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Wedspiration > Advice > The Ultimate Wine Guide For Every Wedding Season: What Wines To Serve (And How Much)
Advice
The Ultimate Wine Guide For Every Wedding Season: What Wines To Serve (And How Much)
Sure, weddings are first and foremost about love but they’re also about showing guests a good time and there’s a fair assumption that there will be wine served – and plenty of it. Hence we’ve put together our ultimate wine guide that covers what wines are most suited to the season you’re getting married in and how to calculate how much wine you will need to ensure no one is left feeling thirsty.
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Words by Karina Lowndes
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10 April 2024
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Generally speaking, most wine-drinkers are experts in the art of consumption – sniff, sip, swallow (and repeat). It’s knowing all the fancy facts (like the blend, finish and vintage) that the majority of mortals aren’t quite as well versed in.

With this in mind, we reached out to our pals at Dan Murphy’s who operate a neat weddings and events service to get the inside scoop on serving wine at weddings – in particular, to help us answer commonly asked questions like “what wine should I serve at my wedding?” and “how much wine do I need to buy for a wedding?”. 

With an ever-growing focus on seasonal menus, we also wanted to dive into seasonal wine drinking (that is, pairing wines that will compliment the climate and foods that are typically associated with the season you’re getting married in). It turns out, with so many different varieties available these days, the traditional ‘rules’ around serving white wine in the warmer months and red wine in the cooler months no longer apply – there is now a suitable drop available for every season.

If you’re looking for some direction on what wine to serve at your wedding (and how much), read on… keeping in mind it’s only a guide and ultimately you should serve whatever you darn well please! If after reading this, you’d like to expand your wine knowledge even further, this handy wine words glossary might help.

Hot tip: if you want to make this a really fun exercise, consider ordering a tasting kit from Dan Murphy’s so you can sample each wine suggestion below before you buy. If you do end up ordering your wine through Dan Murphy’s weddings and events service,  the cost of the kit is deducted from any future order, meaning they’re free!

Photo credits: Anna Murray Photography.

Summer Weddings

Summer is flirty, warm and joyful. The days are longer, humans are high on Vitamin-D, long-awaited holidays are finally happening and people are generally in need of a cold drink. The best summer wedding wines are refreshing, crisp and thirst-quenching.


Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a light, citrusy white wine that’s perfect for hot summer days. It has a zesty acidity and flavours that can range from zingy lime to ripe tropical fruits, making it a refreshing choice for a summer wedding.

Tastes like: your first decent pay check.

Pairs well with: cheese, chicken, oysters, seafood and vegetables.

Top pick:

 

Champagne

What’s a wedding without some mood-boosting bubbles? The VIP at any celebration, champagne (or sparkling wine) usually boasts flavours of citrus, almond and apple. With varying degrees of sweetness, it’s always a good time and a perfect drop to enjoy when the weather is warm.

Tastes like: a refreshing ocean swim.

Pairs well with: white fish, chicken, mushrooms, pasta, cheese, almonds, pork, duck, cucumber.

Top pick: Grant Burge, Pinot Noir Chardonnay, $19.95

 

Pinot noir

Delicate and food-friendly, this wine is light in body and can be served slightly chilled, which can be quite refreshing. It’s an elegant choice but it’s not to be underestimated – this wine still packs a serious (and pleasant) punch in terms of taste.

Tastes like: a kiss on the cheek.

Pairs well with: beef, lamb, beetroot, mushrooms, salmon, duck, patés and terrines.

Top pick: Elephant in the Room, Pinot Noir, $13.95

wedding wines

Spring Weddings

Spring is pretty, hopeful and fresh. It’s a time of new beginnings and frolicsome fun, pretty dresses and sunshine. People are ready to get out and mingle. The temperature is rising but the sun’s blaze hasn’t quite peaked. The best spring wedding wines are light, playful and easy to drink.

 

Rosé

As delicate as its name, Rosé has become a popular choice for spring weddings because of its light, fruity character. It’s generally very easy to drink and if you’re big on aesthetics, this one will look pretty in pictures.

Tastes like: a European summer.

Pairs well with: salmon, pesto, hummus, tuna, feta, melon.

Top pick: Gerard Bertrand, Cotes des Roses Rosé, $24.99 

 

Pinot grigio

It’s one of Italy’s most revered grapes, making a punchy, crisp wine that’s refreshing like a glass of chilled lemonade. Expect classic notes of lime, lemon, stone fruit and apple… and plenty of happy guests.

Tastes like: a Public Holiday.

Pairs well with: lemon, chicken, prosciutto, risotto, tomato, white fish, apple, pear.

Top pick: Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio, $14.99

GSM

GSM stands for grenache, shiraz and mourvedre and depending on your social circle, it’s probably the only orgy encouraged at a wedding. If you’re looking for a red wine to serve at your wedding that’s heavier than a pinot but aren’t keen on the typical classics, GSM should tick the box for the majority of guests.

Tastes like: A new pair of high heels.

Pairs well with: barbecued red meats, roast chicken, casserole, pepper, hard cheese.

