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Choosing the wines for your Wedding

By: Master Caterer Alan Hunter AIWS

Best Wines For Your Wedding

As ‘event caterers and wedding planners’ we have assisted in the planning of so many wedding celebrations over the years and the overriding factor for complete success is undoubtedly ‘attention to detail’.

There are so many facets to address and organise that not only do logistics play an important role but the quality of each component must also be addressed fully to achieve the optimum result.

Unfortunately quite often the subject of the choice of wine is not given the importance it deserves and subsequently may fall short of expectation.

As in all menu planning, where there is food there will be wine and this can form an expensive part of the budget, so choice and price must be considered to obtain the best value for money.

When catering for a large audience it is not always wise to choose ‘your favourites’ as you now have to appeal to a large cross section of tastes. Of course all this depends upon budget, perhaps restriction of choice and maybe price at the venue.

But if you do have a free hand then here are a few tips for optimum success:

by Alan Hunter AIWS, 4th April 2012

How many people, how many bottles?

Menus do not have to be boring to be effective and matching wines with all styles of cuisine can be great fun.

Although I do not agree with the ‘old style’ of white wines with fish and red wines with meat etc, this is a time perhaps to consider this generalisation as being a useful guide for a larger function catering for many guests, particularly if budgets are an influencing factor. Following these initial criteria will help your choices and costing:

Bear in mind the time of year:

Plan for around 2 glasses per guest for reception drinks

Plan for around ½ a bottle of wine per guest for the dinner

Plan for 1 glass of sparkling wine or Champagne for the toasts

How to match wine with your wedding menu

It is also important to remember that every type of occasion deserves the best wine you can afford. So here are a few guidelines that you may find useful in terms of ‘what wine with what food’:

Prosecco Wine

CanapésChampagne/Sparkling Wine/Pimms/Pinot Grigio/ Riesling – Make sure that all these wines served are chilled. With regards to Pimms have plenty of ice at hand.

Light Pates and TerrinesRiesling and Pinot Grigio. For heavier game pates and foie gras then start with a dessert style wine. Sounds odd but the French in particular do this often and it works.

ShellfishGewurtztramer/Riesling/southern White Burgundy/Sancerre/New World Semillon/Chenin Blanc or blend.

Grilled fishMuscadet/Chablis/New World Chardonnay.

BeefBordeaux/Burgundy/New World Pinot Noir/ Malbec

PorkChianti/young Rioja/Valpolicella/Beaujolais

LambBordeaux/Languedoc/ New World Pinot or Grenache

Game – Heavier wines such as older Riojas/SyrahShiraz/Tuscan Sangiovese/Grenache and Syrah blends.

ChickenRiesling/New World Oaked Chardonnay/White Burgundy.

Cold MeatsGrenache/Pinot Noir/Beaujolais Villages

VegetarianPinot Grigio/Semillon - Chardonnay.

Desserts – Old or New World Muscats/Semillon-Sauvignon.


The above are just general guidelines and do not have to be expensive, but if you are looking for a much easier solution, choose a cross section of wines to complement all courses and place a bottle each of red, white and perhaps a rose [depending upon the time of year] on the table, so guests can help themselves.

by Alan Hunter AIWS, 4th April 2012

Most wine suppliers now will provide glasses free of charge when you purchase the wines from them, but try to avoid the old fashioned ‘Paris Goblet’ style, as this does nothing for the wine, Tulip styles are fine.

by Alan Hunter AIWS, 4th April 2012
Wine for your wedding

We know how hard it can be trying to source the best deals when buying a large amount of wine or Champagne.

Contact us and we can check prices from our 23 wine merchants to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Alternatively, use one of our exclusive high-value Wine Voucher Codes.

by Alan Hunter AIWS, 4th April 2012
Laithwaites buy 6 save 30%