Lift your glass: Tips on getting your wedding or summer event wine for much less
Believe it or not, a good quality wine can be purchased for $8-$10. The trick is to try lesser known winemakers and wines from up and coming regions: Chile, South Africa, or Spain. There are many undiscovered treasures; the fun part is finding some you love at your local wine shop. Next time you stop in, ask for recommendations from these regions and expand your wine horizons while keeping your wallet flush.
If you are having a catered event somewhere other than your home, ask the restaurant or hotel if you can bring in your own wine. Most venues mark up wine by at least 100% to turn a profit; you're much better off buying for yourself. The tough economy is on your side in negotiating this into your event contract, as most places would rather have your business for the main fare than haggle over the wine.
When you get the go-ahead, shop at discount stores for the wine you love and save money by buying in bulk (you can usually save 10% to 20% by buying by the case instead of by the bottle).
If you have a favorite wine that comes from one of the wine producing regions within the United States, call the winery directly. Tell them what you like and how many cases you need. You will be surprised at most wineries' willingness to work with you directly and make a deal for your special day.
Be married to your new spouse, but don't be married to champagne. Most sparkling wine and Cava are just as good (and sometimes better), and almost always much cheaper than champagne. The only difference is where they are made -- to be called champagne, a wine can only be made in Champagne, France. Many other regions have equally good sparkling wines that are less expensive.
Jennifer Horn is a co-host on the nationally syndicated Good Day radio program heard on more than 300 stations across the country in morning drive. An accomplished sommelier, Jennifer also co-authors a weekly Food & Wine Newsletter and is a contributor on the nationally syndicated What's Cookin' Show on CRN Digital Talk Radio.