Wedding Wine Closeouts

I have a very caring and compassionate wife. Thanks to that, she attends every single wedding she’s invited to, even if she doesn’t want to.

For that reason, we spend a significant amount of time each year attending weddings for family, friends, and other people whom I don’t know but am instructed to attend nonetheless.

Now, weddings can be exciting, dull, full of drama or sweet as pie. Anyone who’s been to more than one will tell you that there’s never really any way to say which direction things might head at a ceremony, and even fewer ways to tell what might happen at the reception afterwards.

One thing I have learned to count on, though, is an abundance of wine.

Not only is that a good thing because there’s usually plenty to drink (no one wants their wedding’s reception bar to go dry), but that also means that there is plenty of wine left over that not everyone is wed to the idea of holding on to.

For most people, the wine they stock for the reception usually ranges from $15  bottles of champagne to $35 bottles of Cabernet. Most smart couples end up overestimating how much booze they’ll need, just to make sure Aunt Eloise doesn’t get cranky. But most smart people are also left over with a number of bottles of wine that they either a) are not interested in storing or b) would much rather make some of their money back on. A smart wine investor (lush, wino) knows that this type of situation presents an interesting dilemma for the newlyweds, and a golden opportunity to score some extra vino.

If you can manage to stick around till then end of the reception (but before the bride and groom leave, if they were the primary financiers), casually mention that they did a great job selecting the wine for the reception. Then, while swirling a glass as though in a sort of distant contemplation, mention that it would be a shame to see the remaining stock go to waste.

If you were chummy enough with the bartender to find out ballpark what’s left as far as the bottle count goes, you could pretty easily figure up a rough value on how much wine is going to be left over. Mention that they might have as much as XX number of bottles left over after the reception, and how you wondered if they’d be interested in recouping some of the investment on the alcohol purchase.

Now, I’ll let you take the rest from there, but you should be able to negotiate a pretty good rate for the wine without more than a minute or two of conversation. No one knows how expensive the wedding was more than the family putting it on, and an offer of even 50-60% of the total value of the wine is likely to be acceptable to anyone who’s a lesser wino than you.

Now, this doesn’t always work, so don’t turn into a wedding crasher just for the sake of restocking the wine chiller, but it is definitely worth bringing up if you are at a wedding and know the bride and groom. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to add an extra 20 or so bottles of chardonnay, cabernet or champagne to your collection for as little as 7 or 8 bucks a bottle.

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