Wedding wine tips

With the wedding fair season in full swing, here are some tips when it comes to choosing wines for a wedding.

Wine styles: Disregard your own tastes on the day! You should aim to serve wine styles which will appeal to the masses, everyone from your elderly relations to your hip city friends. Generally speaking, anything too acidic (Chablis), or with high tannins (Malbec) or distinctive flavours (South African) are off the menu. Aim for fruity wines, with medium acidity and soft tannins. Good red choices include Côtes du Rhône, Spanish Riojas and Chilean Merlot fit the bill nicely & needn’t break the bank.  White wine recommendations include Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, French Sauvignon Blancs.  Consider a tasting, perhaps a one day wine tasting course together, to discover some tips on what to offer.

What to offer for a reception drink? Nowadays people tend to offer a free drink on arrival. However, a glass of sparkling wine can create a real sense of occasion, as well as cut down on costs.   Jeio Prosecco, is Italy’s preferred prosecco, and well worth looking out for.

How much wine? Allow a minimum 2 glasses of wine per person. Usually the toast is a ‘drink of choice’, which can prove to be very expensive. If you want to serve sparkling, allow one glass of sparkling for the toast.

Discuss serving with the hotel. Glass size will dictate the number of servings per bottle. Leaving bottles on the table will encourage greater quantities being poured (at your peril!).

Bringing your own wine: Discuss the option of bringing your own wine to the venue. Be prepared to pay a wine corkage charge which can vary considerably, from €6 to €15 per bottle, and usually double this on sparkling wine.  However, in a growing number of establishments, owners are more prepared than ever to allow some negotiation on the corkage rate.   Paying corkage really starts to make sense if you want to offer top quality wines.

What proportions of red to white? Generally speaking, white is more popular (a ratio of 3 white to 2 red is not unusual). However, this greatly depends on the guestlist and their drinking habits. Reflect back to what you normally drink in your guests’ company, in a restaurant situation.

Food and wine matching: Don’t fuss too much about it- you have enough to do, and should be enjoying your wedding. Instead, choose wines which are naturally versatile, such as the wines listed above. 

Special wines on the top table?  Can I have different/ better wines on the top-table? Absolutely – it’s your day. Just ask the waiters to do it discreetly!

Champagne toast: again, many couples offer a drink of choice, and reserve champagne for the top table ‘for effect.’    

Best tip of all: relax and enjoy the day, and don’t worry too much about the wine.  If you are a wine buff, it’s probably better to look forward to a wine gift of amazing wine (add to your wedding list & specify which ones you want!), or a novel idea is a wine course to enjoy together, when the glitter and sparkles have settled.