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Wine suggestions

annieqst's picture

A group of us are hosting a birthday party for 20 people. My job was to buy wine, beer and champagne. The birthday girl and one other (although I'm sure everyone will have some as a toast) are champagners. A group of the men want beer to start, the rest of us will stick with wine.

I went to a website to calculate and fell off my chair. They recommended 2 cases of beer. WHAT?!? Plus 4 champagne, 7 white and 4 red. This seems like an awful lot. Is this accurate? I've listed the menu below and am curious on what kind of wine you think would work with the meal how much (beer, wine and champagne) should I plan on?

The menu was chosen by one of the hosts working with a caterer and they chose:

Appies: Roasted eggplant w/garlic, rosemary & goat cheese on crostinis; asparagus marinated in an orange vinagrette wrapped in procuitto

Salad: mixed greens, grape toms, kalamata, capers, (more!) goat cheese w/basalmic vinagrette

Dinner: Chicken cacciatora; orzo with tomato, basil, lemon, parm & garlic; broccoli with more of same (basil/garlic)

I'm open to any and all advise. (Dessert? Haven't planned it yet. One of the women hosting wanted tiramisu.)

Glenys's picture

(post #33723, reply #1 of 11)

It seems fine to me but here's a quick calculation.
My Sonoma flutes hold 4 oz, a perfect toast. 20 guests X 4 oz= 80 oz.
If you buy 26 oz bottles you'll need four. So that's correct.

Generally with wine, you'll need 2/3 of a bottle times the number of wine drinkers plus 10% more since you're not serving cocktails.
A case of wine divided as you like would be in order so twelve is correct.

If 2 cases means 24 beer in total, given most men will drink 2 or 3, I'd say that's still right on.

For twenty people, that's the minimum a caterer would provide for a 2-3 hour event.

Gretchen's picture

(post #33723, reply #3 of 11)

I love it when a knowledgeable person like Glenys chimes in.  I think you also have to know your crowd, and their age and "habits".
But for the wine, it is probably right on. We've had to go out to the market when hosting some parties!!  The beer might not be quite that much (in our experience) because the guys might drink some wine.


annieqst's picture

(post #33723, reply #4 of 11)

Yowzer! Well, okay. I guess it does make sense. I know I'm always shocked when the original 10 come over for dinner. (I'm always a little embarrassed about the recycling!  :)  Looks like a bunch of lushes!) The guys will drink wine and only a handful will have beer, so perhaps a case of beer will do. And you're right...the guys will have some of everything! Our group is predominately red wine drinkers, but I'm uncertain of the other ten guests...

Any recommendation of wine with the meal? Looking up on the net, recommendations were chianti, zin, merlot, or pinot. Any thoughts on whites? (It must be obvious by now that I'm a bargin-basement Costco jug-concha y toro drinker!)

ashleyd's picture

(post #33723, reply #2 of 11)

Personally I would see that as a little light on the red, it's only a glass each. Unless you have quite a few abstainers that's pretty much what you'll use, based on advice from books and personal experience. Think of it as a glass of champagne, one glass of red and two of white (ignore the beer in the count, the men will!), that is four glasses over 3 hours. When calculating I always buy enough for a glass (regular 4oz) of wine every half hour.

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

BonnieinHolland's picture

(post #33723, reply #5 of 11)


For types of wine, I would go with white for the appetizers and salad.  Asparagus is hard to pair with wine because of its peculiar flavor and the acid of salad dressings is also a tough match for wine -- a crisp dry white works best in both cases.  A sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc or pinot gris could stand up to both.  And for the dinner, it's crying out for an Italian red, either a Chianti Classico or something from the south of Italy like a Primitvo (Amano primitivo comes to mind as a low-cost, very good wine from the south).  If the wine is from California, then a zinfandel should be great.

cheers, Bonnie

jivetech's picture

(post #33723, reply #6 of 11)


Can't help you on the purchase quantities, it depends on how good or bad a time everyone is having & if they are drinkers or not.

Ya can't make everyone happy. (you watch how may want soda or milk during meal time)
What goes best with a particual meal?? Don't care! everyone is different!! & your not expecting the prince of Wales or Royalty so make it easy on your self - geezz! :-)
Don't try to impress with your wine selection unless you have a majority of pro winers attending (in which case you best take out a small loan). Stick to Calif wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, White Zinfandel & maybe a Australian Sarah. If you want to impress a winer pick up a $25 Pinot Noir. Cooks Champane is a good standard. Bud lite, Coors lite, & Corrona is good enough. If you want to impress a beer drinker get bottles. Plus, to add to the mix get a Pyramid or Heffenwiesen & have slices of lemon for these & the Corronas.

Sound like a great time, wish I could be there!! Remember after your done prepairing this party ENJOY it too!!

Cheers JC

annieqst's picture

(post #33723, reply #7 of 11)

BiH & JT: Thanks for the suggestions. Beer via Costco is pretty easy. Fat Tire or Red Hook is standard fare and readily available. The wine suggestions, however, I do appreciate as (I previously mentioned), I'm sort of like a dog with a steady diet of kibbles...I drink a standard bottle (again Costco supplied) without feeling I'm missing anything.

jivetech's picture

(post #33723, reply #8 of 11)

Yup, Costco is the way to go. I've hear alot of the beers you mentioned but have yet to try them!



Gretchen's picture

(post #33723, reply #9 of 11)

I think we actually do better with wine and especially beer at the supermarkets. Both in price and choice.


wisekaren's picture

(post #33723, reply #10 of 11)

Just curious, what site did you go to for that calculation? If it indeed came pretty close to what the experienced folks here recommend, that would be a useful tool to have. Thanks,

annieqst's picture

(post #33723, reply #11 of 11)

Karen: If I can 're-find' it, I'll post it!

Here you go! 

Edited 1/14/2007 11:02 am by annieqst