By Andy Hyman
Your search should begin by considering the gift recipient’s tastes. Most wine drinkers have specific preferences, whether they like a dry white wine or a fun and fruity sparkling Rose’ or a bold Cabernet Sauvignon. Consider what you’ve seen the person drink in the past, and then go for something similar. If you’re not sure, consider his or her general tastes. Someone with a sweet tooth might prefer a sweeter wine, while those that avoid sugar may prefer something drier with high tannins. If you’re still not sure, ask someone at the store to recommend a reasonably priced popular wine.
If you’re not wine-savvy and are shopping at a grocery store, liquor store, or big box store, expect to be initially overwhelmed; you will face hundreds of options. Don’t waste time roaming the aisles. Instead, ask the person in charge of wines for advice. Many good wine salesclerks will work within your price range to help you find a good, drinkable wine, especially if you can specify what your friend or family member likes, e.g., sweet or dry wine; bold or lighter-bodied wine. Or if you are bringing wine to a special dinner and know what will be served, mention the main course. Whites and reds are best paired with certain types of food.
Dress it up!
You weren’t just planning on simply handing off a bottle of wine for a special gift were you? If it’s an occasion, consider dressing up the bottle. Here are some fun approaches:
- Present the wine in an Organza Drawstring Gift Bag
- Use a wine bottle carrier that can be purchased at a winery or upscale liquor store.
- Slip on a decorative tag
- Dress up a simple brown bag
- Get creative in decorating your gift box; think collage.
- Use fun wrapping paper or colored tissue
If you really want to make an impression, go the extra mile to make your gift stand out. Pick up a wine-related book, for example, my Snob Free Wine Tasting Companion, and put both book and bottle in a basket for a bit flair. Then wrap that basket in a clear cellophane basket bag.
For someone that really appreciates wine, add to the book and bottle basket any of these wine-related accessories*:
- A high-quality corkscrew
- A sleek and beautiful carafe
- A “bracelet” thermometer for wine bottles
- Two elegant square wine glasses for red or white wine
Half the fun will be opening your gift!
About Wine Clubs
If you’re looking for a substantial gift for someone, think about buying either a wine club membership or online wine delivery subscription. The former delivers their branded wine to recipients, while the latter requires going online and selecting what wines your recipient would like to receive. Either of these provide the option of staying out of stores, whether to avoid a busy holiday season or to stay in your pajamas and shop from home.
Just about every winery has a wine club membership. Usually, you pay one price (or a quarterly price) for the service to deliver wine for a specified period of time. Most wineries prefer their club commitment to be one year.
- Some wineries send a curated selection, while others base the delivery on the person’s preferences as many wineries are open to customizing their wine club shipments. They usually send an email two weeks before the shipment goes out so a club member can customize the shipment.
- Some also include food with the subscription that pairs with the wine.
- Every winery that has a wine club will have a wine club coordinator who you can contact to ask questions.
Check to make sure wine can be delivered in the state where the person resides, as some states don’t allow alcohol to be shipped to people’s homes.
Shopping for the Wine Lover?
These gift suggestions are for those that appreciate wine and have a wine collection.
The top three “Most Wished for Wine Cooling Cabinets” on Amazon:
- The NutriChef 12-Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler Refrigerator
- The Antarctic Star 1.6 cubic feet
- The KUPPET 19-Bottle Wine Cooler
Andy Hyman, Author: Snob Free Wine Tasting Companion Wine Smart in a Day