Wedding Planner | The Wine Expert

Mark Pardoe, Master of Wine and Wine Buying Director at wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd, shares his expert knowledge on selecting the perfect wine for your big day

What should you consider when choosing the wine for your wedding reception?

The most important thing to consider is that the wine is not just food friendly but people-friendly, too. For crowd-pleasing party wines, I suggest you look at a wine merchant’s own-label range. This way you know the wine is best in its class at that price point. Go for something light and refreshing; you don’t want to opt for a heavy red as the party will be over before it’s even started. Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Reserve Red marries Merlot, Grenache and Syrah and is delicious to drink. For the white, try the zingy Good Ordinary White made from Sauvignon Blanc.

Are there any good alternatives to Champagne?

Crémant de Limoux is a great alternative, or buy British and opt for an English sparkling wine. Berry Bros. & Rudd has delicious, own-label versions of both styles of wine. If you want to add a touch of spice to a sparkling wine, try adding a splash of The King’s Ginger. Pour a good glug of the intense ginger liqueur into your flute for an instant cocktail to please your nearest and dearest on your big day.

Which wines work well for wedding gifts?

For a personal touch, why not try looking for a bottle of wine from the year of each of the bride and groom’s birth? Alternatively, there’s the option to buy larger format bottles. We have recently brought in a double magnum of our best-selling Good Ordinary Claret, which equates to four bottles. It certainly looks impressive. For another idea, you could sign the couple up to Wine Club, which would deliver 12 bottles every two months, or there’s our Cellar Plan to help them build a wine collection for the future.

Any tips for calculating how much wine to order for the wedding reception?

As a general rule of thumb, from the welcome drink to the toast, we would suggest one bottle per person. Not everyone will drink six glasses of wine but this allows two glasses as an aperitif, three glasses with the meal and one for the toast. I would always advise that you round up rather than down, and don’t forget to take into account the season and the weather. For example, if it’s a summer wedding whites may be more popular than reds.

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