This holiday season, there is little to no doubt that you will attend or throw a party during which someone will pop the quintessential party favor. Nothing is more festive than a little sparkly, and considering the high price and inedibility of gemstones, that sparkly is most likely going to come to your party in the form of Champagne or sparkling wine.
This brings us to an interesting question: What exactly is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine, besides the obvious, which is that Champagne hails strictly from the region of Champagne itself? Only Champagne can come from Champagne; however, champagne can come from the U.S. just as long as that first letter remains lower case, because there are no laws in place to keep American winemakers from doing so. That is, except for “Champagnes” produced in the U.S. before the year 2006. They may keep the Champagne name—big ‘C’ and all—provided the label also lists the actual state of origin. (For example, Korbel California Champagne, which grew to fame in the early twentieth century and remains popular today.)