth since 2021. This surge in consumption presents an opportunity for clubs looking to enhance their offerings, particularly as dining experiences like Sunday brunches continue to be popular. Consider adding a new twist to mimosas, French 75s, scarlet spritzes, or peach Bellinis—whatever the creation, your members will appreciate the effort.
Several factors contribute to sparkling wine’s rising popularity. After years marked by global challenges and economic strain, members seek reasons to celebrate yet remain mindful of their finances. Sparkling wine, traditionally less costly than Champagne, has emerged as a high-quality but affordable option. Let’s examine some of the trendsetting wine-producing countries that can add a some glitz to your club’s wine list.
Furthermore, the global wine landscape is witnessing an expansion, with new producers and regions putting out “sparkling” vibes right now. Established brands are also intensifying their marketing efforts, further propelling this category.
Among the burgeoning regions, England stands out. English sparkling wines, acclaimed for their quality and crafted using the méthode champenoise (a production method akin to that of Champagne), have been lauded in international competitions. Such accolades have elevated their status, making them viable competitors to traditional Champagne houses.
Similarly, Franciacorta from Italy’s Lombardy region offers an esteemed alternative, appreciated by connoisseurs for its adherence to the traditional production methods and competitive pricing compared to recent hikes in Champagne prices. Beyond Europe, Tasmania’s burgeoning sparkling wine industry is gaining momentum, recognized for premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes—varietals foundational to the world’s finest Champagnes.
Cava, from Spain, also deserves mention for its growing popularity. While it’s produced using the traditional method, Cava incorporates unique grape varieties, offering complexity and food-pairing versatility, all at a consumer-friendly price point.
These emerging sparkling wines share a common trait: they may not legally bear the “Champagne” label, but they offer comparable quality through similar production techniques, often at a fraction of the cost. For businesses, this trend isn’t merely about diversifying the wine list. It’s an opportunity to innovate pairing menus, integrate global wine trends into member experiences, and provide educational moments about the origins, production methods, and unique characteristics of these wines.
Embracing the sparkling wine trend is not just a passing nod to market dynamics; it’s a strategic move. By understanding the reasons behind this shift and integrating diverse, quality sparkling selections, businesses can invigorate their beverage programs, cater to contemporary consumer preferences, and ultimately, drive member satisfaction and loyalty. The effervescent allure of sparkling wine is more than a trend; it’s a testament to the industry’s adaptability and consumers’ unceasing desire for celebratory experiences balanced with value and quality.