A wedding is a very special day, a happy but often daunting event. Our advice is to try and keep things as simple as possible; offer guests one white, one red and a sparkling wine for the main event. We pride ourselves in the level and integrity of our personal service; just send us an e-mail with an outline of the food you intend to provide on your day and we will reply immediately with our suggestions of wines or even talk it through with you. We have total confidence in the wines we offer but, if you are still not sure, you can always taste in the shop before you make that final, critical decision.
Red vs White
People are never sure whether to buy more of one wine than the other thinking that guests might drink more white than red or vice versa. The best bet is to go 50 – 50 and, from personal experience, guests will drink whatever is in front of them as the meal progresses so don’t lose too much sleep over getting it exactly right.
Champagne vs Sparkling Wines
If you can afford it, Champagne is the obvious choice for a special event. Unfortunately, the current worldwide demand for Champagne is so intense that it’s not a cheap commodity. That’s why we offer a wide choice of Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wines, bottle fermented exactly the same way as the real thing but generally not as complex and made in other French regions. At about a third of the cost of Champagne, a good Vouvray, Saumur or Crémant will be more than acceptable and, at the end of the day, if it is to be served solely to toast the happy couple, all your guests will see is a tray of glasses and won’t be any the wiser. At the bottom end of the price scale are the Vins Mousseux, generally poor to medium quality still wines that have CO² pumped into them like all popular soft drinks - useful for making a Bucks Fizz at the evening disco but it would be a shame to spoil your special day by cutting too many corners.
Calculating Wine Quantities and Savings
To help calculate what you need, the following guidelines should help. You should get 6 flutes of sparkling wine and 4 – 5 glasses of still wine per bottle so, if you aim to serve 2 glasses of sparkling wine and a half bottle of still wine per person, 150 guests would need about 50 bottles of bubbly and 75 bottles of red and white combined. Expect to save at least £2/€3 per bottle on still wines, and £3/€5 on a bottle of bubbly by purchasing your wines from Normandie Wine so you would save in the region of £300 or €500 on Irish prices on this quantity of wine. Brittany Ferries offer a 24-hour shopping trip fare almost all year round, priced at between £45 and £65 depending upon the season and including a car and 2 passengers. Irish Ferries offer a return trip including a cabin both ways for around €250, again for a car and 2 people.
Think Weather and Food
Think about the weather you might expect and what food you are planning to serve. Don’t, for example, offer big, oaky and tannic wines in the middle of July and, conversely, a Beaujolais would struggle in the depths of winter if served with a rib of beef. Most couples today offer a fish course so wines like Chablis, Mâcon, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé or even a good Muscadet are very popular. If you want a good value white Appellation wine, then a Touraine Sauvignon, white Bordeaux or Alsace wine are typically very good and, if you are on a tight budget, we have a great range of Vin de Pays varietal wines from the south of France. We have a close relationship with few winegrowers from Loire Valley and either the Sauvignon Blanc or Pineau d'Aunis are really well made.
A list of classic reds would include Saint-Emilion and Médoc from Bordeaux, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras from the Rhône valley, Beaune and Mercurey in Burgundy and Saumur Champigny and Bourgueil in the Loire valley, to name but a few. Beaujolais is a popular summer red; either a good villages wine or one of the crus like Fleurie, Morgon and Brouilly go well with a cold buffet or ham, chicken and even lamb. Good value wines include Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur, Saumur or, again, a good Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah from Languedoc (Vin de Pays d’Oc) have been popular choices over the years for those on a tight budget.