From entertaining with family and friends to gifting longtime colleagues and neighbors, there’s no better gift than a bottle of wine – something as elegant and tasteful as it is useful. Follow my tips to take the stress out of finding the perfect bottle for those who matter most this holiday season.
1. Keep it Personal
Select a bottle that will have meaning to the recipient. Perhaps it’s a vintage from a birth year, anniversary year, or from the year you both met. Search the shelves or web pages for a bottle from a particular region the recipient has vacationed to or has a love for.
2. Know Your Audience
Do they prefer sweet wines? Consider a sweet German Riesling or Canadian ice wine. Do they prefer Cabernets? Opt for an age worthy, classic red wine from Bordeaux or Napa. Do they identify as a wine nerd (like yours truly)? Consider a unique bottle from somewhere unusual – Chardonnay from Mt. Etna in Sicily or a Bordeaux-style red from Chateau Musar in Lebanon. I’m always excited for that.
3. Go Big
Magnums and large format bottles make for fun hostess gifts especially at group gatherings. Each magnum serves about 10 glasses of wine, by my pouring standards! It will last much longer than a single bottle of wine, plus they are impressive to look at. Your host will definitely appreciate your thoughtfulness. Some magnums to consider: Gran Moraine Rosé of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Zonin Cuvée 1821’ Prosecco from Veneto, Italy (only $27!), Frank Family Vineyards 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
4. Looks Matter
Of course, you don’t want to pick a wine solely on the label. However, the marketer in me would argue that when you’re gifting wine, the packaging does matter. Of course, a beautiful or interesting, well-designed label will be more appreciated than a boring one, especially since many people will associate the latter with a cheaper wine. Some of my favorite wines that taste as good as they look are Champagne Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Rosé, Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle from Long Island, NY, or the 50th Anniversary Sparkling Reserve Cuvée from ZD Wines in Napa Valley.
5. When in Doubt – Buy Champagne
You can never go wrong with bubbly, especially if it’s Champagne. It instantly classes up any occasion. The big names are always a safe all-around choice but if you want to really wow them look for bottles from lesser-known grower producers such as Henri Giuard, Bertrand Devavry, or G.H. Martel.