Wedding Wine Guide Q&A with Sarah Knowles part three!
Sarah Knowles MW joined The Wine Society in March 2014 and passed her Masters of Wine qualification in 2015. She is responsible for Champagne, North America and Italy, as well as overseeing the portfolio of sparkling wines and spirits; so, there really is no better person to be advising you and answering all of your wedding questions? Red or white for a meat course? Wine or Champagne for your wedding toast? Here's the final part in our three-part guide, providing you with all you need to know about wedding wine...
How can you make more sustainable choices?
Sustainability is important but making the most sustainable choice for your wedding can be hard. Small things you could do are look to wines in lighter weight bottles, or wines that have been bottled in the UK, both of which will have saving CO emissions in transport and manufacture.
Choosing reputable growers, may also ensure that you are selecting with winemakers that care deeply for their team and are fair employers.
Some regions are also better certified than others with 90+% of New Zealand's wines being certified as produced sustainably. Though the wines have travelled a long way, they are shipped by a large sea container these wines although travelled along way are not actually as bad in CO emissions as you might think.
Most wines from Italy are also shipped by train, which offers a significant carbon saving compared to road freight, whereas, of course, choosing "local" wines from our great English selection could also help from a sustainability position.
What makes the best wedding gift?
I have often given friends and family a case of Champagne for their wedding, with a card that I once received that said that "you need to keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge at all times so that when you next have a moment to celebrate the bubbles are already chilled!"
I so loved the idea, that I stole this sentiment and have used it many times, sometimes also sending half bottles, cases of sparkling wine, or the couples' own fizz if I have known it (so that it's their 'special' wedding wine).
Wine and spirits can also be a great gift for family and friends who have helped particularly towards your big day. The right bottle of malt whisky, gin, rosé, chardonnay, or pinot for the right person can show that you have taken note of their favourite tipple and thought of them on your big day, also giving them something to take away and toast you with at a later date.
Wedding favours can be a minefield, but have you thought about making your own sloe gin or rhubarb vodka...?
Finally, a thoughtful gift for the couple in question, or key family members, might be a membership to The Wine Society - £40 for a lifetime share, with £20 credit off their first purchase, it is something longer term that might really hit the spot.
What can you serve for guests who do not drink alcohol?
There are non-alcoholic wines now available – we list a great sparkling one from the producers of our Society's Champagne.
However, think about cloudy apple juices, or elderflower cordials, perhaps put out a tray of fancy softs (e.g. San Pellegrino) or flavoured tonic waters.
A simple way to offer an Instagram-ready soft is to add a signature garnish to beautiful jugs or carafes of iced water such as pink grapefruit, lemon and blood orange slices, springs of mint and pomegranate seeds, wild rosemary, cucumber slices or summer red berries. And don't forget tea and coffee....