Throw a wine country wedding anywhere

March 18, 2009 2:25:33 PM PDT
Save money with creative décor ideas and choose the right wine for your budget.

How to incorporate a wine them into your wedding:

  • Use corks as placecard holders.

  • Give half-bottles or full bottles as wedding party/family gifts at the rehearsal dinner (you can personalize these with a metallic paint pen).

  • Have guests sign large format bottles (1.5L or 3L) instead of a guest book; open these bottles later for your 5-, 10- or 15-year anniversary.

  • Find ways to use vines in your décor; instead of typical floral centerpieces, use the cuttings from grapevines in hurricanes or other interesting vases.

  • If you're getting married in wine country, put wine tasting maps in the welcome bags for guests and suggest your favorite wineries.

  • Organize a wine tasting for the wedding party.

  • Instead of a bridal shower, hold a wine shower where the guests bring the bride their favorite bottle of wine and help her stock her cellar.

  • Name the tables after grape varieties, favorite wineries, wine regions, wine descriptors (lively, tannic, supple, round, etc.) or wine terms (crush, cellar, 55 degrees, etc.).
Tip on ways to save money:
  • Choose venue with no corkage and bring your own wines.

  • Do a glass-in-hand toast instead of a Champagne toast (no renting the glassware, no buying additional wines).

  • Wines on dinner table instead of having servers continue to pour every time a glass starts to get empty.

  • Tell caterers not to take glasses away until they are absolutely empty.

  • Instead of renting glasses, consider ordering special etched glasses that can also double as favors. Have guests write their names on the glasses with a paint pen (or create fun wine charms) and have them use the same glass for the evening.

  • Glass can say date and couple's names or have a fun slogan "Eat, drink and be married" or even have a logo for the event (something that matches the invitations or the "theme" of the wedding)
Tips for choosing wines:
  • Think about food; Pinot Noir, for example, is a very versatile food wine.
  • Try to pick wines that are crowd-pleasers; varieties people will recognize and can pronounce, such as Chardonnay, the No. 1 varietal in the country.

Cambria Winery & Vineyards
5475 Chardonnay Lane in Santa Maria
Tasting room hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cambria wines are also poured at The Bench
2367 Alamo Pintado Ave in Los Olivos

For information on Stems Floral Design in Santa Rosa:

About Barbara Banke, Proprietor of Cambria Winery & Vineyards:
Long before the Santa Maria Valley benchland was recognized as a great winegrowing region, the native Chumash Indians knew it as "tepuztli," meaning copper coin. Later, Spanish settlers translated the word as Tepusquet. As part of an 1837 Mexican land grant, "Rancho Tepusquet" was home to cattle and row crops throughout the 1800s. Proprietor Barbara Banke acquired a large portion of the original Tepusquet Vineyard (planted between 1970 and 1971) in 1986 to serve as the site for Cambria Winery & Vineyards. She was drawn by the understated beauty of the region and the site's potential to produce some of the finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah in California.Barbara graduated from UCLA in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1978 she earned a J.D. at Hastings Law School. Following her graduation, Barbara established her own practice specializing in land use and constitutional law. During her career as an attorney, Barbara argued cases before the United States Supreme Court and several Courts of Appeal.Barbara is married to Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson. The two make their home in Sonoma County with their daughters, Katherine and Julia, and son, Christopher. Barbara continues to manage all facets of the Cambria Estate including farming, winemaking, sales and marketing. Over the last two decades the vineyard has been expanded, replanted and updated with new clones and rootstocks to take advantage of the unique climatic and geological conditions of the Santa Maria Bench. Cambria now includes two vineyards - Katherine's Vineyard and Julia's Vineyard - named for Barbara's daughters.