There’s so much to think about when organising a wedding, but planning (and most importantly tasting) your wedding wines should be fun. So we’ve worked with Hattie’s Wines to bring you the top 10 tips for anyone thinking about wine for a wedding day.
1. Before you do anything else, work out what your venue will allow. Can you bring your own wines? Will they charge ‘corkage’ (a fee per bottle to let you bring your own)? Or do you have to choose from their wine list?
2. If you have to select from their list, make sure you ask to taste the wines that you’re thinking of choosing, ideally with the food you’re having, to check that you like them. If you’re struggling with the venue’s wine list, you can upload it to Hattie’s Wines for some free help, if you’d like.
3. If you can bring your own wines (yay!), the next step is to be clear on your budget, bearing in mind any corkage you might have to pay on top. On balance, while it’s great to splash out on some fabulous wines for such a special occasion, it’s also really important to make sure you don’t run out halfway through the meal, so if your budget is limited then consider some of the great value for money wines we’ve suggested below.
4. Next up, think about the food you’re having but also think about the people coming (younger crowd, trendy crowd, boozy crowd?!), the weather (if you can predict it!) and the time of day. Red wines can get quite heavy after a while, especially on a summer afternoon.
5. Most of us know the broad rule of thumb is to pair white wine with white meats and fish and red wine with red meat dishes. But like everything else you’re organising, this is your day, so do it your way. You might prefer to have a white wine with the starter and a red with the main, or both on the table at once for people to pour for themselves. In this instance, think about the weight of the wines and the foods – lighter wines with lighter foods and bigger wines with richer foods.
6. When you look for a wine supplier, make sure you’re able to get some good advice on what you’re buying – whoever you buy from should be happy to have a look at what you’re trying to achieve and help by advising you on the best wines for your needs and budget.
7. Don’t forget to consider the delivery options. It will probably be much easier for you if the wines are delivered direct a day or so in advance, then it’s one thing off your to-do list.
8. Get tough with your supplier, especially if you’re buying lots! Look into wine companies that can give you some kind of offer for a bulk purchase, e.g. free delivery or money off when you spend over a certain amount.
9. Don’t forget the bubbles! There are lots of times you may need to serve something sparkly, perhaps while guests are waiting for you to have your photos done and of course during the toasts. Splash out on Champagne if you can but if not don’t worry, there are some fantastic Proseccos and Cavas out there which will suit just as well.
10. And our final tip? Don’t worry about over-ordering – whatever you don’t drink can be taken home for you and your beloved to enjoy whilst perusing your wedding photos.
Some wedding wine suggestions from the Hattie’s wine list:
Aperitif / during photos:
Bach Extrisimo Semi-Seco Cava, £8.99. For those of you who don’t like their sparkling wines really, really dry, this will be music to your ears. It won’t make you suck your cheeks in (think lemon sherbets, or Victoria Beckham). Made in the Cava region, this is all apples, citrus and almonds in liquid form. A great alternative to Pimms.
Clique Viognier, £8.99. This is a wine stuffed with gallons of juicy exotic fruits, from pineapple to grapefruit, but is still dry and highly drinkable. This is not the moment for British reserve – it’s time to kick off your shoes and dance like nobody’s watching. This is punchy, unabashed, unembarrassed joy. Oh and the label looks fab on the table!
Or splash out on Coulaudin Bussy Chablis Premier Cru, £14.99. A wonderfully fresh, lemony wine, but with real backbone. It’s ‘Premier Cru’ (more Marc Jacobs than Mark Owen) which means it’s even better quality than the average Chablis. This is the Chanel handbag of wine – a classic that accessorizes anything, and oozes style and sophistication – just like your big day.
Domaine d’Aumieres Merlot, £7.99. This little gem of a wine comes from a family that started making wine in this region over a century ago. So, they really know what they are doing. The beauty of this Merlot is in its simplicity – ripe, juicy and soft with baked plum fruit flavours. A definite crowd-pleaser!
Or splash out on Le Blason du Prince Chateauneuf du Pape, £14.99. It’s time for a celebration. A big classy celebration. Even the scantest French skills will pick out ‘prince’ and ‘chateau’ here, and should tell you that you’re dealing with something pretty regal. The flavours manage to be both restrained and powerful at the same time: a sophisticated glass of dark brambly fruit. The quintessential posh red wine – a princely bottle for the day’s princess!
A toast to the happy couple deserves Champagne, and why not go pink with the Louis Massing Champagne Premier Cru, £19.99. Light and delicately done, but with lush redcurrant fruit flavours, and a twinkle in its eye.