Weddings / August 15, 2016

Red Wine for Weddings, the Basics

It’s nearly settled! You’ve decided on your venue and your menu – and now it’s time to choose the wine for your wedding. But how do you choose which one?


Today we’re talking specifically about red wines for your wedding. With bubbles for your toast and whites during your appetizer, choosing a red wine can feel daunting. With thousands of wines on the market, how do you choose?

Caterer or Venue Rules


Your first order of business is to find out what the rules are so that you’re in compliance with all guidelines and laws. As you already know, unless you are hosting your wedding in your own home, you’re beholden to lots of guidelines from your venue or caterer.

Many wedding venues are already tied to a specific brand of wine that’s part of the event package. If that’s the case, rest easy, your work here is done. If you’re tying the knot at a winery, it’s generally expected that most of the served wine would be from that winery. Many public locations may have liquor laws that prevent wine from being served at all!

As much as we’d love to pretend otherwise, budget is often the next red wine determining factor. With bottles of red wine ranging from $2.50 to $1000 per bottle, where do you even start? You can estimate what you’re comfortable spending per bottle, you can work the wine consumption into the per-guest budget, or you could work backwards from your favorite wine.

We at Monogamy wines employ a brief equation. What’s the cost of your everyday red wine? What’s the cost of your special occasion wine? Now split the difference. Other factors that determine your wine budget include the number of guests attending the wedding, any corkage fees charged by the venue and the quality of the food you’re serving.

Food Pairing
We tend to follow the general guideline that lighter wines pair well with lighter food and heavier wines with heavier food. If your only choices are one white and one red for the whole event, it’s best to choose a lighter red like a Pinot Noir or a Merlot for their flexibility and balance. If you’re serving several courses that go from light food to heavier, meat based fare and wine is not limited, consider moving from a Pinot Noir to a heavier Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

Some wines will earn appreciative nods from guests no matter the occasion. Like we mentioned, Pinot Noir is still popular, as is Malbec for red wines. Red blends can be very flexible as the winemakers blend different varietals for a specific taste, rather than varietal specificity.

Snob Factor
Where do your guests fall on a scale from wine snob to grape juice enthusiast? Is your wedding guest list primarily composed of Mom and Dad’s country club friends? Or are they more like Aunt Sarah who’ll drink anything? Knowing what kind of wine will make your guests comfortable can also help you determine what kind of wine to serve.


While taking your guests’ preferences into account don’t lose sight of the kinds of wine you and your partner love. Do you prefer big jammy reds from California? More austere European wines? Funky, mushroomy wines from the Pacific Northwest?

Making the wine a part of your story can be a touching part of your event. Did you take a trip to a winery? Get engaged in wine country? Is there a special wine you drank on your first date? A wine club you belong to together? Including a wine that’s special to the two of can be a memorable part of your wedding.

Of course, we’re biased — we love Monogamy Wine’s label and fruity North Coast deliciousness Interested in buying Monogamy Wines for your event? Click here to order by the case!


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