EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - On this Valentine's Day, if you plan to pick up a bottle of champagne for that certain someone, be prepared to pay a little extra.
Thanks to a 25% tariff imposed by the Trump administration last October on some French products and another increase on the table, local buyers say many customers are opting instead for a less expensive alternative.
Champagne, of course, is iconic when you're talking about Valentine's Day, but come to find out, sales of a similar and much less expensive product are popping.
For wine and spirit shops, Valentine's Day is just like Christmas.
At Lighthouse Liquors in East Longmeadow, anything sparkling is in high demand.
"Champagne is great. We all love it, but it doesn't fit in everyone's budget," Damien Collins of Lighthouse Liquors stated.
Damien is the buyer and owner at Lighthouse, a longtime, family-run business.
He tells Western Mass News champagne's Italian cousin, Prosecco, is now the number one requested sparkling wine here and nationally.
"In the past year, Prosecco has outsold champagne by about three million bottles, so it just shows the growth and popularity of Prosecco," says Collins.
Part of the reason he says is cost.
"It's typically half, which is kind of crazy. That's where the value lies. A great bottle of Prosecco, around fifteen, sixteen bucks. Then, it jumps to $40 for entry level champagne," explained Collins.
Champagne is a sparkling wine made only in the champagne region of France, while Prosecco is produced only in the Veneto region of Italy.
Tariffs and an increase in French grape prices, according to the Champagne Broker's Association, keep bottle prices inching higher.
While, by and large, Collins says they are comparable, they are produced much differently.
"Prosecco's made in the charmant method, so the wine is fermented in larger tanks, which is a much quicker process than the traditional champagnwa method, which takes place in the bottle," continued Collins.
Quicker production, he says, means quicker to market, keeping costs down.
"The quality is great. The taste profiles are pretty similar until you get into the real vintage champagnes, the special ones that are very specific. The Prosecco is a real home run," says Collins.
Whether champagne for the purists or Prosecco, liquor stores and spirit shops are banking it will be a popular choice for Valentine's Day.
On average, a retail bottle of champagne sells for $44, according to the Guild of Sommeliers.
The most affordable bottles are non-vintage champagnes, which make up most of the market.
The average cost for a bottle of Prosecco, the Guild says, is $12.