Weddings are joyous celebrations. These special events bring together friends and family from numerous generations and sometimes from around the world.
Inviting so many people to one event can cause more than one sleepless night. People have individual tastes—with food, of course, but especially with wine. How do you know what wines to select for your wedding?
Choosing Wine for Wedding Receptions
There’s more to wedding wines than just picking your favorite bottles. While you should choose wines that you, personally, enjoy, you also need to consider other factors:
Season and Climate
Will you be having a summer wedding? What about one in spring, fall or winter? You’ll likely have different preferences depending on the season. Typically, fall and winter weddings have a cozier atmosphere—and sometimes a more formal one, as well. Spring and summer weddings are more casual.
The climate you live in (or are traveling to for your wedding) also matters. If you’re in an area with four distinct seasons, you’ll get a different environment with each season. If you’re in a warmer climate, you probably have muted seasons that don’t change as much. Knowing the climate can help you pinpoint the right wine style.
Fall/winter and cooler climate weddings usually do well with richer, higher alcohol wines. Spring/summer and warmer climate weddings are more likely to favor lighter, crisper styles with lower alcohol. Fall and winter lend themselves toward reds, and spring and summer toward whites.
Where will your wedding take place? If you’re having an indoor wedding, you don't need to consider the weather and can serve whatever kind of wine you want.
Outdoor weddings, on the other hand, often take place in the summer. They can also take place in spring or fall, as long as the climate is milder. The warmer the temperature, the lighter the color of wine should be. Think white wine, but always keep some reds available, just in case.
What's on the menu is equally important as the location and climate. You’ve probably tasted some exceptional food and wine pairings in your lifetime. You’ve also likely experienced some less-than-stellar combinations that left you searching for a palate cleanser.
Rich and hearty dishes—like rack of lamb with roasted vegetables, or honey-glazed duck with fig and raspberry—pair best with richer red wines during cooler seasons.
Lighter dishes, like butternut ravioli with sage sauce or salmon with lemon sauce, are likely to satisfy without feeling too rich. While they work well for any season, they are often served in spring or summer, along with fresh seasonal vegetables. These types of dishes can bring out complex notes in white wine or even in a fruity rose.
Will your wedding have a theme? Typically, wedding themes match the season—think winter wonderland in winter, a beach theme in the summer, floral motifs in the spring. Whatever your theme, you’ll want to consider a wine that complements it. The lighter the theme, the lighter the wine.
10 Wedding Wines
Now that you have a better idea of how to match wines to the season and the menu, you’re ready to make your selection.
This wine has plenty of zesty citrus notes with refreshing acidity. It is an ideal choice for weddings due to its balanced profile—pleasing florals mixed with earthy spices.
Whether you’re interested in oaked or unoaked, you’ll find plenty of versatility in white Burgundy. Ranging from mineral-driven Chablis to fruit-forward Maconnais, white Burgundy can pair with a variety of dishes and wedding seasons.
This white wine is a fan favorite, and for good reason. It is refreshingly crisp and has a strong herbaceous profile that matches well with all things vegetable. From complementing vegetarian dishes to bringing out the complexity of vegetable side dishes, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best wines for a wedding.
Chardonnay can be a great wedding choice because it is wildly popular as well—with the right people. Just make sure you have another white wine for those who don’t care for buttery Chardonnay.
For red wine at weddings, pinot noir might be the all-around ideal choice. It has excellent versatility when matching seasons and menus, and it provides enough weight to keep guest palates satisfied.
If you're looking for something a little different, try a cru Beaujolais. It has the right mix of fruits, spices and tannins to make an excellent companion to richer dishes.
Full bodied and complex, Grenache is ideal for wedding menus that are on the richer side. It suits everything from duck and beef to spicy Asian dishes, thanks to its intriguing blend of fruit and spice.
You can’t go wrong with a traditional Champagne for the wedding toast. Of course, you want to choose the right style, since Champagne can be diverse, ranging from extra dry to sweet. When in doubt, choose something drier with a hint of sweet.
This Spanish sparkling wine is another excellent contender for the wedding toast, or simply for a glass of bubbly. It has plenty of fruit notes without being too sweet.
An Italian sparkler, Prosecco is one of the sweetest options. It is also creamier and has lower acidity than the other main types.
If you’re searching for the top wedding wines, you’ll find plenty of excellent options in our online catalog. For further assistance, contact our wine experts at JJ Buckley Fine Wines. We’re ready to help you find the best pairing for your upcoming celebration.