Planning Your Wine Events

We celebrate so many events in our lives with wine:

  • engagement parties
  • bridal showers
  • bachelor/bachelorette parties
  • rehearsal dinners
  • wedding receptions
  • anniversary celebrations
  • birthday parties
  • holiday parties
  • receptions
  • networking events
  • corporate events
  • retirement events
  • charity events
  • social events
  • large dinner parties
  • small, intimate dinner parties
  • wine tastings
  • happy hours
  • wine education
  • kosher events
  • wine “edutainment”
  • catered events
  •  You can make any event special with wines reflecting your taste and style and that meet your budget.

    Whether you plan to host an intimate dinner for friends or a gala event for thousands, Big Hammer Wines can help you with planning, pairing, selection, and delivery.

    We have years of expertise helping clients choose the right wines for the right occasion, all while staying within their stated budget.


    How to Plan Your Wine Event

    How to Plan the Wine for Your Event

    Start by defining the following:

    • What type of event are you planning? Every event has different requirements.
    • What is the timing in terms of season, month, day of the week, time of day, and length?
    • How many guests will you host? What ages? Boomers drink differently than Millennials, for example.
    • Will you serve any other alcoholic beverages? How many guests don’t drink wine?
    • Will you serve an aperitif at the beginning, such as a sparkling wine? What about at the end of the event, such as a dessert wine?
    • Will there be a special toast, such as at a wedding?
    • Will you serve food? If so, what type, how many courses, buffet or sit-down dinner? Is the goal to have a wine pairing or have wine as a beverage option with the food?
    • Do you want to have apersonalized or custom label wine, an etched bottle, or another specialized service?
    • What is your total budget for wine?


    How much wine for your wine event?

    How Much Wine Should You Buy?

    You can find many online calculators for how much wine to buy for your event. These general guidelines recommend one bottle for every two people.

    To get it right, you need to consider all factors. Otherwise, you might end up short or have too much wine remaining. 

    Because you want to spend wisely, consider these additional points:

    • One standard bottle of wine (750ml) contains roughly 5 glasses of wine.
    • But it could range between 4 and 6 glasses depending on how much wine is poured and how much your guests drink.
    • People tend to drink one glass per hour, but drink more quickly at the beginning of an event and then slow down.
    • Some people will drink more, and others less or none, especially if you are serving other alcoholic beverages.
    • If you have wine lovers in the group and you’re only serving wine, estimate 3-4 glasses per person and multiply the number of people by 80%.

    A couple of examples:

    1.  A three-hour dinner party for 12, with cocktails before dinner and no after-dinner drinks. 

      If each person has one glass per hour during dinner, 3 x 12 = 36 glasses / 5 = 7.2 bottles. 

      If half the guests drink wine during the cocktail hour, 6 x 1 = 6 / 5 = 1.2 bottles.

      7.2 + 1.2 = 8.4 bottles. Plan on 9 bottles to cover the event.

      2.  A two-hour networking event of 50 people with no other alcoholic drinks available.

        If every person has one glass per hour, 50 x 2 = 100 glasses / 5 = 20 bottles. 


        What types of wines should you buy?

        What Types of Wines Should You Buy?

        Do your guests prefer white, red, or rosé wines? Will you serve sparkling wines? Do your guests prefer sweeter wines or bone-dry wines? 

        With a wide range of wines of every color and style available, don’t choose by general category. This won’t give you the best result or even the result you want. We recommend having a featured wine of the evening. If your bartender or server can explain to people, “The host chose this wine to pair with the baked salmon,” the wine and food pairing will be more memorable and appreciated.

        By going through all the factors, you will make a much more thoughtful decision and the wines you choose will better reflect the nature of your event.

        Even guest attire is something to consider. Do you want to serve only red wines if everyone will be wearing white?

        And for a toast or aperitif, which should you choose? Prosecco? Cava? Champagne? California sparkling? Each of these may suit the occasion (and your budget) better than another.


        What wines to pair with your food?

        Pairing Wine with Food

        Balance is an essential element inpairing wine with food. You don’t want either the wine or the menu to overpower the other. The goal is to create an overall better experience.

        When thinking about matching wine and food, you can either contrast flavors, textures, etc. or match complementary elements. 

        Complimentary pairings are lighter-bodied wines with lighter foods and heavier-bodied wines with more substantial dishes.

        The elements that you should consider in both the wine and the food include:

        • Flavors: types and intensity. The key here is to match full or bold flavors and intensity together and mild or lighter flavors and intensity together.

        Choose similar flavors such as earthy wines with earthy foods, fruity wines with fruit style foods, and so on. Highly intense wines can overpower lighter intensity foods.

