Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Minute Bubbly Cocktail Party

Sure it's the 11th hour for New Year's Eve celebrations, but don't we all entertain that way these days?

This morning on San Diego's NBC 7/39, I did a live segment on how to create a fun interactive bubbly cocktail party with elements from your local grocery store. I actually spent about 30 minutes at Trader Joe's, picking up all the elements. The idea is to put together several complementary flavors of mixers and garnishes and let guests make their own drinks. Be sure to set out a shot glass so people know what they're doing!

Start by frosting the glasses with lemon sugar.

Add 1 ounce liqueur like:
Cointreau or Grand Marnier
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur or Lychee Vodka
Chambord or Raspberry Eau de Vie

Add 3 ounces of a fruity mixer:
Lemonade Concentrate at double strength
Tangerine Juice
Sparkling Cranberry Juice

Top off with 2 to 3 ounces favorite brut bubbly: Chandon Brut Classic
Fantinel Prosecco
Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava

Garnish with assorted fruits and herbs:

Cheers and have a safe New Year's Eve!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Coupe Comeback

It seemed in poor taste to be prattling on about champagne while half of San Diego County, where I live, was on fire. But now that most of the fire threat has passed, bring on the bubbly!

It seems that old-school champagne glasses, either called coupes or saucers, are making a comeback. Articles in both Food & Wine and the egalitarian Family Circle have touted the return of this retro style of glass. Uber-designer Marc Jacobs is leading the way, with his collections of crystal glasses for Waterford. Two of the designs I liked best -- the Elizabeth and the Irene -- were out of stock, though the Colette with its graceful swirl was available for $59.50 a stem.

The couple fell out of favor because its shallowness makes the bubbles in champagne disspate quickly. And like the martini glass, it's easy to wind up with half your drink on the floor.

Then again, as this Orrefors shot shows, the coupe is a beautifully simple shape, that has a feminine grace to it, as opposed to the tall champagne flute, which is definitely masculine. Though girly, says its quite unlikely that the coupe was modeled after the breast of either Marie Antoinette or Madame Pompadour, as legend goes.

One tittilating tale they don't disprove is the one about the prospective dancers for the Folies Bergere. The story goes that dancers whose breasts fit inside the glass had a shot of making the topless revue, those who overflowed were out of luck.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Bold & The Beautiful: Take the Class

I still remember my surprise at tasting Krug Champagne for the first time. It was exceedingly elegant, but at the same time offered richness of flavor and power that I'd never expected to find in a champagne glass. Or at least I didn't until I tasted sparkling shiraz from Australia.

If you're interested in exploring the gutsier side of champagne and sparkling wine, then come visit my class "The Bold & The Beautiful" at the upcoming San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. I'll be exploring some of my favorite intensely flavored sparkling wines and champagnes and pairing them with some deliciously unexpected foods.

Here are the details:
What: The Bold & The Beautiful
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
Date: Thursday Nov. 15
Place: San Diego Wine & Culinary Center
200 Harbor Drive (between 1st & 2nd)
Cost: $45 per ticket

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Only in Vegas

Apparently Laker star Kobe Bryant took conspicuous consumption to a whole new level recently at the glitzy premiere of the nightclub Blush in the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

According to a report on, Bryant noticed celeb poker player Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari order two bottles of Roederer's Cristal at $1,400 a pop.

Not to be outdone, Bryant ordered five bottles for himself and his wife Vanessa.

Esfandiari upped his ordered to 10.

Bryant ended the champagne shoot-out by ordering 15 bottles and then leaving the club.

I just wanna know who drank the $21,000 in bubbly the Bryants left behind??

P.S. In case you're wondering there's a hefty nightclub markup on Cristal. It's selling for a bargain price of $250 at

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Bubbly Bachelorette

I've always loved's listing of the best and most expensive champagnes each year, but now I have a whole new appreciation for web site. Apparently the clever editors at have decided that a woman who loves bubbly and knows her way around a restaurant menu is pretty date-able. Still, imagine my surprise at being named San Diego's most Eligible Bachelorette!

