Your wedding day is one of your life's most significant and memorable occasions. Every detail, from the venue to the music, is selected with care, love, and attention. Among these details, choosing the right wine is crucial. The wine you choose can elevate your reception meal, toast, and overall guest experience. So, how do you select the perfect bottles for your big day? Here’s a comprehensive guide to assist you.
1. Understand Your Budget
Before diving into varietals and vintages, establish a budget. Wine can vary greatly in price, and understanding your budget will help you narrow down your choices.
Cost-Effective Options: Don't assume that a higher price tag always means better quality. There are plenty of delightful wines available at reasonable prices.
Bulk Purchase: Many wine suppliers or local wineries offer discounts for bulk purchases, which can benefit large wedding parties.
2. Know Your Guests
Your wedding will likely have a diverse group of guests with different tastes. While you can't cater to every individual preference, a general understanding can guide your choices.
General Crowd-Pleasers: Varietals like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon are often safe bets, as they're widely enjoyed.
Consider Alternatives: Remember that not everyone drinks alcohol. Having a selection of non-alcoholic wines or beverages can be a thoughtful touch.
3. Pair with the Menu (see our sample Italian-inspired wedding Food&Wine menus below)
The synergy between food and wine is magical when done right. While there are many traditional food and wine pairings, trust your palate and preferences.
White Wines: Typically pair well with lighter dishes like chicken, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. A zesty Sauvignon Blanc can complement a fresh salad, while a richer Chardonnay might pair well with creamy pasta.
Red Wines: Best with heartier dishes like beef or lamb. A medium-bodied Merlot can be excellent with roasted dishes, while a bold Cabernet Sauvignon might be the choice for steaks.
Rosé and Sparkling: These are versatile and can often transition well from appetizers to main courses. A sparkling wine or Champagne is also traditional for toasts.
4. Consider the Wedding Season and Venue
The time of year and venue can influence wine choices:
Summer Weddings: Lighter wines, such as Pinot Grigio, Rosé, or a chilled light red like Pinot Noir, can be refreshing for outdoor, warm-weather weddings.
Winter Weddings: Heavier, more robust wines like a full-bodied Shiraz or Zinfandel can add warmth to indoor, cooler settings.
5. Sample Before You Decide
Just as you'd taste-test your wedding menu, it’s crucial to sample your wine choices.
Wine Tasting Events: Attend a wine-tasting event or visit local wineries. Make it a fun outing with your partner or friends!
Buy a Few Bottles: If you're deciding between a few options, buy a bottle of each for a home tasting. This way, you can taste them in a relaxed environment and choose what suits your palate best.
6. Calculate Quantity
The last thing you want is to run out of wine during the event.
General Rule: Plan for one bottle of wine for every two guests for a dinner reception. This estimation can vary based on the nature of your guest list and the duration of your event.
Mixing Choices: If you're offering both red and white wines, a safe bet is a 50-50 split. However, consider the season: in warmer weather, white wine might be more popular, while colder climates might see a preference for red.
7. Think About Presentation
Beyond the wine itself, think about how you'll present it:
Wine Labels: Some couples choose wines with labels that have personal significance or fit their wedding theme.
Custom Labels: Some wineries offer personalized labels, allowing you to add your names, wedding date, or a special message- this could be a lovely touch!
Wine as Favours: Mini bottles of wine with custom labels can serve as memorable wedding favours for guests.
8. Store Correctly
Ensure your wine tastes its best by storing it correctly. Keep it in a cool, dark place, ideally in wine racks that keep bottles on their sides. If it's a summer wedding, ensure wines are chilled appropriately before serving.
9. Expert Advice
If you're unsure about your choices, consult with a sommelier or wine expert. (We are happy to help, although we would be unsurprisingly biased towards Italian Wine!)They can provide invaluable advice on pairings, quantities, and the best options within your budget and your food menu.
10. Enjoy the Process
While choosing wine for your wedding might seem daunting, it's also an opportunity to learn and enjoy. Explore different varietals, discover new favourites, and enjoy the shared experiences with your partner, family and friends.
To help you have some inspiration, we've put together two Italian-inspired (of course!) wedding menus (carnivore & vegetarian) paired with gorgeous Italian wines:
Option 1: Carnivore Menu
Food & Wine Menu for your Italian Wedding
1. Antipasto Platter
Assortment of Italian cured meats (like Prosciutto, Salami, and Mortadella), cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables.
Wine Pairing: Prosecco DOCG - A sparkling wine from Veneto. Its fresh and bubbly character is an excellent start to the celebrations.
2. Bruschetta al Pomodoro
Toasted bread topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
Wine Pairing: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi - A white wine from Marche with hints of citrus, perfect with the fresh flavours of the bruschetta.
First Course (Primi Piatti):
1. Risotto ai Funghi
Creamy rice dish with porcini mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Wine Pairing: Barbera d'Alba - A red wine from Piedmont, its vibrant acidity and notes of berries complement the earthy flavours of the mushrooms.
