If you’re having a wedding where you have to bring in your own catering, you’ll probably be choosing your liquor, beer and wine.  Or, you may be faced with selecting from a resort or restaurant’s wine list with inflated bottle prices. Bottom line?  Selecting wine is tough because of the sheer variety available.  We picked the brains of Catherine Stefani and Cara Yuras, sisters and wine consultants who have a combined 25 years experience in the wine industry.

1.  Start with a budget.  Know what you have to spend per bottle.

2.  Use a formula when deciding how much wine to buy.  A good starting point is one bottle per 2 adults.  That being said, always over-buy.  It is best to have a few extra cases on hand.  Worst case scenario you have a couple extra cases to start your own cellar as a couple.

3.  Choose wines that YOU like to drink.  Don’t get caught up in trying to please all of your guests.

4.  When choosing your wines, consider those that will work well for the cocktail hour as well as the meal.  A California Chardonnay is an excellent choice for both the reception and the meal.  As for the reds, make a decision based on the food.  If you are serving heavier fare, select a bigger wine like a cabernet or merlot.  If the food is lighter consider a pinot noir or a chianti.

5.  Keep it simple.  Choose one white, one red and one Champagne/sparkling wine.   Here are a few great bottles – both great value and splurge options – to get you started:



Champagne/Sparkling Wine (Domestic sparkling wine is an attractive alternative to French Champagne)

6.  A great resource is to go to your local wine retailer, give him a budget and the type of wines you typically drink and ask for a few suggestions.  This would be a great time to purchase a few bottles and take them home to try.

7.  Enlist your fiancé and a few friends.  After you have narrowed the selections to a few bottles of each color, brown bag the wines and taste them blind!

8.  Consider bringing your own wine. You may be able to enjoy higher quality wines at a better price.  Meet with the Food and Beverage director or the sommelier of the venue to see if you can negotiate corkage.  If you can get the corkage down to approximately $10 per bottle (and if you have a great wine that you have found at a good price point) it will be worth it!

Catherine is a Certified Sommelier and currently at Vinfolio as an Executive Wine Specialist to private clients. Both Cara and Catherine make wine together from their family’s vineyard.  Specializing in weddings and special events, they can find you the perfect wine for a party, special event or for your cellar.

They can be reached for consultations at csywine@gmail.com or by phone at 415-939-9905/916-502-2367.








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