Wine 101: Sparkling Wit & Wisdom

Well, we’ve almost arrived at New Year’s Eve when many of us will be popping the corks of Canadian sparkling wines, Spanish Cavas and French Champagnes (amongst others). I’ve assembled a cavalcade of sparkling wit and wisdom from around the internet, to assist with your shopping, enhance your sipping, and if you’re stuck for conversation at a New Year’s party, there’s plenty of fodder for you here as well.

For your reading pleasure:

Let’s get right to the nuts and bolts of the various ways sparkling wine can be made. Wine for Dummies (which is a recommended read for those getting into the good stuff) clearly and concisely offers various methods of producing sparkling wines.

Over at The Daily Beast, Kayleigh Kulp offers 10 ways you can improve your Champagne experience, passing along hearty truths like pink bubble doesn’t mean it’s of any lesser quality, and (yup!) you can even decant the stuff!

Bloomberg gently tut-tuts its readers on appropriate glassware for sparkling, doing away with the coupe and the flute in favour of ‘regular’ wine glasses (while dispelling a popular myth involving Marie Antoinette).

Back on the home front in Toronto at The Star, wine critic Gord Stimmell shares 48 sparkling wines with 25 “longtime friends, politicians, wine lovers, teachers, scientists, (and his) former nanny,” only to find their final take on the wines are much in line with his own.

A rather bizarre story from across the pond has Russian divers drinking Champagne around a New Year’s tree underwater, at the bottom of the almost-frozen Shchitovaya Bay in the Ussuriysky Gulf. Say THAT five times fast!

For your listening pleasure:

St. Vincent’s Champagne Year is definitely for one of those low-key nights….

… where St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ Champagne Hallowe’en should get the crowd jumpin’ at any time of year.

Of course, many prefer Champagne from a Paper Cup, just like Death Cab For Cutie in this bootleg live recording.

For your viewing pleasure:

When talking about Canadian sparkling wine, Summerhill Pyramid Winery is always one of the first names to come up, their Cipes line of bubble is the stuff of legend. Since great wine is almost always made in the vineyard, why not take a tour of Summerhill’s with Anthony Gismondi?

Admire the pros when they saber a bottle of sparkling wine? Here’s Steve Edwards, now the director at Vancouver’s Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, with an easy how-to.

Of course, that’s not nearly as entertaining as a compilation of sparkling wine fails, now is it?

And finally, speaking of fails, this is possibly the best evidence of why you should never try to make sparkling wine by 1. Using a SodaStream machine 2. With Beaujolais Nouveau 3. When you are a child.


Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.