It’s that time of the year. Symbol of fun and celebration, summer also calls for… wedding season! Tying the knot involves a lot of planning in advance, including your favorite venue and a caterer, but the wine is often left out. There is no one-size-fits-all way of planning for the wine for a wedding, but here are some of our tips for a successful wine planning.
Yes, sparkling wine is a fixture, especially for the toast, but, depending on the food that you plan on serving, focus as well on at least one white and one red. A good way to start brainstorming is to select a few wines within your budget range and organize a blind tasting with some friends or family members. This will give you a more or less clear idea of which wine works best, and plus, what better way to kick off the celebration?
The time of the year is also something to take into consideration. Since it is now summer time, the peak of the wedding season, many weddings will take place outdoors. Hot days have people drinking more white and rosé wines, so you might think about having a mix of all three types of wine.
Red wine is an all-time crowd pleaser. Some popular varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec or Merlot. Pinot Noir is also a very versatile option to accompany the dishes. Consider alternatives from up-and-coming wine regions such as Spain, South Africa or Chile; often affordably-priced, here you can find great value wines. Keep in mind that you do not need to break the bank to find wines that will satisfy your guests – there are numerous reasonably priced options that do not sacrifice on quality.
A few suggestions to get started:
- 2011 Tormaresca Neprica Puglia (8-$12)
- 2008 Ravenswood Winery Old Vine Zinfandel ($15)
- 2006 Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot ($17)
For whites, make sure to select a zesty and light wine that won’t overwhelm the dishes. It is a very personal choice, but we would recommend a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc over a traditional heavily oaked Chardonnay. These varieties are super versatile and not only pair well with salads, white meats, seafood and vegetables, but are great to sip alone.
- Domaine de Saint Peyre Picpoul de Pinet ($10)
- 2008 Estancia California Pinot Grigio ($13)
- 2007 Kunde Family Estate Nu Chardonnay ($18)
For more affordable options, check out this Brides magazine article.
When it comes to sparkling wine, true classic French Champagne (which comes only from the French Champagne region) can be on the pricey side. You can always switch it out for aromatic sparklers such as the Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti or a sparkling Chardonnay or Rosé.
How much wine?
Follow the well-known saying: “too much is better than not enough”. This applies perfectly to wine, as you do not want to run out of wine in the middle of the celebration. Plus, some merchants accept returns of unopened and undamaged bottles.
Make sure to know your crowd: drinkers versus non-drinkers. Once you know how many guests might be drinking, count on each of them drinking half to three quarters of a bottle – this is a good rule of thumb to determine the approximate number of bottles you should plan on purchasing. Don’t forget to round up by the case.
What do I do with leftover wine?
Unopened bottles can sometimes be returned directly to the seller. In case this is not an option, why not giving them away to your loved ones as a gift at the end of the night, or take the opportunity of starting your first cellar with your partner? On the other hand, using Coravin is also a good way to avoid ending up with half of your wine sitting in opened half-empty bottles at the end of the night.
A few other tips
Buy in bulk
Buying your wine by the case with almost always come with a 10% discount per case.
Why not serving a wine that has a special meaning for you at your wedding? Consider picking a local wine, the one you had on your first date, or a wine that is symbolic to your family.
Don’t forget about the corkage fees
When working on your wine budget, make sure to include the corkage fees. Check with your venue if you are allowed to bring the wine without any extra charge.