Explaining the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championship

Champagne vs. Prosecco.

It’s the battle that defines the modern era of the wine industry. And we’d argue that there’s no clear winner on either side just yet.

Prosecco certainly has the raw sales figures in its corner. And with its growing popularity in countries like the United States, we’re likely to see demand for the wine increase in the coming years.

But of course, Champagne still has the prestige vote behind it. The simple fact is that people’s perceptions of the two wines will still lead to Champagne coming out on top in terms of quality of desirability, even if those perceptions aren’t always correct.

Oh, and by the way…

There just so happens to be a bunch of different sparkling wines that deserve to be in the conversation but never get the due that they deserve.

It would be nice for them to get their day in the limelight instead of having the whole sparkling debate dominated by Champagne and Prosecco.

The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC) may just be the event to make that happen. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the event and what it might mean for sparkling wine producers.

What is the Event?

Each year, the CSWWC brings together four renowned sommeliers from all over the world to judge sparkling wines.

Producers are able to enter their wines for consideration, with the event having several categories so that all wines can receive their due.

Of course, Champagne is one of the main focuses, as the name of the event implies. The wine is the most prestigious and familiar sparkling wine, so it’s natural that it would lend its name to such an event. Even so, the event sees hundreds of producers of all sorts of sparkling wines enter each year.

What are the Conditions for Entry?

There are very few conditions for entry, which makes this one of the most open wine competitions in the world. Literally any sparkling wine that’s available commercially can be a part of the contest.

That goes for wines that are available on a very limited basis. As long as a regular consumer can but the bottle, it’s eligible for entry into the CSWWC.

All a producer has to do is register their details on the CSWWC website and they can enter their wine for consideration.

Of course, there’s a deadline for each year’s competition. For the 2019 edition, winemakers had to submit their entries by 18th April 2019. We imagine that there will be a similar deadline for the 2020 edition of the event.

All entrants are required to pay a £149 entry fee, which goes down to £139 if the entrant pays their fee early enough. They will then need to send a sample of their wine to the competition judges so that they can determine if it’s worthy of entry to the competition.

How Does the Judging Work?

As mentioned, the event features a panel of four judges, each of whom is a respected expert in the field of sparkling wine.

Each tasting takes place under blind conditions, which means the judges never know which wine they’re drinking. In fact, the CSWWC is so resolute in this desire to keep the taste tests blind that they do not even allow the judges to see any bottles.

Instead, they simply get coded glasses that bear no indication of where the wine came from.

As mentioned, there are also specific categories for wines which are based on location and origin. This means that every country has its own competition, with smaller competitions for specific wine types.

In the first round of judging, the judges will award gold, silver, or bronze medals to selected wines based on their location.

From there, every gold medallist gets retasted so that the judges can select the single best wine from each class.

The winning wines from this round of judging will then compete against each other on a regional basis, assuming that there are enough wines to do this. For example, there will usually be a number of Italian sparkling wines spread across several classes that receive Gold medals. These will compete against each other to see which one comes out on top for the entire country.

From here, a national champion gets selected for every country.

Then, there are two major competitions.

The first brings all of the Best in Class selections together to compete against each other. The judges award decide on six World Champions, one for each style of wine.

The second brings together all of the National Champions to compete against each other for the title of best sparkling wine in the world. That wine gets awarded the title of Supreme World Champion.

What Happened During the 2019 CSWWC Event?

The 2019 CSWWC is taking place as we speak and we’ve seen all national champions declared. Right now, we’re waiting on the result for the best sparkling wine in the world for 2019.

However, the results are certainly in last year…

And we know you want to know the Supreme World Champion for 2018.

It was the Louis Roederer NV Brut Premier in Magnum. So, in 2018 it looks like Champagne won the day against all other types of sparkling wine.

In Italy, the national champion was the Guido Berlucchi 2011 ’61 Nature in Magnum. And surprisingly, this is not a Prosecco.

It’s a Franciacorta, which is a sparkling white wine that often falls into the background because of the success of Prosecco.

The Final Word

Champagne may have come out on top in the CSWWC in 2018. And it may surprise you to discover that it was a Franciacorta that gave the eventual winner its sternest Italian test.

But the battle still rages on for the 2019 title.

There are a couple of Gold Medal winning Italian wines that may be in with a shout of taking the title. But we’re going to have to wait a few more weeks to find out the eventual winner.



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