ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am getting married in October and we have decided to have a wine ceremony in place of the unity candle ceremony. With this ceremony, you use a white wine and a red wine and pour them together. The bride and groom then drink from the blended wine. My question is what would be the best type of white and red wine to use in this situation?

—Natalie H., Wilmington, N.C.

Dear Natalie,

I’m nothing if not a romantic, so I love this question. In the world of traditional winemaking, there are three main areas where reds and whites are blended together. I’ll walk you through each one, and depending on how you envision the ceremony (and how much the attendees are into wine) you can see which one works for you.

The first that comes to mind is sparkling wine production, where Chardonnay (a white grape) is blended with Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier (red grapes). I’m not sure how practical this is in a wedding ceremony, unless you want to pull a switcheroo and say, “Hey, this Pinot Noir and this Chardonnay, under the right circumstances can be blended together to make something magical” and then a glass of sparkling wine appears. It would be impossible for me to do this without cracking a joke about how it also does well under pressure, since a bottle of sparkling wine has all that pressure from the carbonation. Since there are typically Champagne toasts at weddings, this might segue well into your ceremony.

Another place where you’ll see red and white wines blended together are in certain Rhône-style wines, where a touch of Viognier (white) is blended into Syrah (red) to add a wonderful aromatic note. Typically, no more than 20 percent of the blended wine would be Viognier, so I’m not sure that would work in a ceremony where I’d guess you’d like the blend to be a little more equal.

Finally, some blush wines are made by blending red and white wines together, though most are made from the first press of red grapes. Since this is ceremonial (and if the rest of the guests aren’t going to be tasting the wine), I think it would be most meaningful if the bride and groom just pick wines that reflect them—either in flavor profile or by name—and have some fun blending them together. Or, if it’s an option, perhaps the wines don’t have to be red and white, but red and red, or white and white, and then you can make something much more traditional. If you guys have a knack for blending wine, perhaps the wine can be served at the reception, or given away as a wedding favor.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to find a tissue. I always cry at wedding questions.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories