Great DIY Budget Wedding Wine Pick’s



I just finished this order with Suzanne, for her DIY Wedding later this month and thought I’d share our picks with you… We went with a Spanish/Argentine theme on wines which allowed for GREAT quality at Budget-friendly Prices. All serves to prove you don’t have to serve Woodbridge to stay on your budget!!! This is the one tip I always share with brides when we’re planning their wine selections… These wines offer a High QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) and will delight you and your guests. So, drumroll please, here are our DIY Budget-Friendly Wine Picks for your Wedding or Parties:

NV Fontallada, Cava Brut, Spain –
At just around $10, this Cava will impress, with it’s nice White label and traditional cage and cork packaging as well as it’s crisp apply flavors with a nice citrusy finish. Pop this for your bridal showers, rehearsal dinner and Wedding toast without breaking the bank!

2010 Pour Favor, Blanco, Spain –
An amazing steal at $7.99, this white wine blend of Chardonnay and Viura is a festive favorite with a modern, fun label and a great flavor profile with tropical mango, citrus and melon that rounds out to a zesty, refreshing finish.

2008 Carelli, Latitude 34, Cabernet Sauvignon –
An Argentine Cabernet that offers big, ripe blackberry fruit alongside coffee and cocoa aromas and soft, smooth tannins. Great with anything from Pulled Pork to Steaks, and you’ll love it on it’s own or with chocolate.

Planning a DIY Wedding?? On a tight budget?? Give me a shout at and I’ll put together something that not only fits your budget, but makes you want to grab another glass!!!



Let your Wines Speak….

As a sommelier, Brides ask me for wine recommendations often, but I always want to fine-tune my recommendations based on the couple. What do they love, is there a theme for the food at their wedding, where are they traveling to on their honeymoon, etc…. When I’m planning an event for myself or friends I want the wines to speak, to share a little of my husband and I or places I’ve been with my friends. So, what do you love? Where have you and your fiancee traveled together, or where are you traveling for your honeymoon? To give you a few examples, this is what I planned for my wedding wines…. I love ITALIAN Wine and we were leaving the day after the wedding for 8 days in Northern Italy. So, with that in mind, we wanted to take people on our Italian tour. So, we started with a Prosecco Reception with Italian Cheeses, then sat for a  Family-Style Dinner (32 people at one long table) with a White and Two Red wines with Dinner….

Manincor, Moscato Giallo – One of my husband’s & my favorite whites!! A dry Moscato from Alto Adige in Northern Italy, where we honeymooned…

This 1997 Barbaresco Riserva from Dante Rivetti was PHENOMENAL with our Italian-style Pork Roast with Fennel and Balsamico. We stayed in Piedmont for the first half of our honeymoon…

We chose a 3 Liter (equal to 4 btls of wine) of Castello Romitorio, Brunello di Montalcino for our Main Course…

…And as Mac would say, “A good time was had by all….”

If you’re looking to do something creative with your food and wine menu, let me know…I’d love to craft a special menu to compliment your personalities and theme.

-Cin Cin!


Great Wedding Blog: 100 Layer Cake

All you brides looking for inspiration from REAL WEDDINGS should definitely bookmark 100 Layer Cake’s Blog. Full of gorgeous weddings and ideas from the simple to the extreme. With enough inspiration for the DIY bride or the Wedding Coordinator you hire… Check out this, great wedding with a down-home feel. The wine selections are great, craft beers in a Vintage Crate and such a great, yet simple tablescape. I’d be glad to help you plan a beverage list like this. And it won’t cost a fortune. Enjoy!

Great Invitations…

Custom Marriage Certificate designed for moi by Ampersand Ink Designs.
Ampersand Ink is a DIY bride’s best friend… As I found out during the 4 months I had to plan my intimate DIY wedding last fall. Tasha designs to your desire and has a unique passion and eye for creative details. I gave her my dream wedding ideas and she went with it, all the way down to the REAL WOOD insert printed with the Map for our Wedding Destination.