San Diego was ranked as the nation's seventh best city for singles in's annual State of the Singletons report (my title, not theirs.)

It's pretty flattering, but then again once I learned it was online, I've panicked every time my office phone rings and there's an unfamiliar male voice on the other end.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Good Karma

I was more than a little curious when I heard that a guy from San Diego had launched his own brand of sparkling wine. Patrick Wilson says he wanted to create a sparkling wine people could enjoy every day. I'm guessing he called it Karma since people associate it with the word "good."

Karma comes in a 187ml single serving bottles. It debuts at Elle Magazine's Style 360 Lounge during New York Fashion Week and goes on sale in nationally this month. But being the Bubbly Girl, I was able to get a preview.

Karma has a distinctive peach and melon aroma and flavor, which is what I expected since it's made from chenin blanc grapes from California's Central Coast. I like the taste, but for my palate, it's too fizzy -- a hallmark of a carbonated wine.

Since it's so bubbly on its own, I thought Karma would be perfect mixer in a sparkling cocktail. Here's my first effort:

Golden Karma
Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces Canadian Club Whiskey
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 to 3 ounces Karma sparkling wine

Add whiskey, marmalade and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Top off with sparkling wine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

What Champagne Do Master Sommeliers Drink?

I have a new little piece of jewelry: a red and silver pin from the Court of Master Sommeliers. I picked it up recently after 55 other wine lovers and I passed the introductory exam given at Tavern on the Green in New York City.

Fred Dexheimer, Brian Koziol, Laura Williamson and "dean" Wayne Belding - Master Sommeliers who know a frightful amount about wine - spent two days giving a whirlwind lecture on every major wine region in the world. We tasted 22 wines, evaluating them aloud on sight, aroma and taste in order to conclude what kind of wine it was, where it was made and when.

Ultimately, the test was easy, but at the same time, it wasn't in that it got rather detailed on points like villages in the Cru Beaujolais. At 4 p.m. we gathered in suspense, waiting for our names to be called, and knowing that not everyone passed.

Anticipating a celebration, the MSs served Joel Falmet, a grower champagne that I'd never tasted before. It's a well-regarded champagne made in limited quantities that wind up at restaurants or shops in NYC, such as Harlem Vintage., where the brut sells for $29.99. I'm including a picture of the label, courtesy of Pamala Baur, in case you ever spot it on a wine list.

Fortunately, my name was one of the first called! Did I ever savor the crisp, green apple taste of that champagne!

Then classmates Jason, Jennie, Kerianne, Gilat (high scorer on our test) and I strolled down Central Park West to Jean-Georges, where we celebrated, decompressed and laughed over a bottle of Duval-Leroy Rose.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Questions: Sulfites and Booze in Bubbly

A curious Bubbly Girl named Thelma wrote to me wondering about the amount of alcohol in a bottle of champagne and sulfites in wine. Since I had to do a bit of research, I figured I'd share it with the rest of you.

First, it's probably safe to remember that all 750 ml or 25 or so ounces in a bottle of bubbly contain alcohol. But it's true that 4 ounces of champagne aren't nearly as potent as 4 ounces of Cognac.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one 5-ounce glass of wine has the same amount of alcohol as 1.5 ounces of vodka or 12 ounces of beer. Doing the math, one bottle of champagne has the equivalent alcohol as drinking 7.5 ounces of hard liquor.

But when drinking bubbly you can't forget about the carbonation. Not only do those tiny bubbles tickle your nose; they also speed the alcohol into your system, giving it a more potent effect than the equivalent amount of still wine or vodka.

Moving on... sulfites are these naturally occurring substances, often found in small amounts in wine and beer as a natural byproduct of fermentation. They're also added to many foods like shrimp, frozen potatoes, dried fruit and wine, because they're a great preservative. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that added sulfites make 1 in 100 people itchy, short of breath or worse.

