Wine for the Wedding

Planning a wedding can involve a “to do” list that’s a mile long, and if wine is going to be part of the big day, it can make an already daunting task even more so.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if planning time is short.

QUESTION: I have a wedding coming up in September. I would like to serve wine. Do you have a preference?

ANSWER: Our preference would definitely be that you serve wine!

Oh… that’s not what you meant?

Seriously, wine causes greater consternation for more wedding planners than just about any other task associated with organizing the big day. There are so many different types of wine made by so many different wineries in so many different countries. Where does one possibly begin?

Here’s where: By asking your wedding guests. After all, there is a day that you’re sharing with them. While you can’t necessarily involve them in color schemes or flower selection or most of the other details, you can solicit their guidance in the wine selection.

It’s probably too late to add a few questions to the RSVP cards sent with your wedding invitations. Were it not, the questions to ask would have been:

  • Will you be joining us for wine?
  • If so, do you prefer red or white?

It still may not be too late, however. If you’ve set up a special Facebook page for the big day, you could post those questions there. You also could poll your guests via email.

Once you’ve tallied all the responses, you’ll know how much wine — of each color — that you’ll need to buy. Figure on one bottle for every 3.5 wine-drinking guests.

Next comes the big decision: What type of white wine, and what type of red wine?

If you’re also planning to serve food, opt for lighter, food-friendly varieties: Sauvignon Blanc for a white, Pinot Noir for a red.

If you are not serving food, you’re safe in pouring fuller-bodied wines that shine on their own: Chardonnay for a white, Cabernet Sauvignon for a red.

After that, it’s mostly about finding wines that match your budget.

If you’ve set aside time at the reception for toasting, that traditionally is done with sparkling wine. There’s no need to blow your budget on Cristal. A Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco or a sparkling wine from a California estate will provide just as much enjoyment for 98% of the guests, and at a fraction of the price.

We hate to pass judgment on wine based on its price, but there are some rules of thumb about the price/quality spectrum. Generally speaking, wine that sells for less than $10 per bottle can be hit and miss. Wines that sell for between $10 and $20 can offer great value, but you have to know your brands and vintages. Bottles that retail for more than $20 should reliably be of good quality—worthy of a very special occasion such as a wedding.

Posted in Wine FAQ
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