Questions about wedding wines? Find the answers to our most frequently-asked questions here:
Am I allowed to serve my own wine at my reception?
In most cases, yes, but not always. Check with your venue to confirm before making any plans. Most venues will permit it with no restrictions, but some may charge a corkage fee and/or require you to provide your own bar staff, and still others may refuse altogether. Regardless of the venue’s preference, and even if you decide not to serve your own wine at the reception, you can still give wine bottles as favours or thank-you gifts; there are no restrictions on providing sealed bottles of alcohol to recipients over the age of 19, as long as the intention is for it to be enjoyed later.
Do I need special permits?
If your wedding is held at a private (non-rented) facility, like a friend or family member’s residence, then no special permits are required.
For private, rented facilities (like a banquet hall), you’d have to check with the venue. In some cases, you may need to get a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) from the AGCO. For homemade wines, the cost of the permit is only $25 per day, so the impact to your budget is negligible. For complete information, visit the AGCO’s website.
My venue charges a corkage fee. Is it still cost-effective to bring my own wine?
Even with additional fees, making and bringing your own wine is often still a very cost-effective way to serve alcohol at your wedding. Liquor store prices just can’t compete when you compare the per-bottle cost, and the per-person cost of an open bar (from your venue) is usually much higher than what you’d spend to prepare and serve your own wine. Not to mention the fact that the quality from our award-winning kits is the same or better, and determining the supply in advance offers you more control over the final cost.
How much wine should I make?
That depends on how many guests you’re inviting, the style of dining, whether wine is the only drink that will be offered or whether you’re serving other drink options, your guests’ habits… As a general guideline, we recommend 2 standard (750mL) bottles of wine for every 3 guests, if you’re serving wine with dinner. Since each batch of wine produces 30 x 750mL bottles, that means that a wedding with 100 people should prepare at least 2 batches of wine. For more specific suggestions and examples, see this page.
You should also consider whether you’d like to offer red and white, or just one kind of wine. If you’d like to offer both, you’ll need to make at least two batches (one of each).
What kind of wine should I make?
Again, that depends on a number of factors (your tastes/preferences, what you’ll be serving, how long the wine will be able to age before you serve it, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, we normally recommend Merlot or Malbec for red wines, and Pinot Grigio or Riesling for white wines. Those are among our best-selling and most popular wine kits, and they’re also versatile and crowd-pleasing.
How far in advance should I make my wine?
We encourage couples to start wedding wines 4-12 months before the big day, if time allows. While our wines are all drinkable at bottling, they continue to improve with age, so allowing a few weeks or months for them to settle is always better, if you can manage it. That will allow time for the flavours (and tannins, in red wines) to mellow before you serve them.
Fruit wines need less time – starting them 2-4 months before the event is sufficient – and specialty wines (including port, ice wine, and sherry) should be given more time – ideally, start these 6-12 months before you plan to give or serve them.
That having been said, we have special yeast packs that enable us to make wine from start to finish in just over a week. If you suddenly realize that you’ve depleted your cellar, or would like some last-minute extras, just to be sure, we can help you make a full kit (or several) in as little as 10 days. Even with this process, we still recommend aging the wine before serving it, whenever possible.
What do I need to do, exactly? What is the process?
Making wine in-store is easy! Our staff can help you select the best wines for your taste & budget, and they’ll be there to help every step of the way.
To begin a kit, all you need to do is add the yeast to begin the fermentation process (this is required by law in order for the wine to be yours). Then, come back in 4-8 weeks to bottle your finished wine. In the meantime, we’ll take care of all of the winery work and heavy lifting. Once the wine is ready, the bottling-labeling-finishing process usually takes only 15-30min per batch (less if you bring friends to help!).
Can I visit the facilities or sample some wines before starting a batch?
You are most welcome to stop by the store anytime during our business hours, and the staff will happily walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.
While we’d love to offer samples of the wines, brew-on-premise stores are unfortunately prohibited from doing so. By law, only the person who makes the wine (whose name appears on the wine barrel label) is allowed to sample the wine while it remains on our premises.
Rest assured that customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, so we stand behind our products 100%. You’ll be able to sample your finished wines when you arrive to bottle them, and if you’re not completely satisfied with the wines you make with us, we will replace or refund your purchase – no questions asked.
What options do I have for customizing my wines?
Batch prices include your choice of foil shrink-wraps for bottles (pictured in silver, in the image below). We can usually offer colours to match your wedding décor or wine labels.
For wedding orders of 2+ batches of wine, we waive the setup/design fee ($10) for personalized labels. You can find examples of the kinds of labels we can personalize in-store here.
We also offer free basic design services for wedding wine customers who would like to print their own labels. Below, you’ll find examples of custom labels designed for our customers who decided to go this route for their special event wines. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more or discuss your design vision.
To print your own custom-designed labels you can purchase blank peel-and-stick labels from us (or from your preferred vendor), or ask us to prepare them for online printing with a company like Moo or VistaPrint. (Hint: Moo’s business card-sized stickers are great for 375mL bottles, and priced very affordably)
Have a question not covered by our FAQ? Send us an email, and we’ll do our best to provide further information.