A new entrant into the sparkling wine derby is Great Western California Champagne Grande Cuvee. The wines sold under this brand are aimed at hitting a price in the market above some of the lower-end Spanish sparklers and below the level of most California premium wines.
The interesting fact here is that Great Western is the same name that has been used by the New York-based winery that once was one of the nation's top sellers of sparkling wine.
Great Western Champagne, in its heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s, sold more than 850,000 cases of sparkling wine, all of it produced in New York from locally raised grapes. The wines were not typical of French Champagne, but sold for much less.
Vintners International, which acquired Great Western as well as a number of other brands and properties from Seagram in 1986, saw a niche in the sparkling wine market that wasn't occupied by many bubblies: the $8.75 price point. So it produced a French-method sparkling wine from Monterey County grapes, aged the wine 18 months in the bottle during the second fermentation and test-marketed it under the La Cresta label.