Ratio of bottles to attendance

Have a party coming up for about 60-70 people. Not all of them are wine drinkers so I’m thinking of buying just cab and a white wine (maybe chard or SB).

Question is how many bottles of cab to buy? If all attendees were gluttons then a bottle per person would suffice but is there a ratio for figuring this out? Any help would be welcome. :slight_smile:

How long is the event? You can assume a bottle per person at a dinner party, but I think it will be considerably less if it’s not sit-down.

Dinner and dancing. Celebrating a wedding anniversary, not mine. There will be an open bar as well so not everyone will partake of vino all night. But it’s an evening affair 7pm to 11 pm.

I’m not sure there is any better person to estimate it than you – you know better than any of us who the guests are, how much they drink, what the event will be like, whether they tend to drink wine v. beer v. spirits, etc.

I’d think 1 bottle per person who is an active drinker would be the very high limit of what you’d need, particularly with beer and spirits available.

Can you find someone who would sell you the wine and let you return some extras? Or can you buy wines that you or the couple would actually want to own should there be leftovers?

It being a wedding anniversary event, I’d think you’d need a sparkling wine for toasts too.

If you did an average of 2 glasses per person that would be 2 cases of red (24 bottles). As you said, some may have zero and some four but a 2 glass per person estimate on avg is usually safe.

I’ve always been told 1 bottle for every 2 people. The caveats are noted above: unless it is a long event, there is no other drink available than wine, and unless you know you’ve got a lot of wine drinkers.

That is what a wine cellar or fridge is for. Once you need more, go and pull a few more bottles.

Assuming open bar means free to attendees, what happens if you run out of wine? Nothing. How can someone be pissed if it’s free booze?

Whatever you estimate, I would add a case to cover any underage and if you run out, so be it. It’s a celebration not a booze drunkin’ fest.

Personally, I would do 36 bottles for 70 people. Assuming it’s an indoor venue would get 2 cases of red, one of white - rest of the details would be too personal to guess. Also assumes you will have beer, sodas and other drinks.

That’s the standard wedding reception advice.

You assume so much.

Your right, I assumed at the point the free wine runs out, the guests would just turn to the free hard alc and free beer.

“Hey, remember that party we went to…the one where Michael ran out of {wine, liquor, beer}?”

Nobody wants to be the guy that threw that party. If I had to spend an extra few bucks not to be that guy, I’d do it in a minute. Because, the good news is that none of it spoils. So my advice, buy stuff you like. Buy more than you think you’ll need. Buy it knowing that you will likely have another opportunity to entertain where {wine, liquor, booze} will be desirable, such that any surplus will not go to waste.

Given that, I would go 3/4 bottle per person, or about 4 cases as a minimum. If it was stuff I liked, and I had a case left over, there would be little doubt that it would go to good use somewhere in the very near future.

If it were me, throwing an event as you describe, the bigger unknown would be “what should my mix on wines be, red vs. white”. I don’t have a clue. Perhaps others might weigh in on this question.

And as for white, though you didn’t ask, I would definitely go Chard over Sauv Blanc if you’re picking one. Much broader appeal IMHO. Something middle of the road, a bit of oak/butter, but not too much. Something that will be suitable for summer quaffing on the deck if you have stuff left over;)

Best of luck with your party!


MacRostie Chardonnay is dynamite for the price point, and one I would recommend.

It is inventory - stock up. It will also incentivize you to get something decent. [cheers.gif]

In our company events we use 2 drinks per person per hour as a guideline. The split between wine/spirits/beer comes down to understanding the attendees. Cheers and good luck in your event.

Are there really that many self-centered pricks in this world that would say, “good god, Michael is such a douche-bag for running out of wine with a few minutes to go in the party. I’m never going to let him live this down!”


I’ll I said is not to worry if you run out as you have backup with hard alc and beer. I’m sure he will do his best to estimate based on the fine information provided and add some for cushion. In the end, that’s the best he can do. If he is that concerned with running out and being labeled that “guy”, then I recommend skipping the wine and just going with hard alc and beer.

When I am faced with this question, my recommendation is 1 to 1 1/2 glasses per hour. The split between red and white is your call because you know the attendees better but usually around 60/40 white. I would estimate 60% wine drinkers so about 25 bottles of white and 17 bottles of red on the low end. I would do three cases of white and 2 cases of red to be safe. Just my $.02.

Is the end fixed or open ? How many attendees are driving ? Is the wine served ? How many glasses per guest on the table?
When it’s open end, the wine is served and you have multiple glasses on the table I would go for one bottle per head and some as a safety margin. Serving and multiple glasses lead to lots of left overs in the glasses which are taken away and cleaned. Depending on the menue I would split 55 - 65 % white and 45 - 35 % red. Higher percentage of red when open end. For drivers I would deduct a half bottle per person, more red than white.
And as already said I would only buy wines I’m happy to drink myself afterwards.

I would double that, and depending on what I know of the people it might be same qty of white/red.