Selecting the perfect wines for your summer wedding
With summer wedding season in full swing, there is so much to be done! Planning a wedding is a complex operation with so many variables, such as dresses and suits, flowers and cars, speeches and food. One of the more enjoyable aspects of all this hard work is selecting the wines for your big day. So how do you go about planning and selecting the right wines for your reception?
The first thing you need to do is settle on a budget for your wine. The wines for your wedding don’t have to cost a fortune these days as there are a lot of good wines sold at reasonable prices. You should budget about 15% to 20% of your overall spend to wine for the big day, including Champagne or Sparkling Wine. If you are going to provide your own wines, make sure you know whether your venue charges a corkage and if it does, incorporate this into the cost of the wine. It is often cheaper to purchase your own wine and pay the corkage, whilst enjoying the freedom to select very specific wines to suit your taste.
What to serve
The rule of thumb for summer wedding wines is to serve at least one Red Wine and one White Wine at the reception. You probably also want to serve a Champagne or Sparkling Wine for the toasts. Dessert Wines are optional and depend upon your budget but can be a nice finishing touch.
There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing which particular wines to serve. But before you can make those decisions, you need to know which wines you like! This is your wedding after all and your wine choices should reflect who you are.
Step one is to taste a wide variety of wines. Attending wine tastings at wine stores is one place to start. Another would be selecting different wines by the glass when you go out for a meal or to a wine bar. You could also purchase a new bottle of a different style of wine and from a different vineyard every time you do your grocery shopping. Make sure you keep a note of the wines you drink: the vineyard, the style of wine and the vintages and whether you like it or not. It is very difficult to recall which wines you enjoy after tasting a number of wines.
Step two is to narrow down what you like to match your menu. The purpose of matching or pairing wine and food is to enhance both the wine and the meal. Neither should overpower the other. Avoid the more full-bodied wines like Chardonnay, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and chose lighter-bodied wines. Versatile wines for pairing with meals include Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Rioja.
Step three is to consider any wines that may have been significant for you. Your wedding is a significant part of your story and your wine choice forms part of that. For instance, did you spend a holiday abroad as a couple and encounter a memorable winetasting that led you to your favourite wine? Or did you visit a beautiful vineyard that framed your proposal? Perhaps you want to include these in your wedding.
How much to serve
A general rule to decide how many bottles of wine to buy, is to provide half to three-quarters of a bottle per person. The assumption is that most people will drink approximately two glasses of wine with the meal. You will also need to allow for about two glasses of Sparkling Wine or Champagne per person for the toasts, more if you have many fans of bubbly attending the wedding, or if you plan to offer this during the photographs.
As a rule, more White Wine or Rosé will be consumed than Red Wine at a summer wedding, particularly when it's quite hot outside, so bear that in mind when buying. As a quick aside, it would also be a good idea to supply still and sparkling water at the tables, so that guests can quench their thirst on water rather than the wine.
Our summer wedding wine suggestions
Mark Davies, Director of Hard To Find Wines, had the following suggestions for great summer wedding wines:
“A great Sparkling Wine for toasts is the Pierre Jourdan Belle Rosé from Haute Cabrière. With an elegant dry finish and the flavours of a pinot noir without any harshness, this is one of the beautiful wines created by the father and son team of Achim and Takuan von Arnim in Franschhoek, South Africa.”
“For the White Wine, I suggest Bladen Little Angel Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Crafted by a small vineyard in Marlborough, owned by Dave and Christine Macdonald, this medium-bodied wine gives other more expensive Sauvignon Blancs a run for their money. The cherubs on the label in silver leaf look quite weddingy too! Bladen Little Angel Sauvignon Blanc is currently on offer at £9.99 (originally £12.99) per bottle. A fantastic savings for a great wine.”
“Also available from Bladen and a fantastic option for a wedding wine, particularly in summer, is their Pinot Rosé. Our stock that arrived in the spring this year was sold out before it even reached the UK. We have just received our eagerly awaited new stock of the Bladen Pinot Rosé. This wine is a delightfully refreshing Rosé with subtle acidity and a beautiful pink hue.”
“I can recommend Vinedos Real Rubio Terra Milenaria Rioja for the red wine. It’s a lightish style red from Spain, crafted by the same family who began Vinedos Real Rubio over 100 years ago.”
“Glenwood Grand Duc Noblesse is a great value substitute for more premium Sauternes. Created by DP Burger at Glenwood, a hidden gem of a vineyard in Franschhoek, South Africa, this is a superb dessert wine.”
Our wine selection service
Hard To Find Wines offers a wedding wine selection service to make the process of choosing the right wines for your wedding easier. We offer knowledgeable advice about wine selection that takes the guess work out of the process. Along with a very broad selection of wines, we can make selecting wine for your wedding a straightforward matter.
Mark said, “We host tastings at our tasting room in Shropshire or we can send out samples so that couples can choose their wines. We charge for this service, but when a couple places an order, the charge is refunded off the bill.”
Take a look at our Wine Tasting section of our website to learn more, or call us on
01746 389 749 to discuss your requirements further.