If added sulfites in wine are a concern, you may want to look into wines made with organic or biodynamic processes, and often minimal amounts of added sulfites. I'm not sure its possible to make sparklers sans sulfites, but a couple responsible producers include Albet i Noya in Spain, which makes an organic cava called Cava Can Vendrell and Fleury, the first champagne maker to go biodynamic in 1989.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tasting Parties Part 1: Chocolate

I'm gearing up for another segment on KNSD 7/39 this morning -- but at least I can get some sleep since it's for Streetside San Diego, which starts at 10 a.m.

The topic du jour is tasting parties -- a great way to combine fun with a little education. Tasting parties are about exploring one single food or drink and getting to know how its flavor changes depending on how or where it's made. The goal is finding what appeals to your palate.

I presented ideas for a chocolate tasting party, which can be done with chocolates made with different percentages of cocoa, which the range of Scharffen Berger Chocolates shows wonderfully. The line goes from a 41 percent cocoa milk chocolate to an 82 percent cocoa dark chocolate.

Then there's the Lake Champlain Select Origin chocolates, which show the differences between chocolates sourced from Tanzania, Sao Thome (an island off Africa) and Grenada.

Or if you want someone else to do the work for you, pick up an assortment of chocolate desserts from the best bakery in town. Michele Coulon Dessertier in La Jolla makes a range of mini choclate desserts from white chocolate and passion fruit tartlets to chocolate truffle cake to mini cheese cakes to bittersweet chocolate and cherry cake.

The chocolate theme inspired me to make up a fizzy chocolate cocktail, that recalls the old-fashion ice cream sodas my mom made working at College Pharmacy in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It goes upscale with in a champagne glass and sipped through a Christofle silver champagne straw. I know, the sake sounds weird, but trust me!

Chocolate Sake Soda

This would be divine with a bittersweet chocolate ganache as its base, but if you don't feel like making that, Hershey's chocolate syrup works just fine.

1 tablespoon chocolate ganache or syrup
1 ounce Kahlua coffee liqueur
4 to 5 ounces Zipang sparkling sake, chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla ice cream

Add chocolate ganache or syrup to a champagne flute. Next add the Kahlua and stir lightly to combine. Slowly add the sparkling sake, so it doesn't fizz over your glass. When the bubbles subside a bit, add the vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Maria Hunt "The Bubbly Girl" All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer White Wines

Sure I'm the Bubbly Girl, but you didn't think that meant I always drink wine with bubbles? You did? Oh, well sorry to burst your bubble.

Actualy I enjoy a range of well-made wines from all over the world, carbonated and otherwise.

Last Thursday, I shared some of my favorite Summer White Wines on this segment on the KNSD 7/39 morning show -- at 6:45 a.m.!

Since it's hot outside, summer is the time to drink wines that are both light on the alcohol (less than 14 percent) and high in acid, which makes your mouth water.

Here's the list of wines that I presented, along with some Super Sips.

Albarino -- A racy white wine from Rias Baixas region of Spain, albarin~o has flavors of ginger lime and kiwi. It's great with seafood, especially scallops.
Mar de Frades Albarin~o 2005, 16.99 at BevMo

Riesling -- This elegant and electric wine is best made in Germany, where it picks up flavors of peach, lime and minerals. Try it with sushi, sashimi or spicy Asian food.
Zilliken Riesling Butterfly 2005, $16.99 at BevMo
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Eroica 2006, $19.99 BevMo

Chenin Blanc -- This lush and refreshing wine is well known in France, where its made into fruity Vouvray, but they're also great from cool areas of California. Tasting of melons and honey, chenin blanc excels with rich seafood like lobster or grilled chicken.
Husch Chenin Blanc, $8.99 at BevMo
Francois Pinon Vouvray 2005, $16.99 at BevMo

Sauvignon Blanc - This is a clean tasting wine, classically made into Sancerre in France, but well-crafted all over the world, especialy in New Zealand. Its herbal and grapefruit flavors make it great with goat cheese and hard- to-pair veggies like asparagus.
Pastou Sancerre Cotes de Sury, $18.99 at BevMo
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2006, $13.99 at BevMo

Prosecco -- This crisp and fresh tasting grape grows best in the soaring hills east of Venice, Italy. With flavors of green apple and citrus, this gently sparkling wine is ideal with prosciutto ham and cheeses.
Fantinel Prosecco, $9.99 at BevMax
Zardetto Prosecco, $12.99 at BevMo

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Charmat, I'm Sure

Even though it's been a part of winemaking since the early 1900s, it took the Oxford English Dictionary nearly 100 years to add the word "Charmat" (shar-MOTT) to its esteemed list of official words.

