Celebration wines – Algarve Plus Magazine, Febr 2024

February is the month of celebration, love, and happiness… and for some the chosen month for weddings – or at least wedding planning for a summer event.

And there’s a trick to choosing the perfect wedding wine: enjoying the process!
A wedding, a special anniversary, a celebration that brings friends and family together – pick your menu and pair your wines.

Settle on a few wines you love, and you’re sure to have guests snapping photos of the labels to buy for themselves later. And of course, you get to sample different varieties from a choice of wineries… all in the name of research.

This guide answers technical questions you may have so you can focus on the fun part: the wine.

I am happy to share that the February issue of the Algarve Plus Magazine has already been published with my new article about Portuguese celebration wines.

The magazine is readable online or downloaded for free here.

Or read here the whole article:


Celebration Wines


February is the month of celebration, love, and happiness… and frequently also a time of weddings. Everything about this special day should be about you. The more personal it is, the more fun and memorable it will be for everyone else.

The selection of wine for a wedding is a significant decision as it can affect the overall ambiance of the event. The wine should complement the food, enhance the overall experience of the guests, and match the preferences of the couple getting married.

There’s a trick to choosing the perfect wedding wine: enjoying the process! Settle on a few wines you love, and you’re sure to have guests snapping photos of the labels to buy for themselves later. You get to taste different varieties and wineries all in the name of “research.”

Of course, there are some requirements, like pairing your picks with the right food and making sure you buy enough bottles. This guide will answer all the technical questions you may have so you can get back to the fun part: the wine.


Choosing your wedding wines

The perfect wedding wine is something that can be enjoyed by novice wine drinkers and enthusiasts alike and also pairs well with your festive meal. The wine you choose should complement the food being served at the wedding. Consider the flavors of the dishes and select wines that will enhance them. But remember that a wedding isn’t the time to experiment with oddball pairings or exceptionally strong wines!


Choosing the right wine for a wedding can be a daunting task, but also a fun experience. It is sensible to make your wine selections at the same time you are deciding on the menu. An experienced sommelier can provide reliable food and wine-matching advice. You should taste all of their suggestions before settling on a particular wine. The wines you choose should bring out the best in the meal, and vice versa.

Consider the preferences of your guests when selecting wine. You want to choose wines that will appeal to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

The season can play a significant role in the type of wine you choose. For example, red wines are best suited for colder months, while white and rosé wines are better suited for warmer months.

Consider the time of day the wedding will take place when selecting wine. Lighter wines such as white and rosé are better suited for daytime weddings, while darker, richer wines are better suited for evening weddings.

There are several types of wine, including red, white, sparkling, and rosé. Each wine has its own unique taste and is suited to different occasions.

Here are some of my handy tips on how to be smart about designing a premium wine list for special occasions.


Sparkling wines are a popular choice for weddings, especially for toasts and celebrations. They are best suited for weddings that take place during any season, and their crisp, effervescent bubbles make them perfect for any occasion. As guests arrive or during the cocktail hour,  they typically mingle and enjoy appetizers while waiting for the reception to begin. This is an excellent time to serve sparkling wine to celebrate the occasion. Toasts are also a significant part of any wedding when Espumante, the Portuguese sparkling wine can be a popular choice.

Espumante Ravasqueira Grande Reserva

Espumante Vertice Pinot Noir


Then as the first course is being served, move on to still wine varieties. It’s a good idea to offer white and red wine throughout the wedding reception, rather than serve white strictly with the first course and red with the second. Allow your wedding guests to make their own rules; perhaps they would prefer a red with their chicken or fish and a white with their steak. When it comes to wine, it should be about enjoying the experience rather than worrying about the rules!


Red wines are known for their rich flavors and aromas, which make them an excellent complement to hearty dishes. They are best suited for weddings that take place during the cooler months, such as fall or winter. Generally, keep the red wine medium-bodied so it can be enjoyed throughout the event – look for a juicy Pinot Noir or a fruity Castelão that are lighter in body than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Casa Ermelinda Freitas – Leo d’Honor

Niepoort – Pinot Noir Tinto


White wines are perfect for weddings that take place during the warmer months, such as spring or summer. They are lighter in body and have a refreshing taste that makes them ideal for outdoor weddings or events that take place during the day. Pick wines that are likely to suit a range of tastes; good white options could be a Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re having food that would match with a richer white (like chicken or pork) then try a Chardonnay – but avoid anything with too much oak.

Villa Alvor – Sauvignon Blanc

Quinta do Barranco Longo – Chardonnay


Rosé wines have become increasingly popular in recent years and are an excellent choice for weddings. They have a light, refreshing taste and are perfect for weddings that take place during the spring or summer months. A Douro or Alentejo rosé will be a great choice to match with summery dishes, and to drink throughout the wedding party.

Vinho Rosé Douro Quinta Nova

Vinho Rosé Cartuxa


Some couples opt to serve late-night snacks at their wedding, and wine can be served alongside these snacks. This is a great opportunity to serve a different type of wine than what was served during dinner, such as a sweeter wine or dessert wine.

Quinta da Tor – Colheita tardia – Chardonnay

H M Borges – Malmsey 10 Anos Madeira 


Don’t forget some tempting soft drinks to make sure guests can keep themselves refreshed during a longer wedding, or for anyone who’s not drinking. There are many delicious 0% beers and spirits now that offer a more grown-up option. Stock up on premium tonics or flavored sparkling water, and provide ice and garnishes so everyone can enjoy a drink that feels special. Or for something really simple, it’s easy to upgrade jugs of mineral water with cucumber and fresh mint.


How much wine should you buy for a wedding?

The amount of wine you should buy for your wedding depends on several factors.

– Number of guests attending (and also drinking)

– Duration of the wedding/reception

– Whether you are serving other alcoholic beverages

To determine the number of bottles to buy, a good rule of thumb is to allot anywhere from half to three-quarters of a bottle per person, assuming that most guests will drink two glasses with dinner. If the wines will also be served with cocktails, double that amount; guests will likely enjoy a glass or two before sitting down to dine. Remember, people generally consume more white wine than they do red — especially in the summer when it’s hot outside — so consider buying an extra case or two of white.

Of course, you may have reasons to adjust that estimate. If your reception is in the middle of the day rather than the evening, you can expect people to drink a little less. And if you know that a certain portion of the guest list doesn’t drink at all, you can bring your estimate down (of course, you’ll want to provide them with non-alcoholic options).

Your wine choice can also provide an opportunity to further personalize your wedding. For instance, you might serve the wine that you had on your first date.

Depending on where you’ll be holding your reception, you could choose a wine from a local vineyard, or pick one from a favorite vacation spot or your honeymoon destination. Or serve wines that are produced in the region your ancestors hail from.

If you like, you can include a short sentence on the menu explaining the significance of the wines.

Pairing wine with food is subjective, and what works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different pairings until you find the perfect match.

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