Wine Gift Ideas

Monday, December 8, 2008

It can be difficult buying gifts for someone who knows more about their hobby than you ever will (or will ever care to). You feel as if you can do no right- no matter what you buy will be "wrong" for some reason. Wine in particular is a snobbier than average hobby, full of products and wines that might be desirable for some and out of fashion for others. I share this gift guide in hopes of giving you some ideas of products that at least one wine lover (me) likes:

Less than $10: Screwpull Foil Cutter

Simple and effective- works really well. My sister Kristy bought this for me for Christmas a few years ago and I still use it all the time.

$10: Oxo Waiter's Corkscrew

I love this corkscrew. It's amazing how confusing and ineffective expensive corkscrews can be. Skip all of the fancy winged, electronic, hydraulic nonsense. Get this one and open wine like the pros. Also opens beer bottles and has a foil cutter (though the Screwpull Foil Cutter is much more effective). Also available at Crate & Barrel.

$20-$30: Soirée Wine Aerator

As reviewed here and crowned winner of our head-to-head aerator blind tasting here. See also an interview with Andrew Lazorchak from Soirée here. Great guy, great product: Great gift. Buy direct from Soirée here.

$40: Vinturi Wine Aerator

As reviewed here. See also an interview with Vinturi inventor Rio Sabadicci here. This aerator is one of the most popular wine accessories on and gets great reviews. I think both the Soirée and the Vinturi are great products any wine lover would like to receive as a gift.

$50: Riedel Wine Series Cabernet/Merlot Glasses (4-Pack)

$50+: Buy a Bottle

If you don't know much about wine, and you'd like to buy a bottle for some who does I'd recommend three things:
  1. Do a little research. Print out Wine Spectator's list of their Top 100 Wines of 2008 and take it to a nearby wine shop. They'll be happy to help you find a nice bottle from the list, and the person receiving the gift will appreciate that you took a little time to delve into their world to research wine.
  2. Try to pick a bottle that has a special meaning in some way. For example, "Remember that time we went to California? This wine reminded me of that trip." Or, "This bottle is Italian- I thought it would be nice to enjoy together on pizza night." Or, "This bottle is French- If we can't go to Paris this year maybe we can drink this until we think we're there."
  3. Labels matter. Unlike when doing a blind tasting where only the juice matters, when buying a gift the whole package matters. Buy a wine with an attractive label from a good producer. Also, more expensive wines tend to come in heavy bottles, so all else equal go for the heavier bottle.
My pick? "Crack open a bottle of Cakebread"- always appreciated:

If Cakebread isn't available in your area (it's tough to find on the East Coast) Caymus is another nice one. Over the past 10 years, Caymus has been (arguably) the most consistent producer of quality Napa Cab.

The product links above are connected to my Amazon Associates account. If you found this list helpful and would like to buy one of the products listed from Amazon, feel free to use them. If not, no worries.

Question of the Day: Do you remember receiving a wine gift you really liked? If so, what was it?


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