Buying wine for your wedding can be quite intimidating especially if you’re just getting into wine. You already have enough stress planning a wedding and choosing wine may seem like a grueling task, but it can be a lot of fun! It can also take your wedding guest experience from ordinary to extraordinary.
If you’re buying local wine why not make a trip out of it and visit a selection of wineries, tasting wines and creating a unique experience. Explore the heart of your nearest wine region with your beloved with intimate wine tastings followed by a stay at a local B&B. Revisit your experience and make it an annual tradition in celebration of your wedding day!
Before you get started, sit with your partner and answer some questions:
- What is our theme? Example: Elegant, sporty, casual, show stopping, trendy, new age?
- What are our wine buying needs? Examples: Just one bottle of white and red at each table? Wine needed at the bar, wine favours or a five-course wine paired menu?
- Try to calculate how much wine you will need. Usually, generous pours will get you four glasses per 750ml bottle. Remember to include any wine you may need for bridal party gatherings prior to the big day.
- What is our budget?
- Where are we getting married? Where are we hosting the bridal party? Does each establishment have a liquor license? Do I require a special occasion permit? Is there a corkage fee for bringing in our own wines?
If there is no liquor license, you will need to apply for a special occasion permit at least three weeks in advance. Check with your local Liquor Board to obtain the permit. Most have an online form that will include information about the levy fees on any alcohol you purchase. Corkage fees are what some establishments will ask you to pay for bringing in wines so make sure to ask as it will affect your budget.
Equipped with your answers, you are ready to let your fingers do the walking. Hop on a computer and scan some of the local wineries to figure out which wineries suit your style and your budget. Most wineries will have a price list posted on their website to help you narrow down your search. Pre-book your visits and plan your route so that the wineries can plan to give you VIP service when you arrive. Be mindful of your time, giving yourself approximately one hour per wine tasting experience (including travel time). If you place a large order, do not hesitate to ask for discounts on volume. If you are ordering a smaller amount (five cases or less) you can always ask if the winery would be willing to donate a prize for your bride and groom.
When tasting wines, always keep in mind what you are having on your menu. You can pair the wine to the whole meal (i.e one red and white bottle per table) using very versatile food wines. Look for a white that is classified as “Dry” (D) which is 1 gram of residual sugar per liter or “Medium Dry” (MD) which is a 2. Riesling and unoaked Chardonnay for the whites with a nice balance of sugar and acid to cleanse the palate between your courses.
Go with a fruitier red if you’re only serving one red wine on the table. For example, a full bodied Shiraz paired with salad or soup is not going to work; the Shiraz will overpower the salad. A fruit forward Merlot, however, will fit in nicely with most courses. Remember you want to work towards wine choices that complement your meal, rather than overpower the flavours of the food.
Another option is to select a wine to match each course. For example: Butternut squash soup paired with Gewürztraminer; pork tenderloin and Rosé; stuffed chicken and barrel fermented Chardonnay; prime rib and Merlot reserve. When pairing the course you can have a lot of fun writing the menu to place at the table settings: “Once upon a time Butternut Squash Soup charmed Gewürztraminer” or “Royal Beef Tenderloin accompanied Cabernet Sauvignon and Happily Ever After Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.”
And don’t forget the sparkle! Sparkling wines can add a special touch to any occasion. Serve a glass of sparkling wine to every guest upon entering the wedding reception, and feel free to dress it up for some fun! Add freshly cut pieces of fruit that match your wedding colours: lime, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, peach slice, or lemon. Or add a dash of fruit juice or food colouring to intrigue your guests.
Whatever you choose, it’s your day! Enjoy it! Cheers!
Ask The Sommelier
If you have questions about wine, please leave a comment below.
Chevonn would love to hear from you.
Photos Are From The Microsoft Office Clip Art Collection
First Posted At Uncork Niagara
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