Top pick: Wildfolk, Natural GSM, $25.99 

wedding wines

Autumn Weddings

Autumn is fresh, hopeful and handsome. It’s cool mornings and pleasant days when the sun’s rays feel like a sweet kiss. It’s a time of change and colour. It’s long walks, croissants and cardigans. It’s the sweet spot between hot summer days and cold winter nights. The perfect autumn wedding wines are just like the season itself – both gentle and full of flavour.

 

Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a versatile white wine that can be enjoyed year-round, including during the winter wedding season. Look for a ‘chardy’ that is full-bodied and oak aged, as they offer a rich and creamy texture with flavours of ripe apples, tropical fruits, vanilla and butter.

 

Tastes like: A compliment from a stranger.

Pairs well with: poultry, seafood, creamy sauces, roasted winter vegetables, avocado, butter.

Top pick: Audrey Wilkinson, Chardonnay, $22.99

You may also like…

 

Merlot

A smooth but fruity choice, Merlot isn’t quite as intimidating as its fellow counterparts yet it can certainly hold its own. Perfect alongside a quality steak, expect flavours like cherry, plum, and blackberry as well as hints of chocolate, mocha and cedar.

Tastes like: Putting on a new suit.

Pairs well with: red meats, roasted poultry, pasta dishes and vegetarian options like roasted vegetables or mushroom-based dishes.

Top pick: Little Giant, Adelaide Hills Merlot, $19.99

 

Sangiovese

Sangiovese is an easy to drink red that is primarily associated with the region’s of Tuscany and central Italy. Subtle hints of red fruits like cherry, raspberry and plum make it a crowd-pleaser and its vibrant acidity makes it a great accompaniment alongside most meals.

Tastes like: Finding something you thought you’d lost forever.

Pairs well with: Italian cuisine, including pasta dishes, tomato-based sauces, grilled meats and aged cheeses.

Top pick: Zonzo Estate, Heathcote Sangiovese 2022, $35

wedding wines

Winter Weddings

Winter is cosy, crisp and magical. The days are shorter but the air is fresh and clean and the light is incredible (especially late in the afternoon). It’s a time when people are looking for comfort – a hearty meal, a hug from a friend, an open fire, warm socks… the best winter wedding wines feel like all these things wrapped into one.


Viognier

For folks who prefer a less acidic white wine, viognier is a top choice. Its full body texture and floral aromas such as honeysuckle, orange blossom and jasmine make for a sophisticated and elegant drop that will add the right amount of fancy to any celebration.

Tastes like: Love at first sight.

Pairs well with: lamb chops, gnocchi, salami, steak, pecorino cheese.

Top pick: Yalumba, Y Series Viognier, $12.99


Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic, full-bodied winter wine known for it’s fruity and smoky flavour (think blackcurrant, blackberry, cedar and tobacco) and dense texture, this drop is a real powerhouse that is perfect for winter weddings. Plus, Australia is home to the oldest cabernet sauvignon vines in the world, so there are plenty of quality options available locally.

Tastes like: A warm hug.

Pairs well with: beef, lamb, cheddar, mushrooms, rosemary, mint, garlic.

Top pick: Eden Hall, Block 3 Cabernet Sauvignon, $39.99


Shiraz

Known for its rich and full-bodied characteristics, Shiraz typically has flavours of dark fruits and spices. It pairs well with the rich and robust flavours commonly associated with winter dishes and as it’s generally served around room temperature, it’s a nice option to enjoy when it’s chilly outside.

Tastes like: Good conversation around an open fire.

Pairs well with: curry, beef, lamb, mushrooms, lentils, eggplant, olives, garlic, bacon.

Top pick: Riddoch, Coonawarra Shiraz, $15.99

wedding wines

How Much Wine Do I Need For My Wedding?

Once you’ve chosen what wines to serve at your wedding, it’s time to tackle the most important question: how much wine will you need?

The idea of an empty bar is a legitimate fear amongst many engaged couples and to this we’ve dedicated an entire blog post titled How Much Alcohol Do I Need For My Wedding? You can read it in full here but the key takeaways are:

  1. Be realistic – unless you’re getting married in (dry) July, there aren’t many weddings where people go easy on the alcohol. Be realistic about how much your guests will likely drink or better yet, take the guesswork out of it by using Dan Murphy’s Party Planner Drinks Calculator.
  2. Keep it simple – it’s a wedding not a wine tasting and it’s impossible to satisfy every guest. Play it safe, order what you know the majority will like and don’t overcomplicate it.
  3. Factor in the seasons – everything we just mentioned above.
  4. Don’t forget your non-drinkers – whether it’s by choice or circumstance (ie. pregnant) it’s thoughtful to provide some enjoyable non-alcoholic options for guests. Dan Murphy’s has a huge range of zero% alcohol drinks that are worth checking out.
  5. Play it safe and over-cater – it’s always better to be safe than sorry and any excess bottles of wine can always be used at a recovery session, as a gesture of thanks to people who helped pull off your wedding or put away for future gifts. Plus, if you purchase from Dan Murphy’s Wedding and Events team, you can return unopened cases for a refund.

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