As you lovers of bubbly may know, the Charmat process is one of the common ways that still wine is transformed into bubbly. Also known as the tank or bulk method, it was invented somewhere between 1907 and 1910 by a Frenchman named Eugene Charmat.

Wine is added to a temperature-controlled tank like the one above, along with some yeast and sugar. The tank is then closed. The yeast and sugar start to ferment, which causes CO2 gas to be released into the wine.

Charmat is faster and less expensive than methode champenoise and is also best for preserving delicate aromas and flavors found in some grapes. It makes wine with fewer bubbles than champagne.

So next time you enjoy a glass of Prosecco or Moscato d'Asti, be sure to toast Mr. Charmat.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lemon Sparkler -- Happy 4th of July

I've already dug my sparklers out for the Fourth of July - both the kind you light with a match and the ones that have corks. It should be hot, but what better way to cool off than with a crisp, lemony cocktail made with a splash of sparkling wine.

This Lemon Sparkler recipe comes from the folks at Barefoot Bubbly, a line of affordable, sip-by-the-pool wines that's part of the E & J Gallo empire. The lemon flavor comes from limoncello, a bittersweet lemon liqueur that's a traditional digestif all over Italy, but especially in the south.

Lemon Sparkler
1 1/2 oz limoncello

1 1/2 oz fresh sour mix

3 oz Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée

Lemon twist

Fresh mint leaves

Directions: Combine the limoncello and sour mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled martini glass. Top off with Barefoot Bubbly. Garnish with a long lemon twist & mint sprig.

If you don't get your fill during the day, The Winesellar & Brasserie, a well-stocked wine shop and restaurant in the Miramar area, is hosting a tasting called Champagne and Friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on the 4th. The exact wines are a secret, but judging from their ad, you can count on tasting something made by Gruet, a fine French style sparkling wine house based in New Mexico.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bubble Up!

I always love an excuse to talk about the Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui, a deep red , tart-sweet sparkling wine from Piedmont that tastes of roses, raspberries and cranberries. At Arterra in the San Diego Marriott Del Mar they're serving a potent ruby red Sangria made with Brachetto. Created by Tom Mastricola, the new general manager and resident mixlogist, it's sublime.

The hip new patio that surrounds the pool - complete with cabanas, mod furniture and a yummy menu of upscale comfort food -- makes a great place to down tall cold glass of sangria this summer.

In case you'd like to try it at home, here's the recipe:


2 raspberries
2 blueberries
2 strawberries
1 slice orange
1 slice lemon
1 ounce Landy Cognac
1/2 ounce creme de cassis
1/2 ounce simple syrup
splash fresh orange juice
2 to 3 ounces Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui

Add the berries to a 16-ounce bar mixing glass and muddle (smash) the berries to a juicy pulp. Add the orange and lemon slices. Add the Cognac, creme de cassis, simple syrup and orange juice and stir well to combine. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Top off with Brachetto.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Bubbly Book

It feels good to be blogging again.

First, I must apologize for having been absent for so long, but I've been up to something huge.

For the past few years, I've been working on a lifestyle book that would celebrate all the wonderful sparkling wines and champagnes I love from around the world.

Things started clicking in early spring when I started working with literary agents Jennifer de la Fuente and Frank Scatoni of Venture Literary. They were professional, encouraging and well-connected.

In early April, I signed a deal with Clarkson Potter to write a book on sparkling wine cocktail recipes and delicious appetizers that sing with any sparkling wine or champagne. Clarkson is considered one of the premier publishers of gorgeous and glossy lifestyle and cooking books; their authors include Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray and Giada di Laurentis. The book will be filled with beautiful color pictures as well as lots of practical information on how bubbly is made, how to pair it with everyday foods and great wines to taste. It's due out in August 2008, but I'll keep you updated.

