Selections for Wedding Reception?

Hi everyone, I am new to wine and I have to buy about 30 bottles of Champagne and 50 bottles of wine for my wedding reception.

I really don't know what my budget should be, but I want to choose a wine that everyone will enjoy with their 9 course traditional Chinese dinner. Most of the people attending will be Vietnamese and Japanese.

I'm thinking that I could spend about $1000-1500. Is that reasonable?

I know that most of the guests are not "wine" experts and would probably enjoy something more on the "mild" side. My fiance rarely drinks wine and one of the few red wine's she's actually enjoyed was from Olive Garden. (Principato Rosso)

Anyways I have a few questions:

What type of wine would go well with Chinese food? (Mostly seafood dishes and strong flavors)

Where should I shop for the wine? (I normally go Trader Joes, Costco, or Bev Mo for wine)

Any suggestions on $5-$20 bottles?

Should I be looking for discounts on Champagne due to new years and purchase now? OR could the Champagne go bad after 4 months of garage storage?

What kind of variety of wine should I have? Or should it be just one selection?

Thanks!
Original Post
The wines that I find go best with Chinese food, especially Sechzwan and Hunan but also Mandarin and Cantonese, are spicy whites with just a touch of sweetness.

My favorites in this category are from Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley region of Mendocino County. I buy a couple of cases every year, in part because my wife demands these wines with Chinese, Thai, and even Mexican food. IMHO, their wines are exceptionally good for the price.

Consider these: 2006 Navarro Gewurztraminer and their 2006 Pinot Gris. The Gewurtz is $19 per bottle, the Pinot Gris a buck less, but there's a 10% discount on a case and 15% discount if you order 3 cases or more. Of course, you have to pay shipping and tax (in California), and you need to be sure they can ship to your state.

As for the Champagne, my only suggestion is that you not spend a lot of money on it -- most people won't know the difference and won't care. You can fine Chandon Blanc de Noir, a California sparkler by a French company, for about $14, or Mumm Cordon Rouge from France for about $24.

Lastly, how many people are you planning on having? I find that many people buy way too much wine for weddings. Half a bottle per person total is usually way more than enough. For that reason, either plan on keeping some, or giving unopened bottles to guests to take home. With my daughter's wedding, I had an agreement with the store from which I bought the wine and booze for the bar to return any unopened leftovers.
I forgot to reply to your question about variety. My advice is to keep it simple. It's a wedding, not a wine tasting (or at least I assume it's not -- it might be if all your friends and relatives are wine geeks). For my daughter's wedding, we had one Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir, both pretty good but not great bottles, and I heard no complaints.

However, with the meal, you might want to consider some Chardonnay. It doesn't go that well with Asian food, but for some folks, Chardonnay = class. I happen to think Navarro's 2005 Chardonnay Premiere Reserve is one of the best they've ever made. $22 per bottle before the discount. But there are a lot of other good choices -- just make sure that what you choose is not too oaky -- that would be nasty with Chinese, IMO.
Thanks for the reply, I don't have an exact number on how many guests will be there, but I'm assuming 2 bottles of wine per table, and each table will have about 8 people (10 max). Then for toasting purposes only, I was going to have 1 bottle of champagne per table.

There will be an open bar so I doubt everyone will be drinking just wine. I've been to weddings where there were cases of wine left over so I just want to get the bare minimum.

I have 25 tables and about 200 guests.

The wedding menu for the dinner can be seen online here:

Grand Garden

We havn't chosen the exact menu yet, but we're leaning towards the selection at the top right of the wedding selection menu.

I'll check out the wines you suggested and I am sure I'll be going with a white wine.
Wow! Menu looks great. I assume you're not having ALL of that -- or are you?

I think your estimate seems reasonable, given the open bar. Lots of people would rather have a gin and tonic or whatever with their meal. But better too much than too little, especially if you can return some.

Lots of good discount wine places in and near the OC -- you can get some great stuff at any of them and probably pay less than from Navarro, and you could more easily taste it first. Check these:

Amazing Grapes
High-Time Wine Cellars
Southern Hemisphere Wine Center
The Wine Club
Wine Country
Wine Exchange
hourman, ... RDcollins has given you some wise advice. It is a wedding, not a wine tasting social event. Almost all attending will be looking at the bride/groom and the rest of the wedding party. Do not spend a lot on expensive wine and champagne.
Keep in mind that for every twenty five people in a crowd, there is maybe, just maybe, one person that is knowledgeable in wine/champagne and tasting of it and how to in fact judge wine. So, out of a typical wedding of one hundred people there will be only four people that will be able to discern a great wine from a mediocre one.
These #'s are all made up by me but really are probably not that far off from reality. Spend $$$ on the food and decor.... not the wine. If you feel like having a fantastic wine on the table have it on the head table for the wedding party. But that is my two cents anyway.
Ogopogo DUDE gives great advice. I learned the hard way. Food trumps wine at weddings unless you are at the Antinori or Mondavi famlies' weddings. Decent Champagne or even Prosecco is a nice choice. Unfortunately, most pepole like (or think they like) Merlot as their red of choice. Save $$$ since many will drink Amstel

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