Every year, it’s the same question – what are some great wine lover gifts? Well, I also get the question of what to get the kids, Mom, Mr. Corkscrew, and on and on. But for people who are really into wine, it can really be hard to figure out what to get. I mean, none of us needs yet another corkscrew! I’m just sayin… I’m fortunate to get sent all sorts of trinkets and stuff throughout the year to try out and review. Some of the stuff is meh, but some of it ends up being pretty cool. So here are a few of my favorite wine lover gifts for the upcoming holiday season.
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Books make perfect wine lover gifts. I joke (sorta) to people all the time that I haven’t read for pleasure since law school – and that’s been a minute! With the thousands of pages of reading that law school required and the extensive reading that #LawyerLife requires (think onion skin tax code and regulations!) it’s hard to get excited about MORE reading when I have free time. But one exception to that is wine books. Of course! Some of these have been sent to me to review and others I purchased as they were recommended to me. And for a little more detail on the books, check out my IG review.
Exploring Wine Regions – Bordeaux France
This book is the second in a series that covers wine regions around the world. And this one hits both of my sweet spots – wine and travel. Studying wine, Bordeaux is literally the first region you learn about and several of the wines on my personal “wine bucket list” hail from Bordeaux. The book is seriously everything Bordeaux – the wine, the food, castles, the Bordelais way of life and more. Dear COVID go away so I can visit Bordeaux! You can purchase the book here for hard copy or here for electronic.
The Wine Lover’s Bucket List
Umm, hello! Yes, I know the dreaded ‘Rona put the kibosh on my and many folks travel plans. I canceled a surprise fall Paris trip for my mom’s birthday and put the brakes on a planned Oregon wine trip. But we can still dream – and start planning! This book covers an amazing 1,000 wine adventures from regions around the world. It covers everything from winery and vineyard tours to where to stay and eat to where to shop. It also gives you some cultural and historical context as well which is a nice touch. You can purchase the book here.
Wine Folly Magnum Edition
I love this book for its bright and easy to understand graphics. It’s a great resource for those who are in the beginning stages of learning about wine. I’m always a fan of anything that makes wine more approachable and this book certainly does that. And even though I’m little further along in my wine studies, I still grab it when I’m trying to put together a tasting as it does a great job of describing wine characteristics and similarities between wines. You can purchase the book here.
The Wine