Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wine And Weddings A Good Combination

It’s hard to believe that Memorial Day is upon us. Soon it will be June, and either you or someone you know will be getting married. So…it is probably a good time for us to have the “talk”. The talk about wine at your wedding, of course!

Wine at weddings is an ancient tradition, steeped in culture and religion. After all, Jesus performed his first miracle by being a master winemaker at a wedding. (I’ve always wondered what kind of Wine Spectator score they would have given him on that vintage.)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across people in the grocery isles struggling to figure out what they’re going to pour for guests, or buy for the newlywed couple. I can tell you this, that buying wine for a wedding is not as easy as it looks.

The problem is that there are wine drinkers and non wine drinkers. The wine drinkers know that you are a low budget slob for buying Crane Lake, soaking off the label, and putting on your own label. The non wine drinkers look at your cute little label, put the bottle under the table, and go get a beer because they aren’t going to drink it anyway.

My suggestion is that you go ahead and buy some inexpensive wine (not Crane Lake) and dress it up with a cute label. The cuteness effect will work, and your non-wine drinking guests will enjoy it thoroughly as a beverage. I strongly suggest Tisdale, Barefoot, or Sutter Home brands for this task. They are inexpensive and can be appreciated for their lack of rancid vinegar flavors.

Now that we’ve got cuteness out of the way, let’s take care of your wine drinking guests. I suggest that you buy a few bottles of wine for guests who, like me, are frankly snobbish about their wines. If budget is a factor, offer them at a no-host bar for purchase. Some great brands that offer fantastic value are Columbia Crest Grand Estates and Red Diamond. You can even take it up a notch and offer a wine or two from your favorite local winery. I’ve been to several weddings in the last year where I would have given my leg and my firstborn for a glass of decent wine.

The trick is to offer a few choices without overwhelming people. A good Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet are three solid varietals to serve. You can switch the Chardonnay for a sweeter white such as Reisling, and the Merlot for a red blend. But, don’t add too many more choices.

A general rule of thumb for serving people wine is to offer approximately one bottle for every four guests of legal drinking age. So, if you have 100 guests you will need 25 bottles, or just over two cases of wine. My suggestion is to get together with store management and make your choices early. Most of the stores in the region are happy to oblige your special orders in advance, and not have their shelves wiped out on a Saturday morning.

All my best to the loving couples! May your years together be many, your children as plentiful as the stars, and your marriage be as pleasurable as the wine you serve on your wedding day!

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