Marriage: how can wine play on the appetite of guests?

The festivities of a wedding extend over a long time! The party is dotted with a multitude of dishes and is therefore a real gastronomic endurance race!

We can count on our greed to get through this marathon effort. But there is another little-known and equally formidable ally: the choice of wine!

A good food-wine pairing enhances the dish and the wine, and greatly facilitates the appetite of the guests. However, this succession of pairings must itself be part of a coherent chronology of the meal.

Indeed, the food and wine pairings of the previous dishes must respect the food and wine pairings of the dishes to come!

Let's not underestimate the importance of the order of these wines on the general impression that the guests will have at the festivities.

And when we talk about the suite of wines at a wedding: it is as much about color as it is about sugar!

  • Why talk about sugar?
  • How is this expressed in the wine?
  • How do we take it into account during our celebration?
  • In what order should the wines be served?

Do not panic… we will develop all these aspects in the lines below.

The effect of sugar decreases the appetite of guests

Before going further, it is important to know the following biological process: the concentration of sugar in our meals generates a process of satiety (appetite suppressant). It is then necessary to avoid adding sugar to the first dishes at the risk of cutting the appetite of the guests. It would indeed be a pity if the guests had no appetite for dessert!

Marriage celebration is also a question of endurance! And good news: what is applicable to dishes is also applicable to wines!

We will notice in passing the brilliant intuition of French gastronomy, which usually offers dishes in the following chronology: starter-main course-dessert. This tradition respects above all the order of the dishes from the least sweet to the sweetest. Amazing!


How to define the sweet taste of a wine?

Wine is not a food like any other, because its sweet flavor is expressed in two ways: by the taste on the one hand and the alcohol concentration on the other hand.

First of all let's start with the most intuitive aspect: the taste

There are families of wines with a very pronounced sweet taste, these are called “sweet wines” or “sweet wines”. These types of wine exist in most wine regions of France and are therefore to be recommended rather at the end of a meal to accompany a dessert or possibly certain blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort.

Conversely, wines that are not very sweet in taste are called "dry" and are therefore preferred for starters or cocktails if it takes place.

Particularity concerning sparkling wines: these are classified according to different appellations (brut, sec...). These correspond to the level of sugar that was added at the end of vinification. We have listed the different possible names for you, classifying them from the least sweet to the sweetest:

  • extra-brut
  • raw
  • dry
  • off-dry
  • soft

An “extra-brut or brut” sparkling wine is often preferred for the cocktail, so as not to sweeten the palates of the guests too much at the start of the party. While a "sweet" sparkling wine will be preferred for dessert.

Tip: If you plan to choose only one sparkling wine that will serve both for your cocktail and the dessert, then it is advisable to consider the choice of a "dry" or "demi-sec" in-between.

The alcohol concentration of wines

During vinification, most of the sugar in the grapes is transformed into alcohol. However, the alcohol in wine plays a role in the sensation of sweetness. It has been noticed that present in small doses in a glass of water, alcohol provides a sweetish taste in the mouth if less than 4%, and burning from 15% and more.

It can be considered that alcohol gives a sensation of sugar. Which therefore has the same effects on the appetite as sugar. It is best to increase the intensity during the meal.

Another important effect of alcohol is that it accentuates the sensation of sweetness in the dishes it accompanies! Element to take into account when we want to accentuate or inhibit the sweetness of a dish and therefore the appetite of the guests.

It will be noted that wines with a high alcohol content are sometimes offered at the very end of a meal and are commonly called "digestives".

The wines with the lowest alcohol content have an alcohol content of 7.5% but these are very rare and most wines have an alcoholic concentration ranging from 11% to 14%. Alcohol is indeed important for the good preservation of wine.

It is advisable for a wedding to adjust the following alcohol concentration according to the types of dishes:

  • It is recommended to favor for a cocktail a degree lower or equivalent to 12°
  • It is recommended to favor for an entry a degree lower than 13°
  • It is recommended to favor for a main dish a degree lower than 14°
  • It is recommended to favor for a cheese a degree lower than 14°
  • Finally, it is recommended to favor for a dessert a degree lower than 18°

NB: a wine cannot exceed 18° in which case it falls into the class of “strong alcohols”.

The word hunger

The festivities of a wedding extend over a long time where it is important to spare the appetite of the guests. This appetite is linked in large part by the sensation of the sweet taste that the dishes provide throughout the party. Wine is an ally that can accentuate or inhibit this sensation of sugar. In order to manage the taste buds, it is recommended to reduce the sensation of sweetness at the start of the festivity, whether by taste or by the alcohol level. This is so as not to spoil the appetite of the guests by saturating their palates. The general idea is therefore to choose wines that gradually increase the power of sweetness: whether through flavors and/or alcohol concentration.

Of course, all party drinks are to be enjoyed in moderation! 😉


  • Article très intéressant. C’est parfois difficile de s’y retrouver vu la richesse du terroir français. Merci pour cette expertise !

  • Article très intéressant qui nous permettra de faire de meilleurs choix futurs dans le domaine des vins. Merci

  • Article très intéressant et enrichissant! Merci pour ces bons conseils !

  • Très intéressant ! Merci pour ces bons conseils.

  • C’est un article très intéressant et instructif. Encore un grand merci pour ton expertise et ton savoir faire.


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