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How to Serve Champagne and Wine

Both young and old enjoy entertaining friends or family members, whether this is at a casual barbecue during the height of summer, or a DVD night snuggled close by the fire in the midst of winter. Some people opt for inexpensive get-togethers, with party snacks including crisps and cheese straws with deafening music, and ask their guests to “bring a bottle” of wine or champagne. Other people prefer a more formal setting with hors d’oeuvres distributed by waiters with wine and champagne flowing freely.

Family gatherings are quite often informal BBQs in back gardens with plenty of hamburgers, sausages, salads, plenty of beer and a few bottles of red wine and white wine to help the food go down. Garden parties with the family can be a lot of fun, but must be well organised and planned to be successful.

More mature people who like to entertain friends or family generally prefer sit down dinners or sophisticated soirées with fitting alcoholic beverages, namely champagne or Cristal, as well as canapes, and/or oysters.

If you decide to serve champagne or wine at your party, no matter whether it is at a landmark birthday party, a wedding, an engagement party or just a casual get-together; follow the simple, but key pointers below, to ensure you give the best drinking experience to your guests:

Firstly, chill white and rosé wines well in advance of your birthday party, casual get-together or wedding reception, leaving red wine at room temperature and have plenty of wine and champagne available for your guests to sip throughout their time with you. Orange juice and fruit punch might just not cut it for those who aren't driving!

1. What temperature should I serve champagne at?
Serve French champagne between 8 – 10 degrees centigrade, so a cold fridge or some ice in a bucket will do the trick nicely. Similarly, you should serve vintage champagne a little bit cooler at 10 to 12 degrees centigrade.

2. How do I open champagne?
Opening a bottle of champagne can be a daunting task. Just remove the champagne cork by holding the cork in one hand and turning the bottle with the other, while holding it at a 45 degree angle. If you hold the top of the cork with the palm of your hand, you’ll ensure the cork doesn’t fly across your neighbours fence hitting him or her in the eye! A pop is sufficient proof that the sparkling wine from France is in perfect condition.

3. What should I serve my personalised champagne in?
Well, the answer to this one is simple! Champagne glasses or engraved flutes with a tall and slim cup are the most appropriate glassware to serve your perfect champagne in. Make sure that you have enough glasses for service though, you don’t want to give half of your guests plastic white glasses for the brand champagne you have gone to some much trouble buying and cooling!

A few other tips include:

a) playing background music only to add a little bit of movement to the event, as well as highlight the quality of the food and wine.

b) For champagne receptions, choose foods to complement the delicacy and refinement of this sparkling wine. You could serve appetisers in one room; the main course in another, and dessert somewhere else to add a bit more sparkle and glamour.

c) Ensure an adequate supply of beverages including soft drinks and fruit juices for abstainers and drivers in the crowd are available too.

Date posted: 17/05/2010

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