Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Step 69 - Decide if you want Wine served for your Wedding Reception

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
If you are deciding whether to serve wine or not at your wedding, your decision should be determined if you have a number of wine connoisseurs in your wedding guest list. If the decision is yes, you will have a little homework to determine which wines to serve.

Inexperienced wine drinkers tend to purchase sweet ones over aged wines. The wine enthusiast will think lowly of you for not serving good wine. There are thousands of wine choices, the key is to find a wine expert, tell him/her you are having a wedding and the amount of wedding guests, what type of foods you are serving and the type of environment of your wedding reception (venue provides liquor, you bring the liquor, or the wedding reception is outdoors).

Your best bet is to check some wineries in your area. A few months before the wedding take a road trip with your beau and bring along some close friends if you would like. Develop a relationship with one of the owners or salesperson, and get his/her opinion of wines to buy long before the wedding. Get recommendations of wines to buy on the high, medium, and low priced wines. You can also find good wines at your local wine shop and in some upscale liquor stores.  You also can find wine at Sam's Club, Costco, and BJs.

There are a few countries that are well known for their good wine which include Spain, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and France. A good wine improves in taste for a number of years, stays at peak and then starts to decline gradually. The key in buying good wine is buy wine while it is on it's way to it's peak and store it until it reaches it's peak period. A red burgundy for example has about 6 years of maturing, 6 years of peak, and 6 years of a gentle decline. Also, wines go through a rating system by wine experts and the wine is given a score. Wine is affected by sun, weather, and soil acidity causing each years crop to have a little variance in taste.

Make sure the wine you choose is served at the correct temperature so the wine taste it's best. Wines should always be maintained between 45-64 degrees Fahrenheit. White wines should be warmed up a bit to enhance it's flavor, while reds and roses should be served at cellar temperatures usually about 58-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Reds often could use some time to decant (poured from one vessel to another), before they are served, allowing the flavor profile and bouquet to come alive. Believe it or not, serving, wine in glasses made for specific grapes enhance the flavor as well.

Another key in buying wine is to buy in bulk, preferably by the case. You can save a lot of money by buying the wine at a winery or local store yourself. But not all venues or caterers allow the client (you) to bring your own wine, so check with everyone involved before purchasing wine for the wedding.

The standard 750.ml wine bottle holds 25 ounces, count on five servings of wine, at five ounces each from one bottle. For sparkling wines served in flutes, allow four ounces per serving which equates to about six servings per bottle. Although sparkling wine is a wedding fixture you should consider serving red and white wine especially if the wedding reception includes a meal and hors d'oeuvres.

It's better to have too much wine than not have enough. Guests grumble when the wine runs out and there is still food on their plate or an empty or half empty glass for their wedding toast. Most caterers will tell you to expect each guest to consume one-half bottle of wine - roughly two glasses per every two hours. If the reception lasts four hours, count on one 25-ounce bottle per person. Some guests will drink a little more than one bottle and some will drink less.

There are a number of wine websites that provide information on wines that can help you get educated some. The recommended websites are www.decanter.com , www.wineloverspage.com , www.snooth.com , www.winespectator.com , www.winegeeks.com and www.erobertparker.com . The erobertparker website has a rating table that gives color coded scores by tear of wines of many well known wines into extraordinary, outstanding, above average to excellent, average, below average, and appalling categories.

If you have an outdoor wedding, consider using a boxed bulk wine. Inside the wine box is a bag that takes much less space to store and will chill faster out of the box than in and place them into refrigerators or coolers with ice or ice and water. When you are ready to serve transfer info carafes. Serving wines this way can save you 50% or more on the cost of wine versus bottled wine.

One trick of the trade at wedding receptions is to have hired caterers walk around your reception tables, with good tasting cheaper wines. They will make the guests feel as they are being waited on hand and foot. This decreases the amount of time spent ordering pricier hard liquor at the bar with your wedding guests enjoying good wine instead.

Wine connoisseurs often recommend certain wines to go along with certain entrees. Some of their suggestions of what wine to serve to compliment the entree are shown in the list below.

