The second half of 2016 is a popular wedding season. I always received a lot of inquiries from brides-to-be around this time of the year about choosing good quality red and white wines that are suitable for wedding guests without being too hard on their wallets.

Though many of the soon-to-be newlyweds are regular drinkers, they always have a headache when it comes to choosing the right wines for their big day. Below are some advice I have based on my experience with wedding banquets and they are applicable to both wedding banquets and parties in general.

The most common problem most couples have is whether they should choose what they like. Or should they choose wines that are more pleasant on the palette? Is the taste stronger the better?

A typical Hong Kong wedding banquet has around 2o to 30 tables, roughly around 250 to 400 guests. And each guest has a different experience with wine and different preferences, so catering to the tastes of so many guests is indeed a big headache.

There are also those who usually don’t drink and only have a glass or two during festivities. These guests generally prefer sweeter wines, anything too oaky or with too much tannic would not be suitable for they will perceive the flavour to be ‘bitter’.

In order to find a wine that everyone likes, you first have to understand your guests.

If most of the guests are experienced drinker with a good understanding of wine tasting, you can consider choosing wines that are more unique and from a specific terroir. Haut-Medoc, Margaux and St. Emilion are suitable for banquets and pair well with Chinese dishes, just remember to remind the waiters to decant earlier. Another option is Napa Valley, which offers some wines for about hundred dollars.

And if your guests are mostly young people or women, you can find wines that are more fruity and sweet in flavour or medium-bodied, anything that are too thick or oaky might not agree with too many people’s palette.

There are after all too many guests and it is difficult to please everyone, choosing red and white wines that are slightly sweet and easy to drink is the safest approach.

Wedding banquets usually also provide spirits, but I found that many people don’t know the difference between brandy and whiskey or are confused about the meaning of vintage, so next time, I will do an introduction on spirits and show you how to estimate how many wines and spirits you need for your banquet.

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