We’ve welcomed the official start of fall, and we’ll be seeing lots of wine-inspired wedding themes and crafts in the coming days. To kick things off, we have a fantastic guest post from Paul Yanon – an expert in food, wine, and spirits – and he has some great tips for planning a DIY wedding; especially for those who want to incorporate their love for wine into their wedding day!
To help your budget conscious readers with ideas for a cheaper winter wedding, we here at Colangelo & Partners Public Relations have created some winter wedding beverage tips to reinforce the notion that great weddings don’t always have to come at high price, you just have to be a little more savvy. Note: My wife and I actually decided to do the City Hall ceremony first and delayed our own NYC wedding till January 2013 because of the high costs.
Here are some of cost-friendly tips for young couples and frugal spenders alike:
- BYOB is your BFF – Search out hotels, restaurants, and other reception sites that don’t require you to buy from their list. Most will charge a corkage fee to BYOB, but that cost will pale in comparison to catering a room of thirsty revelers off the menu.
- Time of Day Matters - Are you having a day or evening wedding? People drink a little less at an afternoon wedding than at an evening affair so plan accordingly.
- Wine doesn’t have to be boring if on a budget – To get the greatest bang for your buck, look for wines from EU countries currently struggling with the economic crisis. Countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece are producing incredible wines that can be bought for a fraction of the price of the same quality wines made here in the US (especially California).
- Winter weddings coincide with Holiday sales discounts – Bargain hunters can find great discounts at wine stores during the Holiday period, especially with sparkling wines. Look at discount stores like Costco and Sam’s Club for greatly discounted offerings. The selection is actually not that bad and they multiple locations.
- Take advantage of whites rolling over to new vintages – With vintages about to change for many white wines during this time of year, distributors will be looking to move previous vintage stock from their warehouses with favorable discounts.
- Participate in wine tastings at local wine stores whenever possible – Tastings held at wine stores are often free and they will give you an idea of what wines are currently out there on the store shelves.
- Weather can dictate people’s drinking habits – When planning a winter wedding remember that the cold will have an impact of the kind of wine your guests drink. In most instances, cold weather will see an up tick in red wine consumption over chilled whites so factor this into your budget.
- Instruct your waiters on pouring for guests – 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 for four ounces per serving (plus foam), which equals six servings per bottle.
- A glass half full – Tell your waiters to start pouring half pours towards the end of the evening to ensure that your guests make it home safe (and so you have less wastage at the end of the evening).
- A no returns policy is a deal breaker – Negotiate with your wine store before buying so they can take back any unopened wine. Note that bottles with damaged/wet labels may not get taken back depending on the store policy.
Great value options to look for at your local store:
- Sparkling – Champagne is wonderful but…inexpensive sparkling wines like Prosecco (Italy) and Cava (Spain) will help stretch your budget when looking for something to toast with.
- White Wines – Vinho Verde (Portugal) is the perfect budget alternative for those who prefer lighter-bodied wines such Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Crisp and fruity, usually with a little spritziness, – the wine is a real crowd pleaser at a great price. For those who like Chardonnay, look for the great value Grecante (Italy) to change things up without sacrificing flavor.
- Red Wines – Chianti (Italy) is one of the world’s great wine pairings regardless of what you are eating and can be often bought at discount during the Holiday sales. Other value reds to look for are the highly undervalued (and under priced) wines of the Alentejo (Portugal).
We are currently recommending some great value Italian and Portugese wines, which are perfect for impressing wedding guests without spending a king’s ransom.
Here are our picks for winter 2013:
For the Reception tables
Fuzelo Vinho Verde(Port-ugal – SRP: $7.99) – Cocoa, honey, vanilla, butterscotch, and dark fruit are present in both the aroma and the palate. A slight fizz, mineral edge, and fruit forward flavors of ripe melon and grapefruit compliment this well balanced semi-dry wine. Enjoy by the glass or paired with a light pasta dishes, seafood, grilled chicken/fish, or summer salads.
Alente Alentejo Red (Portugal – SRP: $9.99) – The Alente red is garnet colored with hints of violet. The nose replicates these aromas on top of layers of black fruits and wild berries. On the palate the Alente Red is well balanced, rich and full-bodied, with great complexity and a velvety finish.
For the Bride and Groom’s table
Arnaldo Caprai Grecante (Italy – SRP: $18.99) – During the Renaissance, the mayor of Montefalco, Italy used to send a bottle of Grecante as a precious gift to princes and important clergymen. Intense straw yellow in color, the wine has intensely fruity and delicate floral notes. The complex palate is soft, well balanced and pleasantly fruity. The Arnaldo Caprai Grecante makes for an impressive aperitif and a perfect accompaniment to seafood, veal and poultry dishes.
Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti (Italy – SRP: $22.00) – Produced in the historic Castello di Nipozzano terroir, the award-winning Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti (SRP: $22) is the perfect choice for the wine lover in your life. Full-bodied, luxurious wine and food friendly, this superbly made Chianti contains floral notes with hints of dried plum and raspberry that entice the senses. A favorite of consumers and critics alike, the Nipozzano Riserva Chianti was most recently rated #1 by Wine Enthusiast magazine in their Wine of the Year list for 2011 and #65 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2011.
To read more from Paul, be sure to visit his food, wine, and spirits blog, Convivium!