2. Pasta al Pesto
Fresh pasta with a basil, pine nut, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil sauce.
Wine Pairing: Cinque Terre Bianco - A fragrant white from Liguria, the birthplace of pesto.
Main Course (Secondi Piatti):
1. Osso Buco alla Milanese
Veal shanks braised with white wine, broth, onions, tomatoes, and garlic, served with gremolata.
Wine Pairing: Amarone della Valpolicella - A rich, full-bodied red from Veneto harmoniously marries the dish's deep flavours.
2. Pesce Spada alla Siciliana
Grilled swordfish with a Sicilian-style topping of tomatoes, olives, capers, and herbs.
Wine Pairing: Etna Bianco - A white wine from Sicily's Mount Etna, it balances the swordfish with its minerality and hints of apple and almond. (check out our blog post on Sicily's wines)
Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber, and red onions with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Wine Pairing: Soave Classico - A light, almond-scented white wine from Veneto that pairs gracefully with salads.
Selection of Italian Cheeses
Including Mozzarella di Bufala, Gorgonzola, Taleggio, and Pecorino Toscano.
Wine Pairing: Brunello di Montalcino - A full-bodied Tuscan red with plum and cherry notes, it's versatile enough to match with a variety of cheeses.
A classic coffee-flavoured Italian dessert made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a mascarpone mixture, and cocoa.
Wine Pairing: Vin Santo del Chianti - A sweet wine from Tuscany, it brings out the dessert’s creamy texture.
2. Panna Cotta with Berry Compote
Creamy, silky dessert topped with a vibrant berry compote.
Wine Pairing: Moscato d'Asti - A sweet, slightly sparkling wine from Piedmont with notes of peach and apricot.
Toast and Celebration (sparkling):
Franciacorta DOCG - An Italian answer to Champagne, this sparkling wine from Lombardy is perfect for the celebratory toast and to dance the night away.
Option 2: Vegetarian Menu
Food & Wine Menu for your Italian Wedding
1. Caprese Skewers
Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil drizzled with balsamic reduction.
Wine Pairing: Falanghina del Sannio - A white wine from Campania, it has floral notes that enhance the fresh taste of the Caprese.
2. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms
Baked button mushrooms filled with a rich spinach and ricotta mixture.
Wine Pairing: Gavi di Gavi - A Piedmontese white wine with hints of green apple, it complements the earthiness of mushrooms.
First Course (Primi Piatti):
1. Gnocchi al Gorgonzola
Soft potato dumplings in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce.
Wine Pairing: Franciacorta Brut - This sparkling wine from Lombardy, with its crisp acidity, counters the richness of the Gorgonzola.
2. Lasagna ai Carciofi
Layers of pasta with artichoke hearts, béchamel, and grated Parmigiano.
Wine Pairing: Vermentino di Sardegna - A Sardinian white wine that pairs perfectly with artichokes, offering citrus and pine nut aromas.
Main Course (Secondi Piatti):
1. Eggplant Parmigiana (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)
Slices of eggplant layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan, then baked.
Wine Pairing: Nero d'Avola - This red wine from Sicily, with its fruity undertones, complements the richness of the eggplant and cheese.
2. Stuffed Bell Peppers
Bell peppers filled with a mixture of rice, cherry tomatoes, olives, and capers.
Wine Pairing: Greco di Tufo - A mineral-driven white from Campania, it harmonizes with the fresh ingredients of the stuffing.
Insalata di Rucola e Pecorino
Arugula, shaved Pecorino Romano, lemon zest, and toasted pine nuts with a lemon vinaigrette.
Wine Pairing: Vernaccia di San Gimignano - A Tuscan white wine known for its crisp acidity and citrus notes, it uplifts the salad's flavours.
Selection of Italian Vegetarian Cheeses
Including Mozzarella di Bufala, Pecorino Toscano, Ricotta Salata, and Stracciatella.
Wine Pairing: Bolgheri Rosso - A Tuscan red blend, its notes of blackberries and spices enrich the cheeses' varying textures.
1. Limoncello Tiramisu
A twist on the classic, using Limoncello in place of coffee for a fresh, citrusy flavour.
Wine Pairing: Passito di Pantelleria - A sweet wine from Sicily with an aromatic intensity that elevates the Limoncello's tang.
2. Panna Cotta with Fig Compote
Creamy dessert topped with a sweet and aromatic fig compote.
Wine Pairing: Brachetto d'Acqui - A slightly sparkling red from Piedmont, its berry notes resonate with the figs.
Toast and Celebration:
Lambrusco - A bubbly red wine from Emilia-Romagna, it's perfect for the celebratory toast and energizing the festivities.
We hope this helps in preparing a divine menu for your wedding day! oh and please do share your pics with us :)