by Nicole Esdaile
The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s oldest and most renowned wine regions. The abundance of wineries and the beauty of their surrounding vineyards not only provide the perfect location and a romantic backdrop for wedding celebrations, they also offer unique and diverse, ‘one-stop’ opportunities to ‘dazzle’ guests with memorable wine experiences.
There really are no ‘rules’ to selecting wedding wines. It is ‘your day’ and most wedding venues will let you do it ‘your way’, but if you do choose to hold your wedding at a winery, it is customary and often obligatory, that you serve the wines made by the house’. Fortunately, in the Yarra Valley that means you can be confident that wines will be of excellent quality!
It is important to ensure the bride and groom get to drink what they like, and with so many stunning winery settings to choose from, the wine range may actually be one of the deciding factors for true oenophiles.
How many wines should we offer?
As a premium, cool-climate wine region, the Yarra Valley produces a fine array of styles and varieties that are absolutely perfect for weddings and celebrations; all pair well with food; and suit a wide range of tastes.
The usual recommendation is to ‘keep it simple’, but limiting guests’ selections to a sparkling wine for toasts, and only one white and one red wine over dinner, reduces the enjoyment for many guests and the advantage most winery venues offers. Guests coming to a Yarra Valley wedding, particularly a winery wedding, will be expecting great wine, and as there is opportunity for providing a broader choice, doing so will only enhance the experience.
An ideal Yarra Valley wedding wine selection would include:
One sparkling wine – ideally available throughout the event – not just for the toast!
Two white wines – a fresh, bright, crisp Pinot Gris; and a more complex Chardonnay, the Yarra Valley’s flagship white variety
A crisp Rosé – a very fashionable inclusion and a great Yarra Valley style – no matter what the season!
Two red wines – a bright, spicy Pinot Noir for the younger demographic; and a stylish Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon for the traditionalists.
Yarra Valley wineries and venues will be well equipped to assist and advise with your wine selection. Winery event staff should be able to inform and make recommendations to your guests.
How many bottles will we need?
No one wants to run out of wine at a wedding! The wine service at most winery venues is conveniently packaged into the per guest price, and is usually limited by the hours of service, rather than the volume of wine served. The winery will generally allow 1-1.5 bottles of wine per person, ensuring thirsty guests are adequately compensated by non-drinkers. Package ‘upgrades’ are usually available, adding Reserve or the winery’s ‘top range’ to the selection.
Some venues may charge ‘on consumption’, which, while preferable in some cases, makes budgeting difficult, particularly when weddings are notorious for high volume enjoyment.
The usual balance in consumption is approximately 65% white wine and rosé, to 35% red wine. There is not a lot of seasonal variation, although guests tend to favour lighter Pinot Noir style red wines in summer. Everyone needs at least one glass of Sparkling wine for the toast!