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5 ways to select the best wines for your wedding

Wine merchants Corney & Barrow share their advice on the best bottles for your big day

Ah weddings.  Eye wateringly expensive, stress filled occasions or a joy in the making?  Assuming you’ve ticked off the big three (date, venue, dress), there’s much fun to be had for those planning a memorable reception and that often depends on the hospitality.

Whether you’re a wine expert or simply an enthusiast, choosing what to serve can be a relatively simple affair as long as you follow the unwritten rules.

Consider your guests

Not everyone has the same taste. Whilst it’s always dangerous to generalise, people who developed their taste for wine between the 1970s and 1990s tend to enjoy a more ‘classical’ style, as this was reflecting the style of that time. This means leaner structures, lower alcohols and a more savoury flavour profile. 

Younger generations have grown up on a diet of bolshy, boozy and sweetly fruited wines (think Malbec or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) following the evolution of modern winemaking. Let the demographics of your guest list guide your choice, or make a statement by showing your favourites (after all, it is your big day).

Think through the time of year

It sounds obvious, but serving big, heavy wines, no matter the quality, in the height of summer will make people very drowsy after they’ve had a good feed and a few glasses. Save these for winter weddings. Aim for seasonal, just as you would when choosing the food. 

Don't spend too much

Unless your guests are an assortment of wine snobs, catering for weddings is the perfect opportunity to explore the many outstanding wines and cheaper end of the price spectrum.  Don’t write off the ‘house’ option.  With the explosion of wine choice on the high street, own labels wines have improved greatly and many now offer top quality and real value for money.

People will drink what they want, when they want

Sometimes the perfect pairing for a particular dish you’re serving isn’t the perfect wine for your wedding. Yes, it may get you plaudits from your oenophile friends for your exceptional food and wine pairings, but many people just want to drink what they like, whatever the time of day – and some wines really do need food to sing.

You don’t want to serve Uncle John who only drinks red wine a super tannic red at 1pm.The ideal wine therefore, is one that both matches your food and is easy drinking enough to drink without – particularly important with reds.

Screwcap vs Cork: Make your decision

This isn’t a rule as such, just something to consider. If you’ve got a big wedding with lots of guests and anticipate going through wine quickly, it might be worth considering the merits of the quick ‘n’ easy screw cap vs pulling dozens of corks.   Screwcaps are also an easier way for guests to transport any leftovers home at the end of the night …

Further Reading