New World Sparkling Wine | What’s On Offer?

Harry Lambourne
9th October 2023

Everyone knows about the famous names in old world sparkling wine, but what about new world sparkling wine?

The famous French fizzy wines of Champagne and Crémant are clamoured after across the globe. Then, Cava in Catalonia has built up a reputation for both rich, complex bubbles which emanate from fresh, accessible wines. Of course, there is also the UK’s favourite fizz of Prosecco. Veneto’s classic vivifying sparkling wine is guzzled by the gallon up and down the British Isles. However, sparkling wine doesn’t stop in the old world. There are loads of styles of new world sparkling wine out there.

Sparkling Wine All in a Row | New World Sparkling Wine
Who doesn’t love sparkling wine?

The names might not be as familiar and they might not be so readily available, but if you’re keen to seek out a new taste sensation, or one that seems to emulate something you already love, then this article can be your guide to the exciting arena of new world sparkling wine.

While everyone new world nation will have their own offerings, there are a few new world sparkling wines which we think stand out. Our picks should be easy enough to get your hands on a bottle, but they’ll also be incredibly tasty. If you fancy freeing yourself from Freixenet, or have found you Laurent-Perrier lacking of late, then it’s time to try something new.

We will pick a few of our favourite new world sparkling winemaking areas and give you some insight into the region, the method of production, the tastes you can expect and the similarities between it and more familiar styles of sparkling wine. Let’s start discovering your new flavour of fizz.

New World Sparkling Wine – California

Napa Valley Wine Region | Californian Wine Region
Napa Valley Wine Region, California

First up on our list of new world sparkling wines is California. This mammoth winemaking region is the driving force of the American wine industry and has built up a reputation for taking on the giants of French wine, so it should come as no surprise that it sought to emulate the wines of Champagne.

Californian sparkling wine has been on something of a journey. The original versions failed to garner international acclaim, but this wouldn’t last forever.

The first sparkling wines were produced in Sonoma, back in the 1890s. The grapes which were available for these new world sparkling wines included Riesling, Muscatel and Traminer. Prohibition put a stop to these budding fizz-fanatics and it wouldn’t be until the 1960s when sparkling wine production in earnest started up again in California, (MacNeil 691).

The rise in production was due to increased plantings of Chardonnay which were rare before this time. The Californian winemakers which looked to include Chardonnay in their bubbles were rewarded. These wines were an improvement on the ones which came before. From here, Pinot Noir was included. The other Champagne grape of Pinot Meunier is added less frequently. Winemakers were aiming to emulate the great wines of Champagne and found great success in these new world sparkling wines. 

The new world sparking wines don’t taste quite the same. The differences in terroir result in a different final product, but they do possess many of the same expertly crafted structural components due to similar winemaking processes. The ageing potential, the creamy quality, the powerful acidity and texture and body.

These are the best of the best in terms of the sparkling wines of California. You can get a lot of mass-produced fresh, fruity and unexciting examples which tend to be produced via the Charmat or Tank Method. However, the kind we are interested in are a step above.

Indeed, the new world sparkling wines from this region were so good that they got the attention of some of the world’s most notable Champagne houses. The land in the Champagne region is basically all accounted for. The best vines aren’t for sale. California is different.

These Champagne Houses saw vast expanses of land and the potential for great new world sparkling wine. This led to Moët & Chandon buying 200 acres of land in Napa Valley in 1973, (MacNeil 692). Similar moves were made by the Catalan Cava giants behind Freixenet and Cordorníu.

Another interesting perk to California comes from the region’s favourable climate. Vintage sparkling wine can be made in California every year. This is compared to about 30-40% of the time in Champagne, (MacNeil 692), who more frequently produce Non-Vintage Champagne.

All in all Californian fizz is a wonderful alternative if you’re a lover of Champagne and Crémant. You’ll get fresh fruit flavours that blend with notes of toast and brioche, into a decadent and creamy finish. You’ll also be able to find the style that’s right for you. They make all the familiar formats of fizz. Blanc de Blancs, Blancs de Noirs and Rosé sparkling wines can all be found via the traditional method.

New World Sparkling Wine – South Africa

Walker Bay - South African Wine
Walker Bay – Home of Great South African Wine

Next on our list of new world sparkling wine destinations is South Africa. Sparkling wine thrives in cool climates, so you could be forgiven for thinking that it wouldn’t thrive in the baking hot African sun. Temperatures in South Africa regularly exceed 30 degrees and this could lead to grapes losing their acidity and any sort of new world sparkling wine losing their crisp and refreshing nature.

However, there are cooling influences which can help to mitigate the heat. Winemakers will often plant at altitude to help cool the vines and South Africa’s winemaking landscape is filled with peaks and valleys which allows for a great variety in altitude and aspect.

There is also the deeply beneficial Benguela Current and Cape Doctor which work in tandem to cool vineyards. The former runs up from the Antarctic Ocean and brings cooling winds along with it. Then, the latter is a local wind pattern which blows these cooling winds deep inland. These will drop down the temperatures on land which can help to contribute to fresh and acidic wines.

