Wedding Wine: A Marriage of True Vines

Liza and I chat about wines for weddings and parties on Global Morning Television.

Here are my Top 50 Wines Under $15 also showing you your closest liquor stores that have them in stock now.

As a bonus, here are my 20 Best Bubblies Under $20 for wedding toasts, and the most Gorgeous Gift Wines for the happy couple.

wedding wine bride

I love Liza’s gift idea for the happy couple: a wine crate with 3-4 bottles of wine.

Notes on each wine indicate the bottle to drink now, the one drink on their first anniversary, fifth and tenth. Add another special touch and buy one wine from the vintage of when they met or got engaged or the wedding year.

Here are more tips on planning party wines and drinks for weddings, reunions, graduations, birthdays and anniversaries.

When celebrating a wedding, anniversary, graduation or birthday with a large party, much energy is devoted to the food, flowers and entertainment. Yet one of the most expensive parts of any large function is the alcohol.

– how to calculate how much wine you need for the reception and dinner, and what mix between red and white, as well as other alcoholic beverageschampagne glasses clinking

– do you need champagne for the toast or are there other sparkling wines that taste good but don’t cost as much?

– similarly are there red and white wines that won’t blow the budget? what if you want to go local with your choices?

– how to personalize your wine selection as the couple, or how to do so if giving the gift of wine (every bottle has a story, special vintage to commemorate when you met, Italian wine for couples of Italian heritage, getting a signed bottle from the winemaker etc)

– quick tips for food pairings with the dinner

– which types of glasses to use

– other tips: serving water for hydration/responsible hosts, beverage stations separated from food stations to avoid congestion etc.


Wedding Wine: A Marriage of True Vines


Liza: Natalie Maclean is here now.  She’s the author of ‘Unquenchable’  The Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and ‘Red, White  and Drunk All Over’.

Natalie: I do my research.

Liza: Right, great titles. Welcome. We’re talking about the season for big parties and weddings.

Natalie: Exactly, yes.

Liza: If you’re hosting an event like that, it can be quite overwhelming to figure out how many bottles of wine you need to buy. How much red? How much white? How do you do it without busting the budget?

Natalie: Exactly.

Liza: So, should we start with bubbly?

Natalie: Absolutely. Most couples think of the toast and having bubbly at the wedding. But the first tip is that it doesn’t have to be Champagne for either tasting good or class.

Liza: Right.

Natalie: What I brought today is Segura which is a Spanish bubbly made with the Champagne method and it’s a fraction of the price. We’ve also got a bubbly from Niagara and again it’s made from the same grapes as they use in Champagne and the same method but this one clocks in at about 65 or 70 dollars.

Liza: Often, if I want to have some bubbly in the house I go for a Prosecco.

Natalie: Yes.

Liza: Rather than a Champagne.

Natalie: Exactly, Italy is another great source. Italy and Spain compete on value bubbly. They taste great, they’re dry and you’re guests will love them.

Liza: Okay, how do you know how much whine to buy? How much red to buy?

Natalie: Right.

Liza: Is it dependent on the number of people but also on what you’re serving?

Natalie: Yes, If you have an idea of your guests’ preferences, red or white, spirits or liquors, that does help. But if you’re not sure how much they’re going to drink and keeping in mind they’re going to be people who don’t drink alcohol at all, I calculate about half a bottle of wine per hour of a sit-down meal.

Liza: Okay.

Natalie: I find, these days, that more red wine is consumed than white wines so I would go with a 60/40 split on the reds.

Liza: The red side?

Natalie: 60/40, yes I would. Then for food pairing you want to choose wines that go with a lot of different dishes, so that’s why I would have a Sauvignon Blanc that doesn’t have any oak in it or a Pinot Grigio.

Liza: This is one of my absolute favourites.

Natalie: Yes.

Liza: This Kim Crawford is hard to beat, it’s so good.

Natalie: The Kim Crawford, Yes.

Liza: And it’s so easy.

Natalie: It is from New Zealand. It’s crisp, it’s mouth-watering and it’s food friendly. It doesn’t have that heavy oak and alcohol. So that’s what you’re looking for, palate pleasers both in the whites and the reds. On the reds here, both wines are under $20 so you’re not breaking the budget. We’ve Sterling Merlot, here.  Merlot has had a tough time after the movie sideways.

Liza: It’s shocking how much that movie…

Natalie: Unfair.

Liza: There was a huge hit to the Merlot worker.

Natalie: Exactly, Merlot is a great wine; it’s a great party wine because it’s smooth. That’s the wine snobs getting at the fact that it doesn’t have much to it but it does. It’s smooth and it’s a great party wine. This is a Cabernet from Napa Valley. It’s surprisingly well priced. There’s a nice mix of reds and whites that won’t break the budget.

Liza: Right, exactly and then what do we have finally over on this end?

Natalie: Now we’re looking at gift wines. You’re going to a wedding or a party and you want to bring a hostess gift. These wines are about $25 or $35 and you want to give them something nice. What I like to give is a wine from the Couple’s Heritage, if I can. If it’s an Italian couple, the Ruffino from Italy is a nice choice. The way you can personalize it further is to get it signed, at the winery, by the winemaker.

Liza: Right.

Natalie: Couples can get their own wine labels made in Niagara to celebrate their wedding.

Liza: Oh, that’s great.

Natalie: Yes.

Liza: And then finally the Sterling on the end?

Natalie: That is from Napa Valley. It’s a terrific value even though it’s a higher price about $29. Wineries like Sterling make a wide range of wines.  So they’ll start at the low end of the price spectrum, say $12 or $13 and go right up to their premium bottles. You can get quite a range of price points but the same care and attention to quality, so it makes a great gift.

Liza: You know speaking of gifts; my best friend came up with the smartest gift when I got married. It was nicely packaged wines to be opened immediately, another wine to be open on our first anniversary, the fifth anniversary, and the tenth anniversary.

Natalie: That is lovely.

Liza: What a smart gift.

Natalie: Lovely! That’s a great idea.

Liza: With a little personalize tag explaining each.

Natalie: Absolutely, and you could get a wine from the vintage when the couple met or their first apartment or whatever.

Liza: Right.

Natalie: The beauty of wine as a gift is that unlike toasters, you can’t get too many.

Liza: Yes.

Natalie: Ones-size-fits-all.

Liza: Yes.

Natalie: And they can save it for later.

Liza: There you go, Natalie Maclean, thank you so much.

Natalie: Thank you.

Liza: Great to have you.

Posted with permission of Global Television.



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