Many brides and bridegrooms today are looking at beverage options beyond traditional punch at their receptions. Wine is often atop the list and can play a significant part in the planning for the big day.
Champagne and sparkling wines are staples at most wedding receptions. Unfortunately, this can be the most expensive part of your wine budget, sometimes costing as much as $80 a bottle, so consider options outside of the traditional Champagne region. Prosecco is the Italian version with a refreshing light-bodied style.
For more Champagne alternatives look at sparkling wines from countries such as Australia or places closer to home like California. And, as most wedding budgets demand, if you are looking for additional savings, serve the bubbly only during the toast or cake cutting rather than throughout the entire reception.
Other than bubbly, you should also consider serving one red wine and one white wine, especially if the reception includes hors d’oeuvres or a meal. In white wines, don’t overlook sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio with their fresh, crisp and light-bodied flavor. They are much different than the typical white wine served at many receptions, chardonnay. But if chardonnay is your choice, look for unoaked styles which are much more refreshing than the buttery and toasty versions that overwhelm many foods. In red wines, merlot is usually the most crowd-pleasing style with its fruity, soft taste. Other options include pinot noir and dry rose.
How much wine to buy depends on a few factors: the time of day, the foods being served and of course, the number of guests. A standard 750ml bottle contains five servings, and most caterers plan on each guest consuming two glasses every two hours. This calculation usually allows for those who will drink less, more and some not at all. If your reception is during the day, guests generally consume less wine than at an evening reception. Guests at multiple course seated dinners will usually consume more than at a buffet style service.
- 2007 Bodega Norton Merlot, Argentina (about $12 retail)
- 2008 Villa Maria Unoaked Chardonnay, New Zealand (about $15 retail)
- 2008 Brancott North Island Pinot Grigio, New Zealand (about $15 retail)
- 2008 Banfi Centine Rose, Italy (about $14 retail)
- 2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, Washington (about $24 retail)
- 2006 Bell Merlot (Yountville), California (about $38 retail)
- NV Zardetto Prosecco, Italy (about $22 retail)