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The Ultimate Guide to Stocking Wines For Your Wedding

Plus, 12 wines your guests will love

Janice Williams By May 27, 2022
flowers surrounding wine bottles
Photo by Ed Robertson via Unsplash. Collage by Pix

When the time came to toast the newlyweds, Julie Adrat knew exactly what to drink with her new husband. 

They would finally open the bottle of Champagne Gosset collecting dust in their apartment. 

“I tried Gosset with Dan a long time ago. When he tried it, he loved it just as much as I did. I remember him saying, ‘This is incredible.’ So I saved a bottle and told him we would drink it on our wedding day,” says Adrat, a senior account executive at Colangelo & Partners public relations agency in New York. 

She adds, “It was the perfect way to kick off our reception.”

The rest of the wedding party clinked Prosecco to celebrate the couple’s nuptials. For that, Adrat and her husband had relied on the venue to help choose the wine for their guests. Luckily, the restaurant that hosted their wedding had plenty of wine to choose from

However, choosing the wine doesn’t have to be a challenge even if you aren’t working with a venue with an extensive wine list. There are a few things wedding planners can consider to ease the stress of party planning, and that starts with keeping things simple.

Approachability always win

“You don’t need to stock up on three different reds or three different whites. Pick one of each, and focus on versatility and choosing something that will be pleasant for different palates — something that guests will be happy with that won’t require much thought,” says Amanda Fraga, wine director of The Genuine Hospitality Group, who often works with couples tying the knot at Miami restaurant Amara at Paraiso.

Stick with the classics, says Steven Grubbs, the wine director of Ovide at Hotel Effie in Florida and Atlanta restaurants Empire State South and By George. Couples should choose wines they enjoy drinking together but emphasize wines that people are generally familiar with.

“A big thing I tell people is to figure out how to manage the difference between what you like to drink and what you know will be a broad appeal to everybody that’s there. There’s a healthy mix between the two,” says Grubbs.

According to Fraga and Grubbs, the safest bet for whites is a crisp and light Sauvignon Blanc and a rich Chardonnay. A more delicate style of Pinot Noir and a robust Cabernet Sauvignon will satisfy the guests who enjoy red wines.

“We wanted good wines that we would drink on any night or occasion and a selection that was also approachable for guests,” says Marisa Jetter, a public relations and marketing agent at Teuwen Communications in New York.

Jetter and her husband chose classic wines that everyone would enjoy, serving wines from Long Island — an area they frequented during their courtship and the place where they were wed.

“We had a Paumanok Chardonnay, Raphaël Sauvignon Blanc, and a cool red that a local winemaking family winery, Macari Vineyards, makes in collaboration with the venue. We saved an extra bottle of that one that we’ll open for our first-anniversary celebration,” Jetter says.

Pass the Prosecco

The days of Champagne only are over, with Italy’s Prosecco and Spain’s Cava now more likely to feature on the menu — not only are they good quality wines, but they won’t break the bank.

“There’s actually a ton of great Cava that’s not very expensive to keep people satisfied at a wedding. There are a lot of delicious Crémant wines from various parts of France that are not as expensive. What you choose really depends on your budget and whether you’re trying to get away with spending $12 a bottle versus $18,” says Grubbs.

How much wine?

For many wedding planners, the easiest part is choosing what to serve. The difficulty is guessing how much people will drink and ensuring that there’s enough wine on hand to keep everybody happy. 

Here’s a simple trick to figure out how much wine to buy: take the number of guests and divide by 2.15, which is based on the number of glasses a guest may drink over two to three hours. 

And don’t forget about the other drinks. 

“If you’ve hired a terrific mixologist who is making a range of specialty cocktails or if you have a cool keg of craft beer, those things are going to be really popular with the crowd. You probably won’t need to pour a ton of wine if you’ve got stuff like that,” says Grubbs.

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is to not get too caught up in trying to please everyone. After all, the wedding day is all about the people getting married. Most of the time, guests are just happy to witness the love no matter what they’re drinking, even if you’re toasting with the Champagne you brought from home while everyone else is drinking Prosecco.

