Finding The Best Champagne Yeast Alternatives For Brewing Sparkling Wines


Champagne yeast is a type of yeast that is commonly used in brewing sparkling wines. This yeast is highly specialized and is capable of fermenting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide at a rapid rate. As a result, champagne yeast is highly sought after by brewers looking to achieve the fine bubbles, crisp flavors, and clean finishes of true champagne.

However, champagne yeast can be expensive and difficult to find, making it a less-than-ideal choice for many homebrewers and small-scale commercial operations. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent champagne yeast alternatives on the market that can help you achieve a similar result without breaking the bank. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best champagne yeast alternatives and how they stack up against the real thing.

The Benefits of Champagne Yeast Alternatives

Before we dive into the specific alternatives, let’s first take a moment to discuss why you might consider using a champagne yeast alternative in the first place. As mentioned, champagne yeast can be expensive and difficult to find, especially if you’re looking for a specific strain or brand.

But beyond the practical concerns of cost and availability, there are other reasons you might consider using an alternative yeast strain. For one, alternative strains can give your wine a unique flavor profile that you might not get with champagne yeast. Additionally, some alternative strains may be better suited to specific types of sparkling wines or brewing methods, which can help you achieve better results overall.

That said, champagne yeast is still considered the “gold standard” for sparkling wine, so it’s important to choose an alternative that can match its performance in terms of alcohol tolerance, fermentation speed, and other key factors. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the most popular champagne yeast alternatives on the market today.

Top Champagne Yeast Alternatives

Lalvin EC-1118

Lalvin EC-1118 is a popular champagne yeast alternative among commercial winemakers and homebrewers alike. This yeast is known for its high tolerance for alcohol (up to 18%), as well as its ability to ferment at a wide range of temperatures.

In terms of flavor, Lalvin EC-1118 can produce a wide range of notes, including fruit, floral, and even some spicy or herbal undertones. This makes it a versatile choice for a variety of sparkling wines, including those made from grapes, apples, and other fruits.

One potential downside of Lalvin EC-1118 is that it can be quite aggressive during fermentation, producing a lot of foam and potentially causing other issues if not managed carefully. However, with proper fermentation practices, this yeast can produce excellent results that rival true champagne.

Red Star Premier Cuvee

Red Star Premier Cuvee is another popular champagne yeast alternative that is beloved by many winemakers. This yeast is prized for its ability to ferment at low temperatures (as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit), as well as its strong alcohol tolerance (up to 18%).

Flavor-wise, Red Star Premier Cuvee is known for producing crisp, clean wines with a light, fruity character. This makes it an excellent choice for sparkling wines that are meant to be refreshing and easy-drinking, rather than heavy or complex.

One potential downside of Red Star Premier Cuvee is that it can be somewhat finicky during fermentation, requiring careful monitoring and management to avoid issues like stuck fermentation or off-flavors. However, with proper care and attention, this yeast can produce a wide range of delicious and affordable sparkling wines.

White Labs Champagne Yeast Blend

For those who want to stick as closely as possible to true champagne yeast, the White Labs Champagne Yeast Blend is an excellent option. This blend of yeast strains is carefully designed to replicate the characteristics of champagne yeast, including its fast fermentation speed, high alcohol tolerance, and ability to produce fine bubbles and a crisp finish.

Flavor-wise, the White Labs Champagne Yeast Blend is known for producing wines with notes of apple, pear, and other fruits, as well as a slightly yeasty character that adds depth and complexity to the final product.

One potential downside of the White Labs Champagne Yeast Blend is that it can be somewhat difficult to find and is generally more expensive than other alternatives on this list. However, if you’re looking to achieve the true champagne experience and are willing to pay a premium, this yeast blend is well worth considering.


While true champagne yeast may be the gold standard for brewing sparkling wines, there are plenty of alternatives on the market that can help you achieve an excellent result at a fraction of the cost. Whether you opt for Lalvin EC-1118, Red Star Premier Cuvee, or the White Labs Champagne Yeast Blend, all of these champagne yeast alternatives are capable of producing delicious, complex, and refreshing sparkling wines that will delight your taste buds.

When choosing a champagne yeast alternative, be sure to consider factors like alcohol tolerance, fermentation speed, flavor profile, and cost. With a little bit of experimentation and careful management, you can create your own signature sparkling wine using the yeast strain that best suits your needs and preferences.

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