When you’re catering for large numbers it generally pays to go for wines that are accessible and have broad appeal. It’s a dead cert that you won’t succeed in accommodating everyone’s individual preferences so as long as it’s nothing too obscure, choose wines that you like to drink yourself.
What types of wine should I buy?
Keep in mind the time of day, season and what (if any!) food you are going to be serving. Lighter bodied wines tend to work best at daytime garden-party type events whilst you can tackle the slightly weightier wines with more formal sit down meals. As the weather cools you’ll find that red wines will be more popular than whites and if your event falls when the sun’s likely to be out you may want to include some rosé wines in your offering.
A glass of quality sparkling wine is a great accompaniment to a toast but bear in mind that some of these wines are very dry and don’t necessarily show their best on an empty stomach so plan when in your event you’ll be making speeches and choose (or take advice on) the most appropriate style.
How much should I buy?
A broad rule of thumb is that you should allow for half a bottle of wine per person with a sit down meal or one and a half drinks for every hour that your event lasts.
Red wine does seem to be marginally more popular than white and so we would recommend splitting your order 60:40. However, events in the summer or which will be run during the day may see demand for white wine rise. If you want to include a rosé, include this in the ‘white’ numbers.
You should allow for 6 glasses from every 75cl bottle of wine. If you’re serving sweet wines this would rise to 10 glasses for every 75cl. Some will suggest that you can get 8 servings from a bottle of sparkling wine but we recommend you allow for 6.
Always buy more than you think you’ll need. There is absolutely nothing worse than running short and a few leftovers is rarely the end of the world.