Wedding survey: 5 in 6 couples say “I don't” to hotel wine

The results of our wedding survey are in and it makes for nice reading for online wine retailers if not for hotels.
At the start of July we asked couples recently or about to be married to tell us about their customs and preferences for choosing their wedding wine, and they couldn’t wait to tell us (might’ve been the free case of wine we were offering one lucky respondent!).

The overwhelming message was that hotels are losing out to online and traditional wine retailers when it comes to wedding wine. Only one in six couples had or intended to buy their wine from the wedding hotel, with almost a third of them doing it because they had no choice.
In choosing not to go with the hotel wine, almost one in four couples purchased from an online wine retailer, more than those who purchased from a traditional off-licence or independent retailer and almost three times more than those buying from a supermarket. (Despite accounting for over a half of all wine consumed in Ireland today, supermarkets accounted for only 7% of all wedding wine purchased.)
On closer inspection it would appear that hotels aren’t missing out on too much, however, with corkage still a significant revenue generator on the day. More than half of our couples reported paying €8 or more per bottle on corkage, with one in fourteen reporting charges of €15 or more.
Couples are clearly being a lot more savvy, with 42% reporting cutting back on some aspect of their wedding in light of the current economic climate. This is hardly surprising but it shows once again the responsibility, and opportunity, for product and service providers to respond to changing conditions and consumer preferences.
I’ve been critical in the past of the practice of some hotels of sourcing the cheapest possible plonk as house wines then slapping on obscene mark-ups, and it seems this could be a widely held view – however unfair on those that do actually make an effort in providing quality and value when it comes to wine. Maybe hotels are quite happy just taking corkage fees – after all, it does away with the bother of sourcing wines at all – but there’s pressure there too with many couples reporting significant success in bartering down corkage charges.
I think more than anything our survey has shown that couples are prepared to shop around for their wedding wine, and that value can be found by doing so.
Interestingly though quality appears to be even higher on the wedding check-list – whereas 7 in 10 couples reported price as “very important”, 9 in 10 said the same of “quality and taste” of the wine. That’s fabulous news, as consumers have the only say that matters when it comes to the wine that appears on our shelves or wine-lists. Keep up the good work.
The winner of our wedding survey draw for a free case of wine is Grace Cunningham. Congratulations Grace but a huge thanks to everyone who took valuable time to complete the survey, we hope you found the results interesting.


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