Online calculator Wedding Wines aims to take the guesswork out of wine supplies for weddings

Wedding Wines founders Roy Zane, left, and Steven Male.

Wedding Wines founders Roy Zane, left, and Steven Male.

A new website will help wedding planners strike the right balance between drowning guests in wine, or leaving them high and dry.

The free online calculator, called Wedding Wines, has been developed by a pair of Auckland entrepeneurs looking to bridge the gap between wine snobs and the uninitiated by taking the stress out of wine buying.

It asks users a number of questions, such as the number of guests, their drinking habits and what food the wine is being paired with, to come up with tailored options that can be bought through the website.

Wedding Wines co-founder Steven Male said horror stories abounded, of people over-supplying and ending up with full cellars for a year or undertaking cardinal sins like pairing oysters and red wine.

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"With wine you get people who are either know-it-alls or those who know nothing because they have always been afraid of the know-alls," he said.

"The result is that most events have a poor choice of wine."

Fellow co-founder Roy Zane said the calculator removed the guesswork, helping people to get it right when planning a wedding or other large event.

There were other drinks calculators online, but Zane said a lot of research had gone into making Wedding Wines work, including talking to members of the wine industry and wedding planners about drinking habits.

While the service was free, including a follow-up phone consultation to better determine the quantity and type of wines, the business made commission on wine sales it made through its suppliers.

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Male said it had an arrangement with one large supplier, representing a number of wine companies, and was in talks with around 20 other companies to get them on board.

This would allow them to offer a large selection of different wines, which Male thought would expand further as other companies got involved.

Consumers would also get better prices with the bulk discounts offered through Wedding Wines, as well as refunds on untouched cases, he said.

Leanne Wilson, the owner of Marlborough catering company Posh Nosh, said people in the region were unlikely to use the calculator because of their proximity to the wine industry.

However, she thought there could be a market for it in larger centres like Christchurch or Auckland where people were not as knowledgeable about wine.

As a general rule of thumb, most guests would get through half a bottle of bubbly and a bottle of wine during a ceremony, but more was often needed for post-wedding functions, she said.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said in the "bad old days" there were horror stories about wines such as the infamous Cold Duck being served at weddings.

But the maturing wine industry and increased consumer sophistication, meant people were less likely to make the same mistakes, he said.

Pickens said the calculator seemed like a niche offering, but for Marlborough wine companies that got involved it would provide another marketing platform, which he said was a good thing.

 - The Marlborough Express


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