Mary Watson-DeLauder, chief sommelier for Benchmark Hospitality International (benchmarkhospitality.com), offers these tips for saving money on wine.
• Select an obscure varietal, such as Torrontes, Bonarda, Carmenere, Albarino or Chenin Blanc. Not only will they expand attendees' wine knowledge, they also are generally less expensive than the more well-known grapes.
• In the past, snobs might have grumbled if served a sparkling wine that wasn't champagne. Those days are over. Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, or French Cremant are inexpensive crowd-pleasers.
• Set up a sangria bar at events. Even bargain wines taste good in sangria (mixed with fruit juices and fresh fruit slices).