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Cheap Champagne for Wedding Toasts

Finding a cheap Champagne for your wedding toasts can be an important step in controlling the rapidly escalating costs of your wedding reception. If you are even a bit traditional in terms of weddings then the toast portion of the evening is critical and is usually accompanied by a Champagne or sparkling wine to help lift the celebratory spirit of the event.

Planning for this part of the eventing is often the source of a lot of stress because of money. Even cheap Champagne is gonna cost you $35 and up easily, per bottle. If you've got a lot of guests, this can add up quick. Well the good news is, truth be told, unless you've got a lot of snooty friends and family who will turn up their nose at anything less than Cristal, most people don't give a second thought to what exactly is in their glass, they are just happy to be celebrating with you and thrilled to have a glass of bubbly placed in their hand.

This fact makes this a bit easier on you. It opens the door to lots of options that will still supply your guests with a flowing supply of delicious bubbly while keeping your total cost down.


So What Are the Options for Cheap Champagne for Wedding Toasts?

cheap champagne


Champagne doesn't have to be "Champagne"!
Champagne is certainly the most famous, and almost always the priciest, sparkling wine in the world. Originating from the region of the same name, Champagne in France, sparkling wine has been produced here for centuries and is pretty much synonymous with bubbly. However, because the general quality is high, the demand is high and the winemaking process is intense and drawn out, the average price of Champagne is almost always well above most other wine producing regions. Not that great Champagne isn't worth the splurge, it can be one of the most profound wines on the planet. But for serving a bunch of tipsy guests at your wedding, unless you are Jay-Z and Beyonce, not many of us can afford cases and cases of real Champagne. But don't fret! Champagne is not the only good bubbly on the planet. You don't need Dom on your table to make you feel like a King. Sparkling wine from a number of different regions around the world has come a long way in recent decades. You can find some downright cheap Champagne substitutes that are delicious and easy to drink. No, some may not have the depth, complexity and age-worthiness of the best Champagne. But who cares? You aren't holding onto these bottles for decades only to savor over a night with a few friends and good food. You are drinking them now, with a big group of happy, excited people celebrating your wedding.

California and Washington Sparkling Wines: One of the most available and affordable options is sparkling wine from California or Washington. Dozens (hundreds?) of producers now make oceans of sparkling wine in the golden state and its northern neighbors and some of it is quite good. Yes, there are expensive options, but there are many very acceptable and palatable options that are quite cheap. For example, there are many options under $20 a bottle from producers like Chateau Ste. Michelle, Schramsberg and others. All of these are perfectly fine for a festive toast. If you want to splurge a bit more, the next tier sparkling wines can still be under $30 and compare favorably with many Champagnes.

Prosecco and other Italian Bubbly: Prosecco is almost as popular now as Merlot was 10 years ago! A couple decades ago almost no one talked about this sparkling wine from Italy, but now its all over the place. The great thing about Prosecco is that it is usually downright dirt cheap! You can find the best examples for well under $25 and many are closer to $10. They tend to be lighter in body, less doughy and yeasty, than Champagne and many other Champagne-styled sparkling wines. But thats a good thing. They are a great thirst quencher, they are refreshing, and they go well with just about any appetizers or finger foods your guests are snacking on. Note that they come in two basic styles. Frizzante wines are the traditional, only slightly sparkling wines, while Spumante wines have more gas pressure, meaning they have a richer mousse, more like a Champagne. Most Prosecco are dry or very close to dry but there are some that have a bit of sweetness to them, so taste a few and find what you like.

cheap champagne for wedding toasts

Sparkling Burgundy: One sparkling wine that isn't well known is sparkling wine from Burgundy in France, often called Cremant de Bourgogne. These are made from the same grapes that make most of Champagne, Pinot Noir (yes, there are red grapes in Champagne) and Chardonnay. They are usually under $20 for most examples and can be outstanding Champagne substitutes. Most wine shops and markets now have one or two options.

Sparkling Loire Valley Wines: One of my favorite sparkling wine options are the sparkling wines from the Loire Valley of France. My favorites are those made from Chenin Blanc, particularly those from the village of Vouvray. You can find several examples of these in marketplace nowadays and they are great values. Most are a bit fruitier and lighter than Champagne but can have a wonderful, silky texture. Even the very best (the Vouvray Petillant from Domaine Huet) is under $25 and you can find examples around $10. Some are dry and some are slightly sweet so taste around and find what suites your taste best.

Others: There are slews of other sparkling wines from around the world. An important one to check for is Cava from Spain. While some of the cheapest ones can be swill, some are incredible values. For example, the Cristallino Brut and Extra Dry Cavas are widely available (every Whole Foods around here has butt-loads of them!) and are downright cheap. They are generally well under $10 (around $7.99 for the most part) and they are nothing to be ashamed of. They are full in flavor and very tasty. There are tons of other options from France, Spain, Italy, even Germany and beyond, so be on the lookout.

"Inexpensive" Champagne
You are never going to find real Champagne in the price range that you can find the best sparkling wine options from elsewhere in the world (Cava, Sparkling Vouvray, California Sparkling wines, Prosecco, etc.). However, there are many options for Champagne that are more affordable than others. Sure, you can go with the mass produced brands you see everywhere, like Veuve Cliquot Brut, Moet et Chandon, Piper, and more. Even though they are affordable, many of these are just that, mass produced and not very interesting. For the same lower Champagne prices (we are talking $35-45 range) you can find some outstanding options from smaller "grower" Champagne houses. What is available in your area will vary but look around and try a few. The lower level wines from outstanding small producers like Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Camille Saves, Milan, Gimonnet, Gonet, Vilmart and many more, can be outstanding and much more interesting and full of character than their mass produced counterparts. So if it must be Champagne, and you can afford it, these "lower" Champagnes can offer outstanding value for what they are.

Does It HAVE to be Bubbly?
Who made up the rule that you have to toast with sparkling wine anyway? I certainly don't know. Sure, Champagne is festive and fun. But so is any wine. Who can't feel relaxed and joyful with a glass of wine in their hand? So if tradition isn't as important to you, scrap the whole Champagne for wedding toasts idea and just serve what you want. Serve a fun, refreshing white. Serve a sweet desert wine. Serve a Moscato d'Asti. Serve what you like. Most still wines (wines without bubbles) will cost you a lot less on average than sparkling wines. If you do a bit of exploring, you can find wines under $10 a bottle that are still delicious and perfectly suited to your wedding.


Still not sure what to serve? Well simply follow the old adage, "If it tastes good, then it is good." Go out and select a handful of bottles in your price range and have a little pre-wedding wine tasting. Blindly taste all the wines with your fiancé, friends and family. Cast votes for the best one or give them scores. Let your mouth decide which is the best cheap Champagne option for your wedding.

Cheers!

Go back to the Do It Yourself Wedding Food & Drink section.




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