Perfect wedding sparkling wines:

bottle of Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro Brut

Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut NV (~$11)

This bottle of bubbly is produced by Spanish winery Freixenet, one of the leading producers of Cava with a history of winemaking dating as far back as the 1860s. A blend of Macabeo, Xarel·lo, and Parellada, this sparkling wine displays lively flavors of apple and citrus and a hint of gingerbread. 

bottle of Zonin Prosecco Brut

Zonin Veneto Prosecco NV (~$12)

Fresh, dry, and aromatic, this wine from Gambellara, a small village in Veneto, Italy, features a bouquet of fruity apple, lemon, and lime character. Tiny bubbles create a frothy mouthfeel that lasts from the first sip to the finish.

bottle of Santa Margherita Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut

Santa Margherita Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut Prosecco NV (~$23)

From the region of Valdobbiadene in Italy comes this lively, dry sparkling wine. This easy-drinking bubbly features an abundance of fruity apple and pear characteristics. However, it’s refined on the palate with fine minerality, citrus nuances, and crisp acidity. This sparkling is totally fine as a standalone sipper, but it will also pair well with decadent wedding dishes. 

Perfect wedding white wines:

bottle of Villaggio Pinot Grigio Italy Sicily

Villaggio Italy Pinot Grigio 2020 (~$10)

Who doesn’t love Pinot Grigio? A true crowd-pleaser, this bright yellow, full-bodied wine hails from Italy’s Tierre Sicliane wine region. It’s intensely fruity on the nose and the palate with bright flavors of ripe peach, apple, and fresh florals. 

bottle of Domaine Durand 'Reserve Durand' Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Domaine Durand 'Reserve Durand' Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (~$11)

This incredibly bright Sauvignon Blanc is made by a small family producer in France’s Loire Valley. The wine is light and pretty with aromas of white flowers and fruit that evolve into citrus and melon on the palate. Zippy acidity gives the wine a lively, mouthwatering edge.

bottle of Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay Livermore Valley

Wente Livermore Valley Morning Fog Chardonnay 2020 (~$18)

This Chardonnay produced by Wente Vineyards in the Livermore Valley region of California’s Central Coast is basically a bang for your buck in a bottle. Its complex taste is as rich as the texture. Fragrances of stone fruits and flowers lead the aroma, while tropical pineapple flavor and tantalizing minerality dominate the palate. Only adding to its appeal, this wine has a 90-point score from critics at Decanter, James Suckling, and Wine Enthusiast.

bottle of Domaine du Nozay Sancerre

Domaine du Nozay Sancerre 2020 (~$35)

For a wine that shines as bright as the newlywed couple, turn to this dazzling wine produced by Domaine du Nozay in the heart of Sancerre, the prized region for Sauvignon Blanc within France’s Loire Valley. Intense, complex, and balanced, this wine features ample orchard and stone fruit aromas. Bright citrus, melon, and salinity bring the palate to life, while minerality and plentiful acid helps the wine maintain its energy long through the finish.

Perfect wedding rosé wines:

bottle of Domaine Baillard Grand Vin de France Rosé

Pauline Vigneron Grand Baillard Vin de France Rosé 2020 (~$9)

There is always room for rosé, especially at spring weddings, says Grubbs. This one from Provence, made with a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, is light, simple, and easy to drink, with delicate red fruit flavors, clean minerality, and a line of acidity that keeps the wine mouthwatering through the last sip.

bottle of Wölffer Estate Summer In A Bottle Rosé

Wölffer Summer in a Bottle Cotes de Provence Rose 2021 (~$25)

A blend of Provence-grown Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Vermentino are used to make this vibrant and fruity rosé produced by New York winery Wölffer Estate. Dry with pronounced grapefruit aromas, the wine displays red berry flavors, a hint of peach, and earthy nuances balanced by acidity. 

Perfect wedding red wines:

bottle of Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon H3

Columbia Crest H3 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (~$12)

Here’s a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington’s Columbia Valley to pair with all your wedding dishes. Although dark fruit dominates the aromas, this wine is layered on the palate with notes of dark chocolate, crushed herbs, and refined minerality. Fresh acidity helps to loosen the grip of the tannins through the long, lingering finish.

bottle of Pacific Redwood Organic Pinot Noir

Pacific Redwood Mendocino Organic Pinot Noir 2021 (~$16)

This delicate Pinot Noir hails from the Mendocino region of California, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Russian River in Redwood Valley. Made with organically grown grapes, this Pinot Noir has subtle red fruit aromas while the palate is drenched in strawberry flavors. A twinge on mint mid-palate adds to the overall freshness.

bottle of Zuccardi Q Tempranillo Valle De Uco

Familia Zuccardi 'Zuccardi Q' Tempranillo 2016 (~$21)

Produced in the Santa Rosa subregion of Mendoza, Argentina, this is the uncomplicated red wine to keep guests satisfied all wedding long. With its plump and juicy texture, this easy-drinking Tempranillo leans heavily on the berry appeal but maintains a savory quality with its meaty and spicy nuances. Round tannins balance out the flavor while the finish cleans up quickly with acidity.