So you need to find enough wine to satisfy guests ranging from troublesome Aunt Lynne, who only drinks rosé, to your university and college friends, plus that distant uncle who knows his Beaujolais from his claret. And you also need to save money for a honeymoon, ideally in a beautiful wine region. Buying wedding wine is certainly a challenge.
So you have a wedding coming up but don’t know where to start when it comes to picking your wedding wines?
Read on for recommendations, plus some useful tips that could save you time and money.
How to buy wine for your wedding
While many people attempt to match the wine to the food for their special day, our advice would be to keep it simple.
Choose a red and a white (or rosé) for the table that will please the majority of guests
People will be far too distracted by the glamour and buzz of the occasion to consider whether a Rioja would have been a better match with the lamb, unless your guests include almost exclusively Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, of course.
In general, remember that acidity is your friend if trying to match a wine to a variety of foods.
Prosecco, Cava and Crémant make great alternatives to Champagne
Prosecco is a great choice for the summer, because it is light and fresh.
Traditional method styles (i.e made in the same way as Champagne) include Cava, Franciacorta, and many Crémants and English sparkling wines. They tend to have more richness and complexity of flavour than Prosecco; more akin to Champagne itself.
One bottle per adult is a good rule of thumb
Don’t be tempted to increase the quantity too much further – by the time you have factored in beer, spirits & cocktails, designated drivers and tee-totallers then you will find an average of a bottle of wine (about five glasses) each is about right.
That said, a couple of reserves wouldn’t hurt. Unless you have the ability to replicate the ‘first miracle’ – ie, turning water into wine – it would be poor form to run dry.
Independents and high street chains have vast amounts of experience when it comes to helping people choose their wedding wine. Most will also offer free delivery to the venue and help out if you have any last minute hiccups.
Supermarkets can be great if you know what you want, but the personal service of a good wine merchant can pay dividends.
Make use of sale or return policies
A common mistake is to panic and over-order. Luckily, many wine merchants and some supermarkets offer a sale or return policy, meaning that you can return anything that has not been drunk.
But it is far better to get your quantities accurate and take the odd leftover case or two back to your house, rather than dragging a van load of alcohol back to where you bought it from.
Don’t forget to haggle – especially at the end of the month
Buying in quantity may give you some serious bargaining power. Many wine merchants will be happy to strike a deal with you, especially if you walk in at the end of the month – you may be the difference between hitting their targets or not. Beware though, this rarely works in supermarkets.
Use a wedding calculator
Many merchants and supermarkets have calculators that will help you determine how much wine you will need, although they work with varying degrees of accuracy. Here are a couple of reliable examples:
Translated by Leo / 孔祥鑫
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