There are so many different varietals from different regions of the world that some people find it best to stay with a certain region. (Varietal is basically a fancy way of saying grape). For example, sometimes, a couple will decide that they only want to have wines from Napa, California at their wedding, or Spanish wines, or Italian wines, etc. While there are MANY varietals to chose from, I am listing some of the big players that you need to be aware of:
Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, Cab is now one of the most popular wines in the world, and is grown everywhere from Argentina, to France to California.
Shot to stardom with the popular movie “Sideways” Pinot Noir is from the Burgundy region of France, but is a very popular varietal in the Santa Barbara region of California. A lighter but complex red.
A soft, velvety wine with plum flavors.
Syrah, or “Shiraz” if grown in Australia, is a full-bodied red.
It originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to California. People often refer to Chardonnay as a buttery, white wine.
Is a white grape variety, which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines.
Sauvignon Blanc originates from the Bordeaux region of France. Sauvignon blanc is planted in many of the world's wine regions, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine.
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Wines made from the Pinot gris vary greatly and are dependent on the region and wine making style they are from.
More details to consider are that New World wines (most wines that are from relatively young vineyards-like in California) are much different from Old World wines (most wines from Europe that are from vineyard and vines that are extremely old).
The More you Know the Less you Know!
Like with being a fabulous event planner, with wine, it is a lifelong process. There is no way that you can possibly learn everything there is to know in one sitting. It is best to start off with learning about the main varietals, and then you will learn the nuances. The best way to learn? Drink! Enlist a great bartender or wine tender to pour a tasting next time you go to dinner. Once you know what you like, you’ll have an easy time expressing your thoughts to your clients. The more comfortable you are with selecting and enjoying wines, the more knowledge that you have to share with your clients.
A wedding doesn’t have to be in Napa’s wine country to bring in elements of the vineyard. Many couples have had a great experience over a bottle or wine, or traveled to a vineyard and want to incorporate this into their wedding. You can easily pull this theme into the wedding, while also ensuring that the wine that has been selected fits in with this theme. For example, perhaps the couple traveled in Tuscany and has fond memories, thus you can select a red and white wine from that region. Or perhaps the couple is going to Honeymoon in the South of France; a Sparking Rose from France would work beautifully with a summer, outdoor wedding. Other ways to bring wine into a wedding could be a nod to the couple’s family or culture; perhaps they have Spanish heritage-a bottle Tempranillo is the perfect nod to relatives or ancestors from the Spanish region.
Most importantly, share your knowledge and passion with your clients!