        If you choose to contrast wine and food, choose flavors that enhance not compete. Choose dry, crisp wines for dishes that are higher in fat or heavier in nature, for example.

        Be careful about matching dishes that contain sauces. Pair wines with the sauce, not the underlying ingredient.

        • Texture or weight: Determine the weight and texture of the food. Choose wines with weight and texture that compare with the food.

        Heavier foods pair with heavier wines and so on. Match the weight first, then the flavors.

        • Acidity: another critical factor. Higher acid wines cut through fat and oil in food, and they can also complement certain high acid foods.
        • Salt:   can be enhanced with dry, high acid wines or with sweeter wines. Do not pair wines with a lot of tannin with salty foods.
        • Tannin: if your food has a lot of texture (chewy, fatty), wines higher in tannin are a good match. 
        • Sweetness: the general rule is that the wine should be sweeter than the food. High acid sweet wines complement rich, fatty foods. Sweetness can also balance saltiness.


        Pairing Red Wines, White Wines and Sparkling Wines

        Red Wines, White Wines, Sparkling Wines

        Red Wines

        Most wine drinkers drink red wines, and some only drink red wines or Bordeaux wines. It is always good to have a red wine on-hand at most events.

        If you know your guests’ preferences, you can determine the percentage of reds to whites. 

        If you don’t know or aren’t sure, assume about 60% red and 40% white. If you want to serve rosés, then adjust the reds/whites accordingly.

        All colors of wine come in a wide range of prices and styles. Consider all factors before making any decisions.

        White Wines

        White wines pair beautifully with all types of foods.

        They range from very light and crisp, like Pinot Grigio, to deep and rich, like Chardonnay. 

        Surprise your guests with a beautiful white wine paired with just the right food.

        Rosé Wines

        Rosé wines continue to grow in popularity. They also come in a range of styles from around the world and are flexible in pairing with food, especially seafood and spicy foods.

        Sparkling Wines

        The mantra is the same here. There are many types and styles, including sparkling red wine, so it all depends on your event.

        From Prosecco and Cava to red sparkling wines, Method Cap Classic, and Champagne, you have many choices.


        How to mix and match wines for your wine event

        Mix and Match

        Because everyone likes different wines, try to have a variety of types and styles on-hand, providing they pair well with the menu. 

        For events with a lot of guests, simplify by serving one red and one white wine. 

        Red: New World Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

        White: Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio

        If possible, provide more variety by serving two reds and two whites. Add a Pinot Noir or Grenache for the red or a Sauvignon Blanc for the white.


        What dessert wines to pair with your wine event

        Dessert Wines

        Offering a sweet wine after dinner, alone or with the right dessert pairing, can bring the meal to a satisfying end, one your guests will appreciate and remember.

        With the wide range of sweet wines available today, you have many options. Good ones have strong acidity, which keeps the sweetness from being cloying. 

        Wineries around the U.S. offer many good choices or find something from around the world, including Port, Moscato and Riesling.

        A demi-sec sparkling wine is also an elegant option.


        Other Wines to Consider for Wine Events

        Other Considerations for Special Events

        Serve wines at the proper temperature. Follow these guidelines:

        • Whites and rosés: refrigerate at 55°- 60° for a few hours
        • Reds: refrigerate for about 15 minutes at 60°-65°
        • Sparkling: refrigerate for a few hours at 45°, then keep on ice 

        Make your event even more special when serving wines from a larger format bottle. Make a statement with a magnum, which is two bottles, or even something larger. 

        Beautifully etched bottles or those with personalized or custom labels make your event unique.

        And don’t forget about offering unique wines as gifts for special events. Smaller bottles with personalized labels are always welcome.

        Finally, ensure your guests enjoy your fantastic event responsibly. Offer plenty of water, coffee, or other non-alcoholic drinks. 


        Choose Big Hammer Wines to Help you Select Wines for your Event

        Why Choose Wines from Big Hammer Wines for Your Event?

        Big Hammer Wines has the expertise and selection to deliver the perfect wines for your event. We’ll work with you to find the wines that will make your event spectacular. 

        Whatever your price point and based on your taste, menu, and size of event, we’ll help you find the best match. If you are hosting a large event and looking to purchase a high volume of wine, contact us for special pricing.

        We’ll ensure you have the right amount of wine, and the wine you want at the time and place you need.

        Because a company has 8,000 wines, it doesn’t mean they have the level of expertise needed to understand the nuances of how wine enhances special events. Don’t leave the decision to the Big Box Guys.

        Planning a special event can be stressful, and you want everything to be perfect. Big Hammer Wines’ has expertise with every aspect of wine.

        We only offer top-quality, award-winning wines at friendly prices

        Stop worrying and let us help you plan your event. 

        Schedule your consultation so we can discuss your needs.