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Wine, weddings and a little DIY help

I’ve been thinking about wine. Red wine, white wine, blush—any of them, just wine . . . and weddings. It’s almost Spring and love is in the air. The birds are chirping, our resident skunk is back from her winter long hiatus, and there’s a new crop of engagements and a new round of weddings.

Many newly engaged couples are looking beyond the dress and perfectly matched suits. They’re thinking more pragmatically. They're thinking, "How are we going to buy all that wine for the reception?"

Why am I thinking about this?

I’m thinking about it because I belong to a wine group. Every few months, we get together and bottle a few batches. Group wine making is a social occasion, and bottling night not only lets us take home a variety pack of reds, whites and roses, but it’s a great excuse for dinner and a night out.

It's also true that a full wine rack gives the kitchen a hint of designer chic, although I must admit, there are a few gaps in my rack. I don’t mind. Wine is a social drink—a pull a chair up to the counter, chat and prep food kind of affair.

“A fare una spaghettata” or “To eat spaghetti”

It means getting together to eat—good friends, good food, good conversation.

At the last session of our wine group the topic of weddings arose. There are four of those in the works and the brides and grooms are thinking wine, calculating the cost of brewing their own versus buying wine. The odds are coming up firmly in the DIY corner.

At the wine-making business we use, they tell me it's wedding time. They've seen an increase in couples coming in to choose their wines. Our grape expert, John, says now is when wines for summer weddings should be started. People often forget about wine when they start planning for their big day. They put off making it, not realizing that the wine they’re bottling has to sit and age.

I did a little Q & A with John on the whats, wheres, and whens of planning your wine

  • How much wine should you make?

    • Generally, weddings run 90 to 120 guests. Most people do a batch of red and a batch of white. That gives them 30 bottles of each type. Bottles, shrink wrap, and labels are included with your wine.

  • Is making your wedding wine expensive?

    • lan on spending $130 to $160 for a batch. The higher the cost, the higher the quality of the wine.

  • Can you customize labels?

    • Yes, the buyer picks the one they want and we add whatever print they choose

    • The labels can also be designed by you and customized online

    • Generally, people include their first names, date of the wedding, and type of wine on the label.

Check out and click Weddings on the menu bar 


Go to MacDay Labels for more label options

  • How long does a batch of wine take to mature?

    • It depends on the wine. If there isn’t a long period of time before the wedding, we’ll recommend a wine that matures quickly.

  • If somebody is getting married in August, when should they make their wine?

    • How. If you make a good wine you’re looking at two months, 7 weeks before the wine is ready to bottle and then depending on the wine, you need aging time.

  • Any words of wisdom about making wedding wine?

    • Don’t drink it before the big day. We’ve had people come in, make their wine early, and end up coming back to make it again.

  • Anything else?

    • Know your venue. If it has a liquor licence, you usually can’t bring in your own wine. If you do, they often charge a corking fee between $15 and $18 dollars.

    • If your venue is a hall, or the bar is yours, you need a special events permit. There’s information about that on our wedding link.

4 Steps to making your Wine:

  • Visit your wine-making retailer

  • Choose your wine

    • Think about pairing your wines to complement your menu—Wines of BC's website provides a Wine and Food Pairing  guide

 Consider a white for a relaxed Al fresco lunch or a red for an evening event

  • Think about labels

    • How are you going to personalize them?

  • Book a bottling appointment


  • Make it a fun night and bring some of the wedding party

  • Choose shrink wraps to match your wedding colours and complement your table

  • Think about bottling in half bottles and using them as wedding favours

What more do you need to know?

  • Store your wines upright for 2 to 3 days, and then on their sides in a cool dark place with a consistent temperature

One last thing, don’t drink all your wine before the big day, or you may find yourself starting all over again. Cheers!

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