Dear Jo,Event,Marketing,Wine,Winery

Wedding wine lists for the summer ~ How much to buy?

Comments this week will be placed in a drawing for a $75.00 gift certificate from True Fabrications. (Just your name will qualify you.) Drawing on Saturday.

[Pictured: My daughter and son-in-law, Melanie and Heath Hoffman at Pacific Star Winery exchanging their vows.]

My cousin Margo recently asked for help, as someone in the family who is in the wine business. She was asking for a young couple who had come to her for help, as they planned their own wedding.

Always the big questions are, “How much wine is enough, and what’s a great value wine? We’re on a tight budget, but we want to take care of our guests.”

Here’s how I just figured it out. As I was writing this to her I realized that this is a good blog posting… Especially for this time of year; not only for weddings, but also for showers.

~ Think One (1) Bottle per Person ~

Safe start with Champagne for 100 guests:

  • There are six (6) full glasses of sparking per bottle ~ 6 pours / 1 bottle of any bubbly
  • Simple number of guests ~ 100
  • One glass of bubbly per person ~ 100 people divided by 6 pours/bottle = 17 bottles of any sparkling wine
  • Buy two (2) cases of bubbly
    • You’ll be all set for not only the Toast
    • You’ll also have some left over for your guests who love bubbly

One bottle per person = 100 bottles of wine. Take away your two cases of wine above (24 bottles), and you still have 76 bottles to go, or six more cases to buy.

Summer weather for a four hour reception.

  • There are five (5) full glasses of wine per bottle ~ 5 pours / 1 bottle of either white or red
    • Four (4) cases of White wine
      • Two Chardonnays (the most popular white wine in the world)
      • Two Sauvignon Blanc (another safe bet)
    • Two (2) case of red
      • One of Cabernet (most popular red in the world)
      • One of Merlot (another safe bet)

If you believe that this wedding reception has the potential to go longer than planned, you might want one more case of wine, split 50/50 between white and red.

And… if you want it to break up the party early, don’t buy more wine after your initial purchase; because once the wine is gone, the guests soon follow.

If you have a reception location with limited time on it, this takes the nervousness away from guests not wanting to leave on time. Just don’t provide unlimited wine and/or spirits.

~ The wine I would recommend to anyone ~

Criteria: A great value wine

The young couple who had asked my cousin for help (before my cousin came to me) needs to stretch their budget.

Price being very important, this is the primary reason for this recommendation. I’m also very happy to enjoy this wine everyday as a “house” wine ~ many restaurants know this to be true, too.

Oak Grove wines are always a safe bet. While this wine is one of my clients’ wines, I wasn’t trying to make a sale, as much as recommend a wine that I knew to have several very important factors:

  • Retails for $8.00/bottle
    • That’s $96.00/case of wine times 6 cases
      • $576.00 ~ for wedding wine for 100 people
      • $5.76/head ~ without taking bubbly into account, don’t forget
    • Ask your retailer for a quantity discount
      • 10 percent will save you $58.00
      • $518.00, or $5.18/head
      • $5.18 for five glasses of wine per person ~ this is a bargain
  • Oak Grove is available nationally
  • The quality is in the bottle, every single vintage.
    • I’ve been working with this wine for almost five years, and know it really well
    • Every single vintage has had GOLD medals, and BEST BUY or BEST VALUE from Wine Enthusiast and/or Wine Spectator
  • The wine is in perfect balance
    • It has a trusted source for beautiful fruit
    • Value to quality ratio makes it a great bargain
  • The packaging is really classy and speaks well for the purchaser
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10 Responses to “Wedding wine lists for the summer ~ How much to buy?”

  1. Ronald J. Roselli, CSW says:

    Great post, with really valuable consumer information. Plus, your daughter looks like an angel in the Pacific Star wedding image! Congratulations!!


  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Ron.

    Our children are our angels, aren’t they… Even with the grass and mud stains of life…?

    That was a very special day for all of us.

  3. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:


    Good deal! It is hard to calculate how much wine for any event. This is a handy guide. Also, the savings in buying QPR wines,and the ability not to comprimise the integrity of the event, in regards to wine choices is a big plus!

  4. Chris says:

    I concur with Ron, beautiful bride to go with the venue, Jo.

    We’re having the same honor for our daughter in 39 days and it’s not too late to buy more, but our ratios are pretty close to your recommendations, so I feel better. 🙂

    One other thing we’re facing that others might too is corkage fees if you bring your own wine to a venue. Our daughter needed/wanted Washington wines that aren’t available in Illinois, where the wedding is taking place, and it took some negotiating with the restaurant to even allow outside wine. We’ll be paying a relatively small $2/bottle corkage fee. We’ve heard of much higher rates in bigger cities.

  5. Jo Diaz says:


    I’d say the rule of thumb for most events, when I have to plan them is a bottle of wine per person. Some people drink more, some drink less, and some don’t drink at all. At least this number has not had me run out… ever.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Chris, The corkage thing you mention is for real.

    You’d never get these prices, unless you’re providing your own wine at a venue that allows for you to do that.

    For many venues, they make HUGE amounts of money on the wine/alcohol. That’s why they charge corkage… to pay for stemware service at least, and I can’t blame them for that, when it’s reasonable.

    Some of them just make it so high that the person renting the venue simply gives up… And, you won’t get the same value for that money, either.

    Being in the business really helps, is all I can say!

  7. Jo Diaz says:

    Chris, best wishes with your daughter’s wedding. It’s a very special day for all of you in each of your own way…

  8. DIANE says:

    Hi Jo,
    The pictures of Mel and Heath are great. Our Daughters are beautiful.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to view these photos.
    Your article about how much wine for a wedding is also helpful.
    Looking forward to seeing all of you on the 14th.



    p.s. forgot to ask you if you need me to bring you anything from Maine?? Let me know. I would not mind a bit.

  9. Jo Diaz says:


    We’ll give ’em something to talk about!

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    About bringing anything from Maine… Just yourselves!

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