Don’t be daunted by choosing your wedding wine list! This simple guide makes sommeliers of us all…
Jamie Collins is the expert behind thewinebeagle.com, the website dedicated to affordable artisan wines from up-and-coming wineries in Europe. Here, he reveals insider secrets to make your celebration toast-worthy.
How much wine will I need for my wedding?
The rule of thumb is half a bottle of wine per person for the meal. You’ll also want a couple of glasses of fizz each before sitting down. Obviously this does slightly depend on the crowd though. If you’re expecting a particularly thirsty bunch, you might want to up the quantities of wedding wine a little.
You also need to establish what people will drink after the meal. Will there be a bar serving other drinks? If not, then you’ll need to provide further beverages to keep thirsts quenched. Bear in mind that there are five glasses of wine in a bottle and six flutes in a bottle of fizz. This makes it relatively easy to work out how much you’ll need.
For peace of mind though, it is worth buying from a retailer who offers sale or return. That way you can over cater and take back what isn’t used.
How much will wine for my wedding cost?
Your budget will understandably dictate what quality level you go for. There are two key aspects to consider, though.
Firstly, unless your friends and family are budding connoisseurs themselves, there is no need to go overboard. The wine really is not the focus – how many people are going to spot the difference between a £15 and a £25 bottle of wine?
Secondly, if you can stretch to £10 a bottle, you will get something considerably better than at £5. Buy a bottle for £5 and a much larger percentage of the cost goes on duty, the cork, and the bottle. The wine itself usually accounts for about 45p of the total cost, but buy a £10 bottle of wine and the cost of the wine is more like £2.80, which is obviously more than six times as much!
Which ideas for wedding wine and alcoholic drinks are right for me?
Champagne is always a winner but it is relatively expensive, so if your budget is a bit tight, you might want to consider saving the Champagne for the toasts and serving a less expensive fizz on arrival. There are plenty of other good value options around – Prosecco, Cava, Crémant de Bourgogne, or a new world Champagne imitation. They’ll cost you far less than a Champagne and, frankly, a lot of them are not that far off in terms of quality.
When it comes to choosing your wines, the best bet is to aim for something very quaffable – you don’t want to stop guests in their tracks with a heavy red or a rich, oaky white. Much better to go for a light, fresh white and a medium-bodied red.
You don’t need to get too worried about matching the wine to the food, either. A light white will go with most starters, and likewise a medium bodied red is unlikely to clash with any meat-based main courses. Just be sure not to serve red with fish and perhaps aim for a richer red if you’re serving a particularly hearty main course. A rich, smooth Rioja for example would go well with beef stew, where as a light Beaujolais would be slightly overpowered.
If it’s summer, you might also want to consider serving a light, dry rosé. The pale Provence rosés are popular at the moment and tend to go down well when they are offered alongside fizz.
Whichever tipples tickle your tastebuds, make sure you remember these 10 things when choosing. For more wedding food and drink ideas, check out the ultimate A-Z guide. And once you’ve done all the decision making, it’s time to get creative with these 14 super stylish drinks bar ideas.