Now that you’ve completed our pre-wedding wine selection guide, it’s time to get to the fun stuff – choosing the wines for your wedding. You’ll want to offer a mix of reds and whites and of course, have some bubbles for a classic wedding toast. So, how do you decide which types of wines to purchase for your wedding reception or pre-ceremony?
How to pick the perfect wine for your wedding reception
When picking the wines for your wedding celebration, you’ll want to appeal to the broadest-level of wine drinkers first. If your budget allows, lean towards adding more wine selections. The more wine options for your wedding guests, the better. You can utilize the sommelier at your local liquor store for specific recommendations, but as a baseline for planning your wedding reception wines, you’ll want to select 2-3 types of wine that are all different from each other.
Remember to always sample your wines before making a decision. Regardless of your budget, the price can be deceiving. There are great cheap wines and there are not-so-great expensive wines. So, make sure the wines you choose appeal to your taste.
Selecting your wedding wines
Keeping your wedding menu, theme and location in mind, take the “shotgun approach” and select wines that are different, broadly appealing in their own way.
Selecting Red Wines for Your Wedding
Red wine is a classic selection for weddings. Wedding guests tend to drink more red wine at indoor weddings & fall, spring and winter weddings. If your wedding is indoors, or you have a large group of red wine lovers as your attendees, we’d recommend red wine take up at least 50% of your wedding wine selections.
Medium to Full Bodied Red Wines
A medium-to-heavy bodied red hits the middle of the “red wine” drinker’s palate. These red wines have a balance between tannins and acidity and have a nice medium-high alcohol level. They offer complex flavours without needing food to help cut the tannins. Because of their ability to go solo, medium to heavy body reds are ideal table wines for your wedding reception. Because we all know the wine bottles on the tables will be opened and emptied early on in the wedding reception. So, we wouldn’t worry too much about pairing your table wines with dinner– they probably won’t make it that far.
Recommended Medium to Heavy Bodied Red Wines for Your Wedding
Wine styles like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, or Tempranillo are great places to start when searching for medium-heavy body reds for your wedding reception or pre-ceremony.
Light-Bodied Red Wines
If your budget allows, adding a light-bodied red to the mix would be beneficial in providing variety in your wedding wine selections. These wines are low-viscosity and typically low alcohol, as well. Light-bodied reds will make excellent table or “appetizer” wines to be served before the main course.
Recommended Light-Bodied Red Wines for Your Wedding
Pinot Noir from California or Oregon regions are great light-bodied red wine selections for your wedding. Pinot Noir can be versatile because they don’t require an accompanying meal or food item to be enjoyed. Depending on your choices, there are many Pinot Noir available that are edging the medium-bodied level. Pinot Noirs pair well with pork, chicken, duck and mushrooms.
Selecting White Wines for Your Wedding
To balance out your reds, white wines are a great selection for weddings. Consider your wedding location and season, as wedding guests are more inclined to drink more chilled white wine at outdoor weddings in the spring and summer. In this case, it’s recommended your wine selection be 35% white wine and 35% red wine.
Light-Bodied Dry/Off-Dry White Wines
A light-bodied dry white wine is crisp and refreshing. These wines provide fruit and citrus flavours and zesty acidity rather than full, creamy and buttery textures. A popular or “crowd pleaser” white wine would be a Chardonnay. Chardonnay pairs well with lean meats, seafood and fresh herbs.
Recommended Light-Bodied White Wines for Your Wedding
For a lean, mineral-y, dry wine an Unoaked Chardonnay would be a great starting point for a white wine at a wedding. Pinot Grigio is also a great dry white wine selection for your wedding. Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio has a punchy acidity with lemon, lime, and green apple flavours. It’s an excellent and refreshing white wine to serve chilled during an outdoor wedding on a hot day.
Full-Bodied Dry/Off-Dry White Wines
A full-bodied dry white wine is rich and provides nutty and creamy flavours. These white wines are made with the use of oak ageing. They provide both creamy, This white wine generally appeals to the broadest number of wine drinkers as 50% of wine drinkers prefer Chardonnay.
Recommended Light-Bodied Red Wines for Your Wedding
An oaked Chardonnay offers the classic flavours of an oaked wine such as vanilla, coconut, and butter along Chardonnay’s tropical flavours. This white speaks to those who prefer a creamy, rich, buttery or smokey white wine.
Selecting Champagne for Your Wedding
Choosing a sparkling wine or champagne for your wedding is important for toasts. You can’t do a toast without bubbles! Remember that a bottle of champagne fills approximately 6-8 Champagne flutes. Wedding guests generally only drink about a 1/2 a glass of sparkling wine or champagne, so anticipate your bubbly wines only taking up about 15-20% of your total wedding wine bottles.
A little nervous about giving a toast at a wedding?
Check out our guide to giving the best champagne toast at events
Recommended Champagne and Sparkling Wines for Your Wedding
If your wedding reception is happening indoors or at night, consider rich sparkling wines or Champagne for your toast. Classic French Champagne, Blanc de Blancs or Blanc de Noirs & Italian Metodo Classico are a good place to start.
If your wedding reception is taking place outdoors or in the day time, consider Prosecco, Cava or a Sparkling Rosé for your bubbles.