Sunday, January 19, 2014

Choosing the right wine for your wedding day

wedding day and wine selections
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your lives and having just experienced it for myself in Italy with our immediate family and then coming back to the US and celebrating it with the rest of our family and friends I can definitely concur. There are many, many things to think of in planning a wedding and choosing wine, even outside of a wedding, can create enough anxiety or issues. Take a deep breath and remember to enjoy all these aspects of planning because it will be over before you know it and there are some steps that you can take to avoid the pressure of picking the right wine for your wedding.

Finding the right wine
You can attend wine tastings that are typically free at many of your surrounding wine shops. Every time you buy a new bottle throughout your time planning for the wedding pick a different one to experiment with. Do the same when you go to dinner or attend parties and events and make notes of those that you like and don't like. 
 
It also depends on where you having the event. I have attended weddings at both Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH and Saltwater Farm Vineyards in Stonington, CT that were beautiful establishments and served their own wines for cocktail hours and/or during the reception. I feel that if you are going to get married at a vineyard than you should enjoy the wines that are produced from that vineyard itself to add to the character of the wedding. If you're not having it at a vineyard then it depends on if you can bring in your own. Bringing in your own depends on the venue and if that is allowed, but many places if they do allow it will charge you a corkage fee. Depending on what they charge for their wine and what you can purchase your own for plus the corkage fee it may end up being beneficial to buy your own. If you do think about purchasing it on your own you can buy your wines in bulk and by the case where you can get additional discounts. If you have to use the venue's wine itself expect to pay about double or potentially triple the wholesale or retail price. Make sure to ask to sample the wines so you can choose what you like. After all it is your wedding day and you should choose what you enjoy the most. 
 
What types of wine
I personally prefer wines that are a lighter to medium body during cocktail hour because there are a large variety of appetizers that are being served that can be tricky to match all of them and usually at this time frame people are hungry and big, heavy, full bodied wines can be too much. I would suggest something like a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio for a white and pinot noir or a beaujolais for a red. During dinner typically you have a chicken option and a sirloin or prime rib where you can go more fuller bodied to a merlot, cabernet or even a malbec. If you are going to bring in your own wine you can experiment with some countries that have great wines like Spain, Australia and New Zealand, but since they don't do as much marketing or because they are not mainstream wines they may be a better value. These wines are just as great if not better than say your popular Californian wines that may have a higher price tag.

Many folks tend to prefer white over red since a lot of people that aren't huge wino's start with whites before they eventually move to reds so you can possibly expect to have more white wine drinkers. It also depends on the season. Many won't want to drink a full bodied red that may potentially have higher alcohol creating a lot of heat in your mouth on a hot summer day, especially if it's an outside venue so keep the season in consideration. 
 
How much do I need?
You can typically factor about a half a bottle per person during cocktail hour, which is about 2 glasses and then also that much at dinner as well. It's better to have more than not enough. The venue may allow you to take home leftover wine bottles and if you happen to have brought in your own and it hasn't been open you may have the opportunity to return it back to the wine store or build upon your wine cellar at home.

Sampling wines are a lot of fun so make sure you have fun with it. This shouldn't be a stressful part of your planning. The best way to learn about wine is to drink, so when other parts of the wedding are stressing you out keep trying different bottles and in the meantime you're working on checking off another part of your list, selecting the best wine for your wedding. Enjoy!