For the bride that’s not sure of what she wants, she has custom designs to choose from. For brides like myself, she creates a completely custom look and design for an entire invitation suite, including Menus, Marriage certificate/Guest Book, Travel Booklets, Favor Bags, etc… Check her out at


Champagne Alternatives…


, , , ,

When it comes to Bubbles most of us have Champagne Taste on an Andre budget, especially when planning to serve for 50 or 100+ people on your wedding day. As a wine professional who “tastes” sparkling wines on a regular basis (& personally drinks them at home), I’m here to tell you there’s no need to sacrifice quality to value! There are plenty of great quality sparklers on a budget pricetag. So, with that in mind, I’ll offer you my favorite Bubble picks for serving in volume….or just for the two of us!!

$10 & Under picks…

NV Jaume Serra, (formerly known as Cristalino), Brut, Cava, Spain – $7.99

Very crisp and dry, light in body and showing green apple, lemon and lime, rich minerality. Finishes dry and slightly nutty. A great value and totally drinkable at the price!

NV Louis Perdrier, Brut Excellence, France – $9.99

“A high quality French Sparkling wine with lovely toasty notes that melt into the scent of golden apples….Well balanced and pleasant with very fine bubbles that tantalize the palate. Crisp, dry and refreshing…a great alternative to higher-priced Champagne!” – Taster’s Guild Int’l Wine Competition

NV Fontallada, Brut, Cava, Spain – $10.99

This Cava is pale gold with bright, lively bubbles, a faint nutty fragrance and a lingering citrus finish. Very good!

$20 & Under picks…

NV Tenuta Capoest, Prosecco Treviso, Italy – $11.99

This is a perfect example of why I love Prosecco, it’s delicate with fruity and flowery fragrances, apple, pear and citrus peel with soft bubbles and a crisp minerally clean finish. The perfect toast and great in Mimosa’s and Bellini’s too!

NV Gruet, Brut, New Mexico – $13.99

This classic Méthode Champenoise sparkler will amaze you with it’s elegance and complexity if not for its modest price, and the fact that it’s not from France, but from our very own Albuquerque, New Mexico!?! “Winemaker’s Note: Brilliant with ultra fine bubbles. A wonderful fine bouquet dominated by green apple and grapefruit flavors. A truly classic house style!”

NV Leon Palais, Blanc de Blancs, Jura, France – $15.99

Poached pears and Granny smith apples on the nose, with just-baked pie crust, lemon curd and bright citrus peel acidity on the lively and sophisticated finish.

NV Soligo, Prosecco, Brut, Veneto, Italy – $16.99

*We Served this at our wedding and drink this regularly at home!!

This Prosecco offers creamy froth and sweet notes of peach, mint leaf and almond. A crisp, dry, orangey flavor and fine long lasting bubbles, with a bouquet of fresh citrus notes of limes and minerals.


2007 Naveran, Brut, Cava, Spain – $16.99

“50% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada aged for 18 months on lees make this cava an incredible value. Delicate bubbles with a silky texture and a chalky minerality make this cava drink like NV Champagne.”

NV Mumm Napa, Brut Prestige, California – $18.99 

“Toasty aromas and firm texture introduce this wine, which sports nutty, fig, pear, honey and lemon aromas….striking a fine balance between delicacy and substance. 90 PTS” – Wine Spectator (Top 100 Wines of 2010!!)

2006 Gramona, Cava Gran Cuvee, Spain – $18.99

“…it has an enticing bouquet of mineral, brioche, and toast, a persistent stream of tiny bubbles and an attractive mousse. On the palate a flavor of lemon curd emerges along with crisp mineral notes. 90 PTS” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Great Wedding Blog: Once Wed

I looked at this site daily when planning my wedding. They show real weddings, great DIY ideas, beautiful photography, etc. Once Wed provides a million ideas to help you in planning your dream wedding. They did a feature this week on a Wedding in Tuscany at a beautiful site. Check it out here:

Preview here:


Best Wedding Gift Ever!