After a whirlwind of shooting pictures and writing that ended on June 1, photographer Paul Body, some friends and I celebrated by cracking open a magnum of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.
I look forward to many more celebrations!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cava, Cava!

I was out wine shopping with my friend Kristi at a local grocery store this weekend when I stumbled on one bottle of Cava Can Vendrell sitting all by its loneseome on the shelf. I think I yelled "Oh my God" and grabbed the bottle.

I was so excited because it was the first time I'd ever seen a bottle of this organic cava by Albet I Noya. I thought it was a bargain at $18. Cava, which means "cave" in Spanish, is a sparkling wine made in the same method as champagne, but it using native grapes from Penedes named xarel-lo, macabeo and parellada. Josep Maria Albet I Noya, as their web site explains, is one of Spain's pioneers in making fine organic wines, dating back to the late 70s.

So I raced home with my prize, stuck it in the refrigerator and planned a cava-worthy meal of Spanish shrimp with grapes.

Turning on the computer while I waited, I found an email from a "Bubbly Chap" named Patrick and his wife Roso who live near Barcelona, Spain. She works for an Institute promoting cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, and in doing research found my site The Bubbly Girl.

How freaky and cool is that?? They were as thrilled to find someone in the US who loves bubbly as I was to hear from them. Every Friday, they celebrate what they call "Happy Friday" with a bottle of cava and different foods. They say there are lots of local stories about cava, like the one that promises if you dig a hole in the earth in Penedes, cava will run out of the ground.

I hope to get there one day soon to find out!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Other Dom

Who hasn't heard of Dom Perignon? But there's another Dom who's quite famous in the world of Champagne. Dom Ruinart also created champagne, and realized selling bubbly to Europe's high and mighty would make a fine business. His family founded what is the oldest house in Champagne in 1729.

As good as Ruinart champagne is, it's somewhat rare. So I was thrilled to discover their Blanc de Blancs on the wine list at Chive in downtown San Diego. And mon dieu, it was half-price, thanks to a Mad Monday wine special!!
The clear bottle of Blanc de Blancs was gorgeous and the wine was a revelation: incredibly elegant and light while still being round. It's rare and refreshing to find an old-school French bubbly that's so lithe and juicy with chardonnay fruit. It was perfect alone, but magical with a dish of seared scallops stuffed with chorizo.

After dinner, I moved over to the bar to meet a co-worker who had a guest named Stephen visiting from London. He works at the posh bar Artesian in the Langham Hotel -- which serves loads of bubbly and cocktails based on artisanal spirits.

The half-price Ruinart caught his eye too. "We sell this for 17 pounds a glass!"

Here we go again...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sweet Surrender Cocktail Recipe

OK, sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I've been a busy girl -- even more than normal.

One of my new activities is joining my first book club, informally known as the Best Book Club Ever. It's filled with smart, fun women, who are mostly attorneys or their wives. Our first book was My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, a very moving and controversial tale of a girl who was born in order to donate stem cells, and then bone marrow to her older sister who has a rare form of cancer.

Since I was longing for a bit of spring, I decided to create a girly, rose-scented cocktail to add some sparkle to our first meeting. I named it after a hot pink rose called Sweet Surrender. Here, finally, is the recipe:

Sweet Surrender aka Book Club-tinis
Makes 1 cocktail
2 tablespoons Stirrings 60 Petals Rose Essence
splash Torani raspberry syrup
Rotari Brut sparkling wine
candied rose petals

Add the rose syrup and a drizzle of raspberry syrup to a champagne flute. Top off with Rotari or another favorite brut sparkling wine. Add a few pieces of candied rose petals to the glass, they'll float up and down and make it extra bubbly.

I plan to sip a few of these while reading our next book, The Other Boelyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, a tale of political intrigue, romance and sibling rivalry set in the court of King Henry VIII.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Livin My Life Like It's Golden

I feel like I'm in sixth grade again.

