Holiday gift ideas for wine lovers
If you are like me, you have not bought a single Christmas present, and you’re going to be pressed for time. Fortunately, many of the people on my Christmas list are wine drinkers, and I have some gift ideas. Here are a few holiday gifts that I am considering as presents. If you are buying holiday gifts for a wine lover, this list is a great place to start looking.
Sometimes buying wine for a wine geek can be difficult or intimidating. If this is the case, consider a wine accessory as a gift. There is a lot of paraphernalia that wine lovers use, and some of the items make excellent presents.
Wine Enthusiast has a good list of
12 essential wine accessories that helps with gift ideas.
Holiday gift idea 1: Wine glasses
Every wine drinker needs wine glasses, and they are definitely a consumable item because they often break. So if your wine lover didn’t need wine glasses last year, they might need them now. There are lots of wine glasses on the market, but for my money, I think that there are only three choices that you need to consider.
First, if your 401K hasn’t lost any value or you’ve been selling short for the past month, you might consider the Riedel Sommelier series [find at IWA or Wine Enthusiast]. These are magnificent glasses that any wine drinker would love to own, but at about $95 per stem they may be too much for this year.
Second, the Riedel Vinium series [find at IWA or Wine Enthusiast] is the standard for most serious wine drinkers. Vinium glasses are very elegant and offer some of the sophistication of the Sommelier series — at about $18 a stem they are a good buy. If you’re into the whole stemless thing, there is also the Riedel O series [find at IWA or Wine Enthusiast].
Finally, the Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte series [find at IWA] are my favorite everyday wine glasses. Made from Tritan® Lead-Free Crystal, these glasses are dishwasher friendly and break resistant. And believe me – nice, break resistant glasses that sell for about $10 a stem are a welcomed gift.
Holiday gift idea 2: Wine bottle openers and corkscrews
Wine bottle openers can be divided into two categories – those that work and those that sort of work. The style of wine opener that work very well is called a waiter’s knife [find at IWA or Wine Enthusiast] . Specifically, you are looking for “hinged” waiter’s knife. Hinged waiter’s knives are sold by lots of manufacturers, and they cost anywhere from $8 to $25 (to up to $100 for collectible ones).
All other wine openers fall into the sort of work category, and should be considered as somewhat of a novelty gift or collectable wine opener. However, many people really like the Rabbit Corkscrew by Metrokane [find at IWA or Wine Enthusiast], which works well so long as all of the parts are accounted for and working.
Holiday gift idea 3: Wine totes to carry wine
The wedding present that my wife and I have used the most is a tote bag to carry wine [find at IWA]. Wine drinkers love to share wine, and sometimes that means they have to take it with them. Wine totes come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, but there are a few features that you want to be sure are included.
First and foremost, a wine tote must protect the wine it transports. Be sure the tote you select has plenty of padding to protect the wine. If you are considering a “hard shell” tote, be sure the carrier can accommodate a bottle of champagne, an artistic syrah bottle, or a fat-bottomed Pinot Noir bottle. Some of the hard sided totes are a little small. Also be sure the tote has a pocket for a wine opener. Totes range in price from about $20 for a simple nylon version to more than $100 for a deluxe model.
Holiday gift idea 4: Wine education books and literature
If the wine lover on your list is also a bibliophile, there are lots of options to consider. If it is a reference that you are interested in, you might consider The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition by Jancis Robinson ($41) [find at Amazon]. You will not finish this book on the on the plane ride home, but it is a great book.
If you are looking for a less encyclopedic but historical read consider, Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Donald and Petie Kladstrup ($10, paperback) [find at Amazon]. This is a fascinating book that presents wine in a light that few wine drinkers have ever considered – wine as an implement of war.
If you are looking for something a little more contemporary or controversial pick up a copy of Alice Feiring’s book, The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization ($16) [find at Amazon]. This book is about lots of things including Alice’s love life, love of wine, and her ongoing feud with Robert Parker.
Holiday gift idea 5: Wine
Finally, if you do want to buy wine, every wine drinker likes to get good wine as a present. Wine.com frequently offers one-cent shipping deals. And there is always free shipping at My Wines Direct when you buy in packages of six bottles. (Wines can also be bought online at Morrell and Wine Messenger).
This year, giving expensive wine is somewhat passé, so you will need a list of gift wines that won’t break the bank but will still make your favorite wine snob smile.
For these people on your Christmas list, you might consider the 2007 Mud House Swan Pinot Noir, which runs about $20. This New Zealand wine is a great value Pinot with lots of lots of plum and dried herbs. Another Kiwi wine to consider is Clos Henri 2005 Pinot Noir, which is $25. Showing cherry, plum, and baking spice in the nose, this very drinkable wine has a good varietal character and will please any wine lover.
For a wine closer to home, consider Joseph Swan 2006 Pinot Gris from Trenton Station. This is an amazing wine with an exotic nose of honeysuckle, citrus, and apricot. Swan’s Pinot Gris was one of my favorite wines poured at the Wine Bloggers Conference, and for about $22, it is a great buy.
Finally, if you need a big wine from California, consider the Ridge 2005 Geyserville. Ridge is one of the premier wineries in California, and they specialize in Zinfandel blends. The ’05 Geyserville is rich and spicy without being too extracted or overly ripe, and at $30-35, it is a lot less than most big reds from the west coast.
Have a happy and safe holiday season
Whatever you celebrate… whatever you choose to do this Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa for yourself or the wine lovers in your life, WineEnabler.com wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.
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