Wedding Wine Basics for the Clueless and Everyone Else

Planning & Advice

Selecting the best wedding wine might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it certainly is something that will set the tone for the wedding reception meal. Choosing wines to accompany your wedding feast can significantly enhance the experience of your first meal together as husband and wife. If you don’t know the difference between a Bordeaux and a Burgundy, let alone which wines are better than others, not to worry. We’re here to demystify wedding wine for you!

Take a look at our supplier directory to see who can help you out with wedding wine:

Wine Online (Dublin), Wines Direct (Dublin), Event Bars (Galway) and Lovely Bubbly Prosecco Van (Meath).

Don’t always be sold on the ‘house wine’ – although it may be good, often it isn’t cheap or very good. If you’re not familiar with wines, take a copy of your reception venue’s list to a good wine merchant and ask them to review it with you. Most are happy to assist couples as they know it may help them generate future clients.

Always taste a wine before committing to it. Ask your reception banqueting manager for a bottle of whatever they are recommending, take it home and, in your leisure, taste it.

Choose wines that will embellish your meal, not overpower it. Heavily oaked whites, such as some of the new world Chardonnay, and spicy reds, like Syrah, demand equally `big’ foods.

Avoid high alcohol content in wines for daytime drinking. Still Wines (also known as non-sparkling) typically vary from 11% to 14% alcohol, though for some it can be even higher. A content of 12% is ideal and there is much to choose from in this category. Popular whites include Loire Sauvignons or new world Rieslings. Popular reds include French Bordeaux blends (also known as Clarets) or good Spanish Riojas.

If none of the wines on offer appeal to your taste, as a last resort enquire about bringing in your own. Although alcohol sales is where most hotels and restaurants make their profit, some allow wine and champagne to be brought in from outside if the couple agree to pay a corkage fee. Fees vary greatly but most fall between €7 and €10 per bottle.

Wedding wine rules:

For weddings, allocate a couple of glasses of Prosecco per person for toasts, as well as half a bottle of wine per person for dinner. If you’re one of the first of your group to get married, buy more wine! You’ll have fewer guests who are breastfeeding and looking after toddlers (who bring the drinking average down).

If you are concerned about running out of wine, or the opposite ‘buying too much and having the same wine every night until Christmas’, find a wine supplier who will allow for returns. Please note that the wine labels will need to be in good condition. So, make sure your caterers don’t put all the bottles of wine into a large ice bucket.

The pros recommend having red and white wine available for guests to choose from. Guests appreciate having the choice, and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are popular choices. When you place your order, think about the season as well. People tend to drink more red wine at Autumn and Winter weddings compared to Summer and outdoor weddings where people gravitate towards crisp white wines to cool themselves down.