Wedding Wine

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Just the mention of weddings or engagements conjures up all sorts of stories that are entertaining, at the very least. We contribute to the conversation because every wedding is unique, yet there are components that are always the same. Family traditions pair with contemporary and personal tastes to create a memorable life moment for the special couple, their families and friends.

With the engagement, the list-making begins, from planning the engagement party to making sure the wedding date is secure with photographers, florists and caterers. Catering decisions come with questions around bartending and wine service for events from the engagement party, bridal showers, rehearsal dinner and wedding reception. Your caterer can make wine pairing suggestions for each course of your meal; another great resource is your favorite winery. After you have decided on the basics of the menu, begin thinking about what wines you will offer your guests, and when.

Welcome Wine
Served as guests are arriving, welcome wine can be limited to sparkling wine or white wine served with a light cheese and fruit display. Chilled sparkling wine with a clean dry finish, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay are good choices.

Cocktail Hour
Immediately following the ceremony, cocktail hour generally is hosted by the bride and groom and may have a limited selection of wines and beer for guests prior to the dinner reception. Consider a chilled sparkling wine, a light white wine blend and a light red wine blend.

When the bride and groom arrive from the post-ceremony photos, the official festivities may begin! The reception may have bottles of wine opened and pre-set on each table for self-service, or the chosen wines may be served individually and paired with each course. Roussanne and grenache blanc make lovely white wines for dinner courses; red wines such as zinfandel and syrah go very well with most courses including vegetarian menus

Make It Personal
You may have seen wine bottles with special collegiate logos on the label or etched into the glass bottle itself. This creates an instant keepsake and is on trend with many wedding couples today.
One of the best ways to make the wedding wine special is to have a custom label printed right on the bottle. If you and your sweetheart have a favorite wine you enjoy together, the winery can create a special wine label just for you, placed on the front of the bottle. Perhaps an engagement photo would be a nice touch and would also be a memorable thank-you gift to all your guests. You could purchase additional cases to keep for your anniversary celebrations in future years.

Blend Your Own Vintage
Commission a special blend to mark the occasion. What year did you meet or get engaged? Consider working with a winery to blend, bottle and purchase a private blend commissioned with your special tastes in mind. If 2014 was your year, you could have a signature blend of zinfandel, syrah and mourvedre, for example, created for your special day and ready to enjoy for years to come.

Wedding Day Barrel
Definitely not on any bridal registry, this is a gift for the wine-loving couple who has everything. Family and friends contribute to purchasing a barrel of wine for the current vintage year and letting it age with the winemaker. The winery can make a nameplate for the barrel as well. After the aging and bottling process, the barrel can be used as a table top and as a conversation piece for years to come.

Message in a Bottle
Another wedding tradition includes guests leaving the bridal couple a note in a guest book with good wishes for their life together. Putting a wine spin on this tradition includes using an empty magnum-size wine bottle with a custom label. Writing out life’s best advice on small strips of paper, guests place their well wishes directly into the bottle, which can be sealed and opened in the future to reminisce about a beautiful life moment.

Remember the Bubbly!
Toasting is a wedding tradition dating back to the sixth century. In this old French style, a small piece of toasted bread is floated in a wine glass that the bride and groom share after the initial blessing prior to festivities. The glass is then passed to the bridal party to take a sip. The practice was said to bring good health and unity to the couple and their families, who were often meeting each other for the first time. Today’s custom is to use only sparkling wine or champagne.

We highly recommend using the professional experience of a wedding event planner, who can manage and design the details of your perfect wedding feast, complete with wine pairings. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! ■

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