A Wine Consultant Shares Her Expert Advice

Party Guest Opening a bottle of Wine

Kristen Lee Sergeant
President of KLS Wine Consulting

Why should couples work with a wine consultant?
Choosing wine for your wedding is nothing like picking a bottle you like for dinner. My job is to navigate that (from $500). Venue plays a big role in what options you have, and you might not have great wines to choose from. I recently had a wine-savvy couple getting married in a high-end hotel, and they were not thrilled with the available bottles. I found out which distributors the hotel works with and ordered some other wines from their portfolio. It’s not the client’s job to speak the industry language the way I do. I’ll also help guide couples to crowd-pleasers an entire wedding party would enjoy. Not everyone is wine-studied, not everyone loves tannins. Sometimes you need a Pinot Grigio for Mom.

If a couple wants to prioritize wine, where should they book
Event spaces have a lot of flexibility, because you can hire your own staff to make sure wine is decanted and served at the right temperature. You can also tell a lot about a place by the glassware — if it’s this big, thick, clunky stuff, it doesn’t matter what you put in it, and it’s indicative of the overall quality of what you’re going to be dealing with.

What’s your ideal wine menu for a New York winter wedding?
In a perfect world, you’d have a brioche-y, buttery Pinot Noir–based Champagne. Something white that’s a little more weighty, but still drinkable throughout the evening, would be a Chenin, a Viognier, or a white Burgundy, always. For red, a richer classic like a Bordeaux or a Northern Rhône. For something more affordable, there are so many great big red wines coming out of Portugal right now. The temptation during winter is to go for the bolder red, but I try to impart picking a lighter red as well, like
a Gamay or Pinot Noir, to see guests through the evening. People think they want a full-bodied red wine, but it’s not sustainablefor a four-hour celebration.


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