Ask the Expert: Champagne 101

Winemaker Jennifer Wall of Barefoot Wine & Bubbly answers everything you need to know about serving champagne




Winemaker Jennifer Wall has crafted Barefoot Wine & Bubbly for the past 20 years. She has overseen the growth of the company’s product line to more than 30 wines and its emergence on the international stage. Barefoot is now the world’s second-largest and most-awarded wine brand.

Why is bubbly such a favorite for weddings?
Bubbly is the perfect choice for the traditional wedding toast and pairs perfectly with wedding cake. Further, with the growing popularity of sparkling wine, bubbly is a fun and festive choice to serve throughout your entire reception. With so many Barefoot Bubbly offerings, there is a bubbly perfect for every couple’s personal preference.

Barefoot Bubbly also has MINI’s in our two most popular types: Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato and Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée. These are cute, fun, affordable and a perfect choice for a wedding favor!

What is the most important thing a couple needs to know about serving bubbly?
Bubbly doesn’t have to be expensive! Most couples watch every dollar when planning their wedding and reception. Barefoot Bubbly is delicious and affordable. Bubbly cocktails can replace a full cocktail (liquor) bar, which can save the couple a lot of money while providing a fun and unique experience in a cost-effective way. Couples can experiment and create their own signature cocktail to serve at their wedding.

Advice for choosing a bubbly based on theme/style/personality?
I always recommend that a couple have a tasting session before their wedding to determine which bubbly types they want to serve. Invite your bridal party and have everyone vote on their top three choices.

I encourage folks to think beyond one type. In order to meet your guests’ varying tastes and preferences, select a dry Bubbly (Brut or Prosecco), a sweet type (Pink Moscato or Moscato Spumante) and something in between (Extra Dry or Sparkling Pinot Grigio).

Champagne isn’t the only bubbly — what are the others and the differences between them?
Bubbly from the Champagne region in France is called Champagne. French Champagne is often expensive and can be a difficult choice to serve at a reception as it can be cost prohibitive. Bubbly from Italy is called Prosecco and bubbly from Spain is called Cava. Barefoot Bubbly California Champagne is from the Central Valley in California. We also import and offer Barefoot Bubbly Italian Prosecco.

What does fusion mean?
People love flavor! They love it in their food and in their drinks. In response to this trend, we recently released a line of sparkling wines called Barefoot Bubbly Fusions available in Peach, Citrus, Tropical and Berry flavors. We make these sparkling wines using the same quality method we use to make our Barefoot Bubbly California Champagnes. Right prior to bottling we add natural flavors to enhance the aromas and flavors. Barefoot Bubbly Fusions are delicious alone and fun to use in a blended cocktail.

How do you determine what bubblies to pair with food?
Drier bubblies are most versatile when pairing with various food types. Brut Cuvées, Proseccos and Extra Drys are good choices to serve during appetizers, salads and other first courses. Sweeter bubblies are perfect to pair with wedding cakes and dessert bars.

Why are flutes used for bubbly?
Flutes are fun because they are etched to allow the bubbles to stream up from the bottom of the glass and create beautiful ribbons in your bubbly. Old-fashioned champagne glasses are perfect for speakeasy- and ’20s era-themed weddings. Traditional wine glasses allow you to swirl and enjoy the aromas of your bubbly. Mason jars and other glassware are a way to help customize your reception and make it more unique to the couple.

What do you suggest for a  “champagne bar”?
Champagne bars are becoming more popular and in fact often replace no-host liquor bars at receptions. In addition to offering a dry, sweet and semi-sweet bubbly, it’s good to add a flavored option as well. This is a good opportunity to incorporate your wedding theme or personal touch into your bar. Hawaiian theme? Add Barefoot Bubbly Tropical Fusions to your offering. Is the groom a Broncos fan? Add Barefoot Bubbly Citrus Fusion to the bar and prominently display the beautiful orange label.

Additionally, it’s fun to have various garnishes that guests can add to their bubbly. The choices are limitless. Examples are blueberries, pomegranate seeds and peach slices. They add color and when soaked in bubbly taste delicious!

Recipes

Vanilla Prosecco Cocktail
4 oz. Barefoot Bubbly
Prosecco
3/4 ounce ginger vanilla syrup, chilled
Lemon wedge
1 teaspoon each granulated sugar and cinnamon


Lemon Sparkle
1 1/2 oz. limoncello
1 1/2 oz. fresh sour mix
3 oz. Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée
Lemon twist
Fresh mint leaves

Additional recipes available at barefootwine.com/recipes.

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