Recommended Wines with Entrees

New York Strip Steak - Zinfandel
T Bone Steak - Merlot
Porterhouse Steak - Pinot Noir
Filet Mignon - Cabernet Sauvignon
Sirloin Steak - Merlot
Prime Rib - Syrah/Shiraz
Rib Eye Steak - Cabernet Sauvignon
Steak Delmonico - Zinfandel
Filet Oscar - Pinot Noir
London Broil - Cabernet Sauvignon
Cajun Ribeye - Petite Sirah
Steak Au Poivre - Chardonnay
Ham - Pinot Noir/Gewurz Traminer
Chicken - Chardonnay
Salmon - Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Duck - Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Sauvignon Blanc
Lean Fish - Chenin Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio
Fuller Fish - Chardonnay/Fume Blanc/Viognier/Pinot Gris
Shrimp - Dry Fino Sherry
Lobster - Alsace Riesling/Bordeaux Graves/Burgundy Chablis/Rhone's Heritage
Spare Ribs - Provencal Rose/Riesling/Tempranilla
Pork Chops - Beaujolais/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc
Pork Tenderloin - Pinot Noir/Zinfandel
Roast Pork - Beaujolais/Pinot Noir
Fried Food - Champagne/Prosecco/Cava
Lasagna - Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
Chili - Malbec/Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
Pizza - Cabernet Sauvignon

Many wedding reception facilities push expensive bottles of wine and make a nice margin when it's included as part of the wedding reception. Very often, you can save a bundle of money if you supply the wine yourself.
The venue might charge $30 - $40 for a bottle of wine that you can buy the same wine for $10 - $15 at your local wine shop or winery. Even if you bring your own wine, if the wedding venue still uncorks the bottle and pours the wine for your guests, they may still charge you a corkage fee anywhere from $5 - $25 per bottle. It's recommended, when you order and you serve wine, you should have 50 percent of your wines white and 50 percent of your wines red or rose. If the wedding is early in the day, you should not serve wine.

Beware of unscrupulous caterers that charge by the amount of wine consumed. They pour wine to the brim of the glass and if you take a sip they pour you more and when you go to dance they will take away your brimmed filled glass and when you get back to your seat you get a new glass of wine filled to the brim again. Most caterers are pretty good but beware of some caterers where the wait staff is encouraged to play this little game to increase the wine consumption.

At some weddings, wine or sparking wine is poured into a special party punch and often is called the signature drink and helps reduce the amount of drinks ordered from the bar. There are many different punches that can be made with wine, some of the more popular ones are summer fruit punch, white wine sangria, and sparking fruit punch. At a wedding make sure you include unusual attractive glasses to serve the wine punch in.

As for wine wedding favors, give champagne flutes and fill them up with candies that are the color of the wedding and set them on the tables for wedding decorations. You could also include a coaster with a picture of the wedding couple or decorated with grapes or a scene associated with a winery. Some companies even offer make your own wine labels decorated with a picture of the wedding couple, with bottles of wine offered as a favor. You can even use a wine theme in your decorations, place a candle inside the mouth of the wine bottles and decorate many areas with wine bottles with candlelight.

One of the highlights in a wedding is when the best man offers a toast to the new couple. This momentous occasion requires an official toasting beverage, one that has a bubbly dance. Tradition says champagne serves the purpose, symbolizing "celebration". Some of the recommended champagnes at weddings are Dolbeck, King Louis Roederer, Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, and Moet et Chandon. Whatever champagne you order, first test it yourself and make sure you have wedding flutes for the wedding reception and keep as a keepsake from your very special day. Don't forget flutes or wine glasses for all your wedding guests too.

Not everybody likes champagne and many champagnes are a little expensive. Lots of champagne are left on tables half filled with bubbly. You might save yourself some money for champagne by having a mix of champagne, sparkling wine, sparkling apple cider, and regular less expensive wine at the wedding toast.

The last thing to note about wine, red wine stains. Be careful of wine around white wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos, suits, and expensive carpets too. So if you have wedding guests that love their wine, consider serving wine and save some money on your hard liquor costs.

See you on the other side.

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