Ho ho…uh oh! Just under 2 weeks until Christmas and there are still wine lovers on your list that you have to get gifts for. Don’t sell these folks short by just grabbing something impulsively. It is not what you spend that matters either. In fact, a true wine lover will appreciate the thought you put into picking out a really great wine gift.
OK, so check out my little list of great wine gift ideas:
IDEA #1 – A “stretch” bottle. These are bottles of wine that are a bit of a financial “stretch” for your favorite wine lover. Find out what types of wines they are into, what their favorite varietal is, etc. Now, armed with that knowledge, go shopping. I recommend going to a local wine retailer and not a “big box” wine shop. You need personal attention here and should not be interested in saving $3 on a bottle of wine you buy from some pimple faced 20-year-old who used to work at Blockbuster. Spend a few minutes talking with the retailer and sharing what you know about your recipient. He or she should be able to quickly recommend some great “stretch” bottles.
If you are looking for something really hard to find then check out places like www.benchmarkwine.com, www.winebid.com, or some of the other specialty wine sites. Benchmark has an impressive selection of wines available from all over the world and winebid offers the chance to bid on wine at auction. Of course, you will have to figure shipping times and shipping regulations into the mix to ensure you have the gifts in time or that you can get the wine shipped to you at all. The upside here is convenience.
IDEA #2 – Small Wine Fridge – this is a great gift for the wine lover who has some great bottles they are saving, but has yet to learn to, or invest in proper storage. You do not have to break the bank here either, but you could. Choices range from very small (5-10 bottles) to quite large (hundreds of bottles). You can get furniture quality wine refrigerators or something more spartan. The person you give this to has probably always wanted one, but could not justify the purchase. Clues to look for are some great, age worthy wines being stored on a wine rack, in a closet, or in the basement.
IDEA #3 – Corkscrew – no, not the one you stole from the Holiday Inn on your last business trip! In this case I would suggest shopping for something special. Again, look at the person you are buying for. Are they modern, traditional, or a simple person? Corkscrews are available in many different styles, but they all do the same thing. My personal opinion is every wine lover needs a corkscrew for when they are in a hurry (think screwpull style) and a corkscrew for when they have time to savor the entire wine experience (think waiter style corkscrews).
You can also go a bit deeper and get something not so traditional. The types of corkscrews out there just might surprise you. Go ahead and Google the term. You can spend hours learning about all the different types, but don’t unless you are really that interested. Again, I recommend consulting that trusted local wine retailer. Another great resource is www.wineenthusiast.com.
IDEA #4 – Wine glasses – not your grandma’s mismatched tumblers or your mother’s deep cut crystal 9 pound goblets. Go with glasses designed to enhance the wine experience. Yes, specialized wine glasses exist in our highly customized, double, skinny latte with 2 pumps vanilla and 1 Splenda world.
There are glasses shaped for Chardonnay, Cabernet, dessert wines, etc. The important thing here is to know your wine lover. Also, do not feel like you need to fill their whole collection in one shot. Instead, go for 6-8 really nice “stems” as they are referred to. I would suggest a more all-purpose shape, unless you know your wine lover mostly drinks say, burgundy or Pinot noir. In that case, go for a glass that will enhance the delicate profile of that wonderful varietal. I would say Wine Enthusiast is again my first stop on this mission, but sometimes you can find a great deal on Amazon as well. Just be sure to do your research on a site like Wine Enthusiast first because Amazon offers little in the way of valuable details here.
What are you waiting for? Go out, stimulate the economy and put a smile on the many wine lovers just waiting for something better than a 1.5 Liter bottle of Little (insert cute animal name here). In this case, more is almost never better!