One such example of this is the new world sparkling wine which is known as the ‘Method Cap Classique‘. The French flair to the name gives you an indication as to which method of production is used. This particular form of new world sparkling wine is produced via the traditional method, as is the case with Champagne. It began in 1973, when winemaker Frans Malan used Chenin Blanc grapes to make a sparkling wine inspired by their travels to France in the late 1960s.

From here, the Method Cap Classique has evolved into a deeply complex and delicious concoction. You will often find the classic Champagne grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Champagne, but Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are also used regularly. It is also often aged on lees for at least 12 months.

This means you’ll get the familiar tasting notes to Champagne, which include fresh fruit flavours of red fruit, green apple, pear, brioche and toast. However, thanks to the addition to Chenin Blanc you’ll see something similar to the famous sparkling wines of the Loire Valley. This means Crémant de Loire, but also the specialities of Chinon, Saumur and Savenniéres.

New World Sparkling Wine – Australia & New Zealand

Moving further south, we arrive at Australia and New Zealand. Both are responsible for some high-quality new world sparkling wine. Both produce wines which share characteristics with some old world classics. Let’s dive into them in a bit more detail.

Australia

There are a few places which stand out in Australia as regions which have a great potential for new world sparkling wine. The first which we will look at is Victoria. It is the smallest of Australia’s mainland wine regions, but possesses a rich and varied terroir. This is partly due to the Great Dividing Range which splits the area in two and creates a multitude of mountains and hills which provides a variety in aspect and altitude. The latter is particularly handy for creating bracing acidity which is so desirable for sparkling wine.

Great Dividing Range
Great Dividing Range – Victoria, Australia

Three areas of Victoria are particularly renowned for their cool climate, as they also benefit from cooling sea breezes. These are the Yarra Valley, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula. You’ll find excellent quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay here, so it follows that fizz has thrived as well. In fact, Moët & Chandon actually founded Chandon Australia in the Yarra Valley.

Another area for Aussie sparkling wine is Tasmania. The island sits to the south of the mainland and is a perfect microcosm for sparkling wine. The small island has a cool maritime climate, with a good degree of altitude. It is also very sunny which helps allow for long periods of measured ripening. You get wines which maintain their acidity, but also have a great flavour concentration.

New Zealand

Now, we move to New Zealand. As you’re probably aware of their penchant for acidic Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as cool, maritimes climate then you should be anticipating the fact that they are well equipped to produce excellent sparkling wine. Indeed, Cloudy Bay, (who were instrumental in establishing New Zealand as a global player), have a few excellent examples of traditional method fizz from the familiar grape varieties.

However, we will focus our attention elsewhere as we look to more of a regional speciality that is more unique to the island of New Zealand. Our focus for new world sparkling wine from this great new world winemaking nation is sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular white wine grapes, but it is rarely found as a single varietal sparkling wine. However, New Zealand have began to excel on this front. Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic grape variety, so winemakers will want to avoid ageing on lees, or in oak, as this would drown out the aromatic qualities. So, there are generally two methods of production that would be used for this style of wine.

They may use the Tank Method, which is employed in the classic Prosecco wines or the sparkling Piedmontese Asti. Here, still wines are locked into pressurised stainless steel tanks. In these thanks, they undergo secondary fermentation. The other method is the ancestral method, which is frequently used for Pet Nat. Here, the base still wines are just locked into a bottle with a crown cap. The trapped carbon dioxide creates the wines effervescence. This is more common with natural wines.

These new world sparkling wines from New Zealand are in many ways exactly what you’d expect from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The methods of secondary fermentation really help to retain the varietal characteristics which wine lovers look for from this grape variety and winemaking nation. Fresh herbal and vegetal notes will sit amongst big bombs of tropical and citrus fruit flavours. If you like flavours such as kiwi, passionfruit, grapefruit and lime then these wines are absolutely for you!


We hope that you’ve enjoyed our review of some of our favourite nations to produce new world sparkling wine. These are a wonderful place to begin or continue your journey of discovery into the infinitely rewarding world of wine. Yet, you shouldn’t stop here! There are a ton more new world winemaking nations and each has their own styles of new world sparkling wine.

Have you ever had a Tank Fermented Torrontés from Argentina, or a bracing Sekt style of Riesling from Canada? Whatever your particular niche is, there is a sparkling wine for you. Don’t stick to that £5 Cava from the supermarket, branch out and you will be rewarded.


If you want to treat yourself, or someone else in your life, don’t forget to check out our Monthly Wine Subscription and Gift Wine Subscription products. Each month you’ll receive hand-picked wines from small, independent family winemakers who focus on organicbiodynamic and sustainable viticulture. Learn more here:


If you’d simply just like to learn more about wine, (and not just the unexpected winemaking countries)l from the comfort of your own home, be sure to check out our online blog and sign up to our mailing list. We’re always looking to teach people about different regions, grape varieties and producers. Beyond that, you can expect to find a whole host of playlists, cocktail cards and recipe cards packed full of wine pairing ideas. There might even be some special offers along the way so make sure that you don’t miss out!

Sign Up To Our Mailing List

Never miss out on great content or special offers again!

Join our mailing list to get exclusive access to our weekly wine offers

20 mixed cases of wine a week on sale at cellar door prices