I have been playing the song Golden by the amazing singer and songwriter Jill Scott incessantly this weekend.

I'd heard before, but it hit a chord when I heard it on TV paired up with the image of a perfectly golden glass of bubbly. Apparently, it's the theme song for "The Starter Wife" a new USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing. It's based on a book of the same name by Gigi Levangie Grazer that tells the story of a Hollywood exec's wife restarting her life after getting the heave-ho.

Married, divorced or happily single, this song celebrates the way we all should live. Is this the Bubbly Girl theme song or what?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Boa Cocktail Recipe

A good cocktail recipe can be hard to find, so I'll save you the trouble.

Here's how to make The Boa, the Valentine cocktail I mentioned earlier this week. It's slightly sweet with a sort of unseen power -- like a woman perhaps?

The Boa is just one of the unique wine-based cocktails that Lisa Redwine has created at Molly's Restaurant in the San Diego Marriott Marina, where she's the wine director and GM. Redwine (yes, her real name) was inspired by a similar cocktail she tasted on a trip to France.

The Boa Cocktail
Splash (1/2 ounce) Aqua Perfecta Raspberry Liqueur
5 ounces chilled sparkling wine
Float of Quady’s Elysium Black Muscat dessert wine
1 fresh raspberry
Pour raspberry liqueur in bottom of glass. Add sparkling wine slowly because it will foam. Top with Elysium. Garnish with fresh raspberry.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Site Feature: Bubbly FAQ

Ever wondered how to afford more champagne on a beer budget or how to stop mangling the pronunciation of methode champenoise?

Well, wonder no more: go check out a new feature called Bubbly FAQ on my web site The Bubbly Girl.

Now, the only thing missing is your question... If you've got something you're dying to know about bubbly, write to me at

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Divine Valentine Wine

It's not hard to figure out that I wholeheartedly recommend rose bubbly for Valentine's Day. Aaah, but which one?

I'm early to bed tonite because at 6:15 a.m. Monday, I'll be on KNSD 7/39 talking about romantic sparkling wines to serve on V-Day.

In case you're not up that early, here's the rundown:

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose One of the best kept secrets in France. Think strawberries on buttered toast. About $75
Domaine Chandon Brut Rose - A vivid and bold wine with lively flavors of plums and raspberries. About $17
Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui- A seductive sweet-tart wine with flavors of raspberries, cranberries and roses. About $18

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Champagne & Chocolate

I can't help but grimace whenever I read about people eating champagne with chocolate.

Actually, I have loved chocolate and champagne, but just once. It was at Trianon, Moet et Chandon's hospitality house in Epernay, France. The chef there paired a very subtle milk chocolate mousse with Nectar Imperial.

The rule is that the wine needs to be at least as sweet as the dessert for the pairing to work. Otherwise, the wine tastes sour and it doesn't do much for the food either.

But when the champagne is mixed with the chocolate in a truffle, it's a whole different story. I'm mad about anything San Francisco pastry chef turned chocolatier Michael Recchiuti makes, and his Champagne Truffles are no exception. The milk chocolate ganache truffles are blended with Schramsberg's Blanc de Noirs and dusted with powdered sugar.

For a busy woman, eating fine chocolate and champagne at the same time is the ultimate in multi-tasking.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Bubbly Index

Even before all those corks went flying on Dec. 31, the vintners of high-end domestic sparkling wine had reason to celebrate: sales of their wines grew 6 percent over last year.

The Bubbly Index -- a report by wine industry consulting firm Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates -- looked at sales in the premium California sparkling wine category. That includes a wide range of brands from J to Domaine Carneros to Korbel.

Joy Sterling, of Iron Horse Vineyards said that their 7.5 percent growth in revenue was fueled by new young wine drinkers who aren't beholden to French bubbly. "California high-end Methode Champenoise Sparklings like Iron Horse fit the profile as 'affordable luxuries,’" Sterling is quoted as saying.

Seeing that this is the third year in a row that sales of domestic bubbly have grown, to me, it also means that more people -- young and not so young -- are realizing that fine sparkling wines are perfect accompaniments for every day life.