My fiancee and I (clearly not in the very religious segment of the country) went to Solano Cellars this morning with some friends to taste wines for our wedding. Solano was recently purchased by the owners of Vintage Berkeley, where I'll very often go for wine these days. Peter, one of the owners, chose several reds and whites for us and we had a fine time talking about the wines and comparing notes.
The crowd split fifty-fifty on the whites, but the bride used her trump card to tip us towards the M. Hofer Gruner Veltliner 2004 ($11.50/bottle), an Austrian wine in a liter bottle with -- not a screwtop, no, but a straight up beer bottlecap on top. (Peter noted that the bartender would be psyched not to have to uncork so much wine at once.)
On the reds, five out of the six of us went straight for the Vistalba Corte C Malbec/Merlot 2004 ($12.50/bottle), an Argentine wine that they got in this past week. While the Hofer is at both stores, only Vintage Berkeley has the Vistalba, and as of this afternoon when we stopped by, there were only about four bottles remaining (though obviously they're ordering more, for us at least).
The whole experience was great fun and not at all like some of the other, more painful wedding planning tasks we've had. Peter chose six excellent wines well within our budget and was great at talking with us about them. I'd recommend talking with them for anyone planning a wedding or another event, or just for fun.