By Gina Trippi
Let them eat cake…but not with Brut! The first “wedding don’t” is not to serve a dry sparkling wine with a sweet cake. “If the cake is sweeter than the wine, the wine can take on a vinegar taste and the cake can taste metallic,” says John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine.
With just a touch of sweetness, Kerr advises that Prosecco is a better choice as a partner to the toast and traditional wedding cake. London’s The Telegraph reports that 63 percent of British couples chose Prosecco, according to a 2015 survey, for the toast, with only eight percent toasting with traditional Champagne.
But if you intend to serve sparkling with dinner, don’t go sweet! Martha Stewart recommends, and so do we, Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Blue Label. “It’s light with a hint of citrus that works nicely with all foods,” says Todd Krafchin, senior director of facilities at Union Square Events in New York City. Sparkling wines made outside of Champagne, like Saint Hilaire, are well-made, value-minded alternatives.
Don’t let a venue tell you that you can only serve the wines they offer. True story: A bride comes into my shop tearfully saying she is having her wedding at an Asheville venue where you must pick your wedding wines from their list of rather unremarkable wines. It gets worse. The venue would not even let her taste the wines! She came to Metro Wines to buy bottles of the wines she chose so she could taste them before serving the wines to her guests!
A reasonable corkage fee for outside wines is fair. Businesses are, after all, in the business to make a profit. But to deny you the wines you prefer on your wedding day is nonsense. Cheap wine in a nice place is still cheap wine. Remember, the wine says something about you.
Don’t scrimp on the wines. The idea that the wines for your wedding are the item where you can save a few dollars is so yesterday. You don’t need to buy cheap wines to make your budget work. There are plenty of quality wines that you won’t find at the grocery at affordable prices. The wines you choose are part of the memories for you and your guests.
Don’t offer too many choices. Choices create confusion and, on occasion, irritation. If you offer, for example, two whites, one will inevitably be more popular than the other one. If the favorite runs out, guests often become disenchanted. Select one versatile white, red and rosé appropriate for your menu. “You don’t want to make it too complicated,” says Gillian Sciaretta, associate wine tasting coordinator at Wine Spectator.
Don’t overbuy, but don’t underbuy. The general rule for a wedding is a bottle per person. This might sound like a lot of wine, but your event will likely extend for hours and some will consume more than others. “There’s nothing worse than running out of wine,” says Nicholas Jackson, Sotheby’s wine buyer.
Don’t just select wines that you like. The wines should pair well with the menus.
Finally, don’t forget this day is about you! If you avoid the wedding wine don’ts, you will have served your guests well. Stash an exceptional bottle somewhere for the two of you!
Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big shop selection with small shop service. Gina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.575.9525. To learn more about wines for the big day, visit Metro Wines’ Facebook page dedicated to weddings at Ashevilleweddingwines.