Champagne and other sparkling wines are typically derived from a blend of grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.
Champagne comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France, and is the most famous sparkling wine. Only sparkling wine from this region may be referred to as "Champagne". Sparkling wine from all other regions in the world is simply referred to as "sparkling wine". Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. produce some fantastic sparkling wines.
Sparkling wine has smells of spiced apple and ripe pear. They tend to also taste of apples and pears, alongside citrus and strawberry. The New World sparkling wines tend to be fruitier than Old World Champagne, such as our Les Pionniers Champagne, which has a more subtle taste of nuts and yeast. The bubbles of sparkling wines are formed during a second fermentation process, where the winemaker takes still wine and adds yeast and sugar. They convert to carbon dioxide and alcohol, creating millions of bubbles. Sparkling wines and Champagnes are categorised in a confusing fashion, as Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec depending on their sugar levels. Extra brut means very dry, brut means dry, extra dry is slightly sweeter than brut and demi-sec means sweet.
If the wine is categorised as "vintage" then it means the grapes come from a single year, whereas "non-vintage" (NV) means they come from several different years. Vintage sparkling wines tend to be more expensive. They are associated with festivities and celebrations. However, improvements in technology have meant that sparkling wines have now come to the market at a more affordable price and can be enjoyed more as an everyday drink. Great affordable sparkling wine can be enjoyed in The Co-operative Fairtrade Sparkling Brut and Ŕose.
Welcome to The Co-operative Fairtrade wine section. The free to download attachments will provide further information on the Co-operative Fairtrade Wine Range and the benefits that the range has had on developing communities in Argentina, Chile and South Africa.
In 2001 The Co-operative broke new ground by launching the UK's first fairly-traded supermarket wine, and we haven't looked back since. At the time there were no internationally agreed criteria for wine to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, so we worked with Traidcraft the UK's leading fairtrade organisation, to set up a trading relationship with the Los Robles co-operative in Chile.
After the establishment of a criteria for Fairtrade Wine in 2004 The Co-operative began to work with the Du Toitskloof co-operative in South Africa, helping them to gain Fairtrade accreditation which they achieved in 2005. Shortly after, The Co-operative was then able to launch its own range of Fairtrade wine from Du Toitskloof throughout its UK stores.
Today our range of wines carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark comes from all over the world, including Chile, Argentina and South Africa. Each of our Fairtrade wines tells a story; about struggling communities revived and renewed, about schools built, clean water supplied, and hope restored.
So when you're sipping our velvety Argentine red, enjoying a refreshing glass of our Chilean white, or celebrating with our Fairtrade Sparkling Brut, you can be sure that someone on the other side of the world is benefiting from a better deal that will improve their lives. Isn't that worth raising a glass to?
For more information on Fairtrade projects in Argentina, Chile and South Africa take a look at our Fairtrade wine notes.