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Mark Miller is the director of sales at Crush Wine & Spirits in New York City. His 20-plus-year career in wine includes a stint as a food and beverage director for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where he helped coordinate scores of wedding and special events. Here, Miller shares his thoughts on perfect pouring for wedding receptions.
Keep it simple
Elaborate wine presentations like wine flights make it more likely that the service will not flow as smoothly as it should. Work with the chef and your wine expert to pair one wine with each course.
Have enough help
Make sure you'll have a sufficient number of staff on hand to serve the food and wine seamlessly. Consult with your caterer about how many extra servers you'll need to make sure that each guest receives his or her food and wine at the same time. You might ask your caterer to bring in one extra server to pour wine per two to three tables of 10 guests each.
Serve as you wish
It's perfectly okay to serve one wine to guests while pouring a special bottle at the head table.
Consider your theme
For an Italian meal, for example, set up several stations pouring wines from different Italian regions, like Piedmont, Campania and Tuscany.
Pour easily accessible wines
If you're a dedicated oenophile, you may enjoy wines that others consider an acquired taste. Avoid wines that are extreme in flavor or style, and pour wines that will to appeal to the majority of your guests and go well with your menu. You can always save that unusual boutique bottle for the head table.
Work with a professional
Ideally, look for someone who has not only food and wine knowledge but also an event-management background. A good caterer may have a wine expert on staff. Or consult the wine director from a favorite restaurant or wine shop.