How to Choose Wines for Your Wedding Reception

Congrats! You are getting married and are looking forward to sharing your special day with family and friends. Finding the best wines for your wedding doesn’t need to cost a lot, nor be intimidating. Many venues allow you to bring in your own wines, so you don’t need to just rely on your caterer. If your venue doesn’t allow you to bring in your own wines, you can do a little research and ask your caterer to seek out the wines. If you have a tight budget, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.

Most important things to consider when looking for wines is your budget, season you are getting married, and your food menu. In general, lighter wines go best with lighter foods. Average about 2 glasses of wine per person and a half glass for the Champagne toast. Not everyone will have 2 glasses, some won’t drink at all and some are there to get their party on.

$15 – $20/bottle
This is the most popular budget and there are more options in this category than you would think! Some of the best values for white and red wine can be found in the old world and new world regions like Chile. California doesn’t really have the best options in this price point. I find Portugal to have a slew of wines in this price point. 
$20 – $30/bottle
You can find some awesome wines in this price point. Think more classic regions like Bordeaux, Côte du Rhône, Tuscany, Rioja, and regions within the Central Coast in California.
$30 and up/bottle
For more serious wine drinkers, you have the world as your options. You can step up the game now in the classic regions, but you can also look into Burgundy and Piedmont to wow your guests.
Champagne Toast
As mentioned, most will likely just drink half a glass for the toast, so unless you have an unlimited budget, there are plenty of value options. Crémant from France, Cava from Spain, and Prosecco from Italy are all wonderful options. A pro tip – be careful with Prosecco because there are many in the market that are quite sweet. Always best to talk with a local wine shop to find the best Prosecco.

Different wines go better in different seasons, just like different foods go better in different seasons. A bold Napa Cab doesn’t taste so great in the summer nor does a rich Chardonnay. Those are better suited for winter weddings.
Ahhhh…love is in the air and everything is starting to bloom. Think fresh! Crisp white wines like Verdicchio, Bordeaux Blanc, and Viura are all wonderful ideas. Spring is also the start of Rosé season and the best things about rose’s are that just about everyone loves them, they’re inexpensive, and they will look beautiful on your table with all the flowers. In terms of red wines, there are a lot of options here depending on what’s being served food wise. Bordeaux Rouge, Pinot Noir, Chianti, and Nebbiolo are some lovely ideas.
Summer is a great time to drink the super crisp white wines from Greece, and they are an amazing value as well as rather crowd pleasing. Other options are Txakolina from Spain and Sauvignon Blanc from all around the world. Of course rosé season is still in full swing, so you can’t go wrong there. For reds consider wines that do not have oak on them, or very minimal oak. Why? The oak adds body and tannins, which can be hard to drink when it’s hot out. Italy has many red wines that are easy to drink in the summer and Pinot Noirs from Oregon and Burgundy are most refreshing.
Fall is an incredibly romantic time to get married! Cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, autumnal foods, and moving into more bold wines to compliment it all can be a lot of fun. It’s also a less busier time to get married, so you might score on lower price packages from companies. In the Fall you can pretty much go with any style of white wine, but you can also think about adding Chardonnay into the mix. Don’t go too heavy on the oak as that tends to over power the food. Pinot Noir is always a great choice for red wines and think about the wines from the Côte du Rhône. Most Côte du Rhônes have enough texture for cooler temps without all the heavy tannins.
Probably not the most popular wedding season, but seeing snowflakes outside your venue’s doors can be idyllic. Warm comforting food paired with some rich and cozy wines sure does sound relaxing. Depending on your menu, think about anything from a Pinot Grigio to a Chardonnay for the whites and more bold wines like Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds.

Don’t stress, have fun! Taste lots of wines with friends and family to help you make decisions. You’ll want to find the most crowd-pleasing styles for everyone to enjoy.


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