If you know all about wine, then choosing the perfect bottles for your big day is one of the best parts! But if you don’t know where to start, this can be a daunting task! But fear not! We’re here to help you with a few of our own tips, that don’t break the bank either! So, sip back, relax, and let us do the talking!
As proud vintners of English Wine, we are obviously going to rave about the pros of serving some fine English wine at your wedding, and here are some of our reasons why:
- You’ll be minimising your environmental impact in having wines imported from around the world, why not indulge in those that are right on your doorstep?!
- Family owned and operated businesses are frequently at the forefront of sustainability; they don’t operate en masse, which makes it easier for them to adapt to new ways of doing things. Small scale operations also mean a smaller environmental footprint.
- You’ll be helping the English Wine economy. By choosing wine produced locally for your wedding, you’re also supporting your community, and you help keep local producers in business.
One of the big tips we can give is to not overcomplicate things! Stick to one variety each of red, white and English Sparkling wine (especially for the toasts). A rosé is optional, but always a fun thing to have, particularly if you’re having a summer or outdoor wedding. Let’s start with the hard bit, the numbers!
Our Secret wedding planner source recommends to budget ½ bottle per person (you could go to 0.65 / per person if it’s a thirsty bunch!). In a ratio of 2 bottles of white to 1 bottle of red as white is more popular for English weddings. For Sparkling, you need 2 glasses per person, one at the reception and one for the toast. That would be 1/3 of a bottle assuming you get 6 glasses in total per bottle. So, let’s give an example. You have 120 guests. We’d recommend:
- 60 bottles of wine in total (that’s allowing for 1/2 bottle each)
- That would be 40 white, 20 red (2:1 ratio of white to red)
- 40 bottles of sparkling (each guest has 2 glasses = 1/3 bottle, so 120 / 3 = 40)
Remember, it is always so much better to round up rather than down, as there are plenty of ways to use up leftover bottles! Plan to keep them for yourselves for when you come back from your honeymoon, and you won’t have to worry about overbuying! Alternatively, the English Vine will buy back any unused bottles.
Now all the boring parts are out of the way, let’s get to the fun part: which type of red, white, and Sparkling wine to choose?! It can help to keep your guest list in mind when you’re choosing a wine, or wine friendly alternatives!
- The guest list (wine snobs, heavy drinkers, vegans, non-drinkers, older vs. younger generation)
- Traditional vs. Modern
- Inside vs. outside
- Time of the year (if you’re spending a lot of time outside, consider more easy drinking, refreshing wine perhaps a rosé too)
- Food menu (meat = full bodied red / fish = easy white)
When it comes to white wine, something light and not too oaky is the way to go. These wines tend to be more refreshing but can still vary from dry to sweet. Bacchus, a popular variety grown here, has been dubbed the “UK Sauvignon Blanc”, which makes it a great easy drinking choice! The following are a few suggestions of white wines for weddings:
- Number 1 Bacchus (Essex): Our very own easy-drinking Bacchus, is the perfect choice for any seasonal wedding! A true crowd-pleaser, guaranteed to be a popular icebreaker for mingling!
- Lyme Bay Bacchus Blend (Devon): Enticing notes of rose petal, pineapple and lime combine to create a balanced and refreshing wine with fun layers, super refreshing, an absolute must for a summer wedding!
- Biddenden Ortega (Kent): Semi-aromatic to smell, displays appealing fresh aromas of green apple, grapefruit, cut grass and flora, whilst the palate is medium bodied, crisp, characterful, and deliciously fruity. This is a great choice for a dinner wine, likely to go exceedingly well with several food options and generally a crowd pleaser!
- Camel Valley Dry Atlantic (Cornwall): A delicately flavoured white wine, with a refreshing mouthfeel, displaying apricot and green fruit aromas, making it a great accompaniment for salads, seafood, and other light dishes.
Sophisticated and elegant, red wine is always popular for weddings. With a wide-ranging variety of flavours, it should be easy to find a selection that will suit your big day. English red wine is light in body, and rich in texture, providing an excellent alternative to traditional full-bodied wine, which means they are versatile and can be paired with several foods and are easy to drink! This list of the red wine for your wedding does not consist of all your possibilities, but it’s a good starting point:
- Sharpham Pinot Noir (Devon): A ripe and youthful cool climate Pinot Noir showing wild strawberry, cherry with subtle spice. Full flavoured with the juicy red berries and broad tannins, ideal for all kinds of wedding meals.
- New Hall Pinot Noir (Essex): Ruby in colour, this wine shows cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose with slightly earthy notes. On the palate, typical fruit-driven Pinot characteristics shine through, enhanced by subtle toasty and spicy notes leading to a gorgeous silky mouthfeel. It has well-integrated oak and is an excellent choice for a glass of red wine in a wedding.
You might have seen recently that our CEO Neil Walker performed a test to see how Champagne compares to English Sparkling Wine. In the blind tasting, participants had no idea which wines they were tasting and were simply asked to rate their wines on a sliding scale. Excitedly, in the blind tasting, all but one of the English sparkling wines came out top taking first, second and third position. So, you can trust us when we say that quality-wise, English Sparkling is the wine to toast at your wedding!
- Chapel Down Sparkling: An elegant English sparkling wine with aromas of red apple. So whether you're celebrating with oysters or pork chops, you can pretty much count on Chapel Down Sparkling to go with everything, including the toasts!
- Westwell Pelegrim (or The Champagne Beater as we like to call it): The Pelegrim’s light golden tones are matched by an immensely appealing nose of toasted biscuit, preserved fruits and crisp apples. The palate is where this really sings with minerality, crisp, crunchy orchard fruit and zippy citrus evoke all of the senses one could wish for in a wine. Since it is so elegant and crisp, it could easily be paired with wedding cake!
- Kingscote sparkling rosé wine: Traditional Bacchus characteristics of delicate elderflower, ripe gooseberry and tropical fruit are harmonised in this sparkling Rosé with ripened red berry notes from the Pinot Meunier and Regent. The structure is built upon layers of flavour, with the backbone being fresh acidity. A refreshing must for an outdoor summer reception!
Like we said, rosé isn’t a must, but can be a nice drink to enjoy if you’re spending time outside:
- Chapel Down Rosé (Kent): Produced to appeal to a broad range of palates, this delicate rosé displays aromas of strawberries and cream. Redcurrants and floral notes on the palate lead to a crisp, refreshing finish, a quintessential aperitif wine for a traditional British wedding!
- Toppesfield Rose (Essex): A light, dry wine with hints of English strawberries and citrus, a perfect match for any fruity dessert!
For the guests that will not be drinking on the big day, why not treat them to “Alchemy Rose Sparkling Zero Alcohol”? A sparkling, salmon pink rosé which is laden with flavours of red apple, red grapes and ripe peach. Perfect for big celebrations, for those who won’t be locking lips with alcohol on the big day!
Additional bits to consider:
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a different wine selection for the top table. I’m sure you all love your guests dearly, but its your big day, so spend that little bit extra on yourselves and indulge in any wine your heart desires!
Looking for a bit of entertainment to wow your guests? Why not show of your skills with a bit of Sabrage! You know when you open sparkling wine with a sword? It’s cool if you ask me! And we can show you how!
And if you’re still unsure on which wines to pick, how much, or are just keen to chat with us, we offer a free consultation and no obligation zoom wine tastings with try out a range of samples, for the lucky couple! Wedding services – The English Vine
If you hit the nail on the head with your wine selection, you may just get Uncle Tom up on the dance floor to show off his line-dancing moves! Now THAT’s a hint of a wine selection gone right!
Cheers to you Vine-O’s!
Mumma Vino x