, , , , ,

One of the best parts of planning your wedding isn’t looking for a venue or planning seating arrangements. For most couples, it’s shopping for the items on your Gift Registry. As a couple you may squabble over who makes the guest list or what caterer to use. But, it so much fun to walk around a store with a scan gun picking out the gifts that will make your living space a home! And it’s a welcome reminder that the wedding planning is a means to an end. The end being, your lives joined in MARRIAGE!

One of the best wedding gifts we received was a bottle of Vintage Champagne, 1982 Billecart-Salmon, Blanc de Blancs, to drink together on our anniversary. We didn’t wait until our wedding anniversary, (don’t tell…) but we did celebrate that we found each other, made it through planning our DIY wedding and the first half of our first year of marriage in one piece. It was delicious and it got me to thinking. Why don’t we offer an Anniversary Wine registry?  We don’t have a fancy scan gun that you can take through the store on a shopping spree-like frenzy, but we can help you hand pick wines for your major anniversaries: 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, 15 year, 20 year, 25 year, etc… and give your guests a chance to give you a gift that stands the test of time and reminds you to celebrate the major milestones of your Marriage!

With that thought, I’ve compiled my dream Anniversary Wine List:

1 Year (Traditional gift “Paper”) :

2008 Manincor, Moscato Giallo, Italy – A delicous dry Moscato from the Alpine region of Alto Adige in Italy, near Verona, where we honeymooned. We poured this at our wedding and it has a rich, nutty character. Make it traditional : drink out of Paper cups and toast you made it to ONE YEAR!

5 Year (Traditional gift “Wood) :

2008 Braida, Bricco dell’ Uccellone, Barbera d’Asti – A barrel aged Barbera with deep brambly berry fruit and a complex spice character. We stayed at the Vineyard the first 3 days of our honeymoon and had a dream-like experience there! Make it Traditional : Barrel-aged wine is perfect for this tradition, with it’s nice Vanilla Oak flavors!

10 Year (Traditional gift “Tin”):

2008 Col Vetorraz, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene – Bubbles that we shared on our 1 week anniversary at Cangrande Ristorante in Verona. Make it Traditional : Take it outside under the stars & drink out of Tin Camping cups, you’ll never forget it.

15 Year (Traditional gift “Crystal”) : 2002 Billecart-Salmon, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne – Vintage champagne takes on caramel and nutty flavors with age and the bubbles soften into delicate pearls. Make it traditional : This is the perfect time to break out those Crystal Champagne flutes and let the bubbles flow.

20 Year (Traditional gift “China”) :

2006 Pelissero, “Vanotu,” Barbaresco – Another great Vineyard we visited in Piedmont. This wine reminds me of Balsamic over berries with a rich core of fruit and complex spice characters. The tannins will soften on this over the next 20 years, making it velvety and delicious. Make it traditional : Break out the China and make a meal worthy of such an amazing accomplishment and such a Wine!

25 Year (Traditional gift “Silver”) : 1997 Gini, Recioto di Soave, Verona – A dessert wine so golden and delicious and known to age wonderfully. Sweet like the 25 years that led you to this date. Make it traditional : Make your favorite dessert and serve it on a silver platter with this Recioto!

the rest of our lives… to be continued…

Salute! Cheers! Cin Cin!


, , , ,

No matter how you say it, “Let us raise our glass…” to the Bride & Groom, to the Happy Couple, to the families and friends who will celebrate your most memorable moments! This is the day (or night) you’ve dreamed of and planned all your life and we would be honored to help you craft the perfect glass to toast with.

“When children find true love,
parents find true joy.”
Here’s to your joy and ours,
from this day forward
-Parents’ toast

So, whether you could impress your sommelier or you’re a beginner, I’d love to help you find the perfect drinks for your Wedding! Send me an email and let’s talk…