Food and Drink

How to Select Your Wedding Wine


Delightful Libations

By Erin Bolling

A wedding is a joyous event; a time to celebrate with those nearest and dearest. Along with the perfect menu in the perfect setting, couples want to make an impression with the perfect drinks. When selecting your beverages, I suggest being mindful of the budget, the theme, the menu, and the season.

Budget: Determine how much you have to spend on wine and how important it is to the enjoyment of your day.

A standard 750-millilitre bottle holds five servings. Therefore two glasses of wine for 75 people would be 30 bottles of wine. That gets us through dinner! But what about toasts, sipping, and socializing after dinner?

Food: Which comes first – the food or the wine? It all depends. Most often, it is the food. If your venue allows outside wine, you can give yourself time to order from a winery by the case, or make your own wine at a local vintner. With Prince Edward County just a short drive away, and new wineries popping up in the Ottawa area, consider ordering your wine directly from a boutique winery or planning a weekend getaway to select your wine.

Call the professionals: An event planning team or caterer can be your lifeline. It’s their business to provide helpful suggestions. Caterers have a good sense of matching concepts and can offer a variety of price points.

If you want to be hands-on, do your homework. There are great websites to assist with your quest for the perfect food and wine pairings. If you have a favourite wine that isn’t part of the wine list at your venue – speak up. There may be something comparable that is just as good.

In Ottawa, there are loads of wine appreciation events for the couple who wants to be more involved in selecting their wedding offerings. Take a class at Divino Wine Studio (known for their great Italian wine and food pairings); try a tasting at Urban Element; or take fun wine 101 classes from accredited sommeliers at Savvy U, offered by Savvy Company.

Theme: Wine can also be an expression of the couple. If the pair met in Chile, serving Chilean wines would be an appropriate nod to the country that brought the happy couple together. Beaujolais Nouveau served at a late-November wedding would be a fitting wine selection. I once had a teacher who said this type of wine is best when gulped, not sipped. Depending on the type of party you’re having, it may be the perfect wine for your ultimate celebration.

Season: Fall or winter weddings are ideal for full body wines. Cool weather begs to warm up with rich reds like cabernets, zinfandels and Bordeaux-style blends. When choosing a white option during colder months, a hands- down favourite is Viognier, or an off-dry Riesling. Spring

and summer weddings may call for lighter. For reds that aren’t too heavy, try Pinot Noir or Pinotage. Pinotage is a lesser-known varietal that might be a stand-out with your guests. For whites, nothing quenches thirst and puts a crowd in a festive mood quite like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Rosé is another quintessential summer wine. And don’t forget the bubbly! It’s a perfect year-round festive pick, not to mention a fabulous food match. You can serve it as your guests arrive or for a toast. My parents, who are big bubbly fans, made sure sparkling wine was served during the toast to the bride at my brother’s wedding. Highlighting a moment this way is a special touch – any time of year.

Remember, this is your day. Express yourselves and have fun with it. When it comes to wine, keep in mind it is no longer the realm of the elite. Follow expert advice and ‘drink what you like.’ Cheers to the happy couple! W

Erin Bolling is a wine marketing specialist. This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

How Much Wine Do I Need?

Savvy Sommeliers offer these guidelines:

  • Sparkling wine – one bottle serves six to seven people. Chill and serve in flute glasses.
  • White wine – one bottle serves five people. Chill for one hour before serving.
  • Red wine – one bottle serves five people. Serve at room temperature.
  • Dessert wine – one 375-millilitre bottle serves eight people with 11⁄2 ounce pour. Chill one hour before serving.For more information

    Natalie MacLean

    DiVino Wine Studio 225 Preston Street

    The Urban Element 424 Parkdale Avenue

    Savvy Company

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