The Buyers Guide to Champagne
Traditionally associated with special occasions, champagne is the drink of choice when it comes to wedding toasts. But as with wines, champagne varies with taste, appearance & price. When it comes to buying a bottle of bubbly is pays to know what to look for.
When would you like it?
You may serve champagne several times over the course of your wedding day - as a welcome drink when your guests arrive at the wedding reception & of course during the speeches & toasts. Choose it wisely & champagne is a good companion for fish & poultry dishes & you could serve it throughout the wedding breakfast if your budget will allow it.
What style of bubbles should you choose?
It is most likely that you will stick to serving champagne as a welcome drink & for the toasts, so you will probably only choose one label to serve both purposes. A brut (dry) variety with an even flavor would be a good choice & is likely to appeal to the majority of your guests. Rose champagne, with its delicate pink color will appeal to those who want a romantic feel. Make sure you have a tasting session before you splash on a large quantity of bottles for the wedding.
How much will everybody drink?
Deciding on how much you buy will depend on how many times you intend to serve it throughout the day. If you offer it as a welcome drink then one glass per head is sufficient, with a few extra for the more thirsty guests (there will be at least one!). If you serve canapes before the main meal & serve champagne again then it is best to count two glasses per person, for the toasts one glass will be adequate. As a guide one bottle of champagne will fill six glasses so allow half a bottle per person.
Where should you shop?
It always pays to shop around both on the high street & online. Supermarkets & wine merchants will often provide appealing incentives when buying by the case so compare every offer to find the one that suits you best.
What if your venue supplies champagne?
Most venues will offer champagne on their wine list so it is worth asking if they can offer you a good deal or if it is too pricey, ask if you can supply your own & what the corkage charge will be. Beware of the corkage charge being as expensive as the champagne at the local wine merchants, in which case you are probably as well taking the venues offer. If you want to serve a particular label & the venue doesnt provide it, it is worth asking if they can buy it in for you & how much they would charge to do this.
How much should you spend per bottle?
The amount you spend is really down to your own personal choice & the amount you want or can afford to spend. As with all aspects of your wedding you should set a budget for your champagne. Remember champagne will cost more per bottle than a bottle of wine & expect to pay upwards of $15 per bottle for non-vintage varieties. Your venue will probably have a good mark up on this price so bear that in mind.
How should you serve it?
Champagne should always be served chilled otherwise you will fail to enjoy it at its best. As soon as possible after purchase store it somewhere cool & away from light sources. Remember it should be served chilled & not iced. When it comes to the day itself place each bottle in a bucket of water & ice to chill it or you can place them in a fridge the night before. To open a bottle of champagne undo the wire cage over the cork but dont remove it, hold the cork & cage firmly & turn the bottle until the cork pops out.
Whats the alternative?
Champagne can only be called champagne if it comes from the champagne region of France, but there are plenty of other sparkling wine alternatives which are as good but cost less per bottle than champagne. Cava from Spain is a excellent alternative or look to the new world for some lovely sparkling wines.
Georgina Clatworthy is a dedicated full time writer who composes informative articles related to wedding favors and wedding. She is connected with 1weddingsource.com, todays leading wedding planning social networking site.