Weddings, Wine & Wisdom

At Island Winery, we often meet brides seeking the perfect wine for their special day. Some want local wines to give their wedding that authentic Island feel, others want custom-label wines to commemorate the big day, and others simply ask for advice about ideal menu pairings. With wedding season in full swing, we thought we would share some wisdom from our tasting room!

What’s Your Wine Budget?

Is the goal quality, quantity, or a balance of both? Go through the guest list person by person, and mark who normally drinks wine, beer, or no alcohol at all. Budget one bottle of wine for every two wine drinkers, rounding up. Err on the higher side of the estimate because guests tend to put down half-consumed beverages to talk or dance, forget where they put their glass, and then return to the bar for another drink.

Optimize Your Options

It is easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to selecting wedding wines for every palate. At Island Winery, we recommend keeping it simple by offering no more than five choices. Choose a combination of reds and whites, with perhaps a dry rosé or sparkling wine depending on the circumstances. Base these selections on the time of day, time of year, food being paired and budget.

Celebrations for All Seasons

People tend to drink more red wine at an indoor wedding or during the cooler seasons. Consider selecting approximately 50% red wine for these weddings. For outdoor weddings on hot days, expect more guests to drink white wine. For these, consider a mix of 30% each of three styles of wine, adding either a dry rosé (served chilled) or a sparkling wine. A rosé is perfect if serving fish or seafood.

Traditional Reds Work Best

Unless most of the wedding guests are adventurous wine drinkers, a wedding is not the venue to introduce them to quirky new wines. In most cases, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a safer bet than Baco Noir. This does not mean shying away from choosing wines of high quality from lesser-known wine regions. When selecting reds, choose classic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec. But, consider varietals from Portugal, Spain, South Africa or Argentina, which allows guests a great wine experience without breaking the budget.

White Wines for Everyone

It’s better to go with crowd pleasers for a wedding. Though a bold, buttery Chardonnay may be a personal preference, it might be wiser to select a lighter, zestier white wine because they tend to pair better with all styles of food. Look into whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, unoaked Chardonnay, Verdejo, or Pinot Grigio. These wines are sure to please, and are especially good for summer weddings.

Rediscover Rosé

From Thai spices to Lowcountry seafood buffets, wedding menus offer complex flavor profiles that pair perfectly with a dry rosé. Americans have fallen in love with dry rosé, one of the fastest growing categories of wine purchased around the US.


By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

The perfect bottle of handcrafted artisan wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Complimentary tastings, wine by the glass and cheese platters are available Monday-Saturday from 12:30-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12-4 p.m. Call (843) 842-3141 or visit