What is the difference between Prosecco and Cava?

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In the 1980s and 1990s, Cava was the sparkling wine of choice.  For those on a budget, or for whom a bottle of Champagne was a bit too expensive Cava was your bottle. Since the 2000s, Prosecco has overtaken Cava in terms of popularity. In fact, in 2016, Brits drank one third of the total global production of Prosecco, such is its’ appeal.  A heated debate amongst sparkling wine connoisseurs has raged ever since – so what is the difference between Prosecco and Cava?

There are two main differences between Prosecco and Cava. The first involves the grapes used. The second is around the fermentation process used.

Let’s start with Cava

The difference between Prosecco and CavaCava is a sparkling wine from Spain, which comes as a white wine or as a rosé. Its’ provenance goes as far back as 150 years, but it really only became known as Cava during the 1970s. The grapes typically used in the production of Cava are Parellada, Macabeo and Xarello. Prestige bottles of vintage Cava might use Pinot Noir or Chardonnay grapes. Like many sparkling wines, Cava can either be sweet or dry.

Like Cornish Pasties and Champagne, there are regulations around what can officially be referred to as Cava. It has to originate from a particular region in Spain and have been produced in a specific way.

Most Cava wines come from the Catalonia region near Barcelona. Interestingly, most follow the same traditional method used for Champagne. This is to say that a second fermentation actually takes place inside the bottle.

Initial fermentation is essentially the ‘base coat’ with a defined amount of sugar and yeast. The second, much more exciting fermentation, takes place in the bottle in which it will be sold.  This hopefully gives the perfect amount of fizz and increases the alcohol level. Finally the sediment of defunct yeast cells, which gives Champagne its more complex flavours, is removed in the Cava through a process known as disgorgement.


First difference between Prosecco and Cava is that we have now moved to Northern Italy to find the origins of the Prosecco wine. It is made from Glera grapes which grow in the Veneto region. The Veneto region can be found in the North East of Italy, stretching from the Dolomites to the Adriatic, and encompassed major Italian conurbations such as Verona and Venice.

The word ‘Prosecco’ can be traced back as far as the 17th century, so much further back than Cava. What is interesting is that the process used to make Prosecco did, for long enough, result in poor quality wine. It was also really sweet, and bore little resemblance to the Prosecco we know and love today.

In 2017, some Proseccos are almost identical to Champagne. Unlike Champagne, however, Prosecco is much fizzier and has many more bubbles thanks to a second fermentation which takes place in a tank. Once this second fermentation settles, the clear wine is pumped off before being bottled under pressure, creating the bubbles. No sediment, and much cleaner than Cava or Champagne.

In terms of budget, both Cava and Prosecco have the edge over Champagne, in that they are much more affordable.

Whether you want to celebrate with a sparkling wine which originates from Spain, Italy or France…  We hope you’ll now have a better understanding of the difference between Prosecco and Cava.

Testing the difference between Prosecco and Cava – Our Recommendations

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva Non Vintage, 75 cl (Case of 6)

Difference between Prosecco and CavaCampo Viejo Cava Brut Reserve is an extremely popular Cava, created from three types of grape – Xarello, Parellada and Macebeo. As you would imagine the grapes are carefully selected and processed at a controlled temperature. It then undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle as per the traditional method. It is then aged as a brut reserve for 18 months.

Campo Viejo is a robust, well-balanced sparkling cava with golden hints, a greenish-yellow colour and woody hints.

Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Non Vintage Prosecco DOC, 75 cl (Case of 3)

Difference between Prosecco and Cava - Buy NowThis Bottega Non Vintage Prosecco is a delightfully light, fragrant sparkling wine. The grapes are carefully picked from early Autumn onwards, pressed and then vinified so the must is separated from the grape skins. The resulting juice is placed in special steel containers where it then goes through the fermentation process with further yeasts added. A second fermentation then starts at a controlled temperature so as to preserve the scent of the original grapes.

This results in a brilliantly clear sparkling wine, pale straw yellow in colour, with lots of bubbles and a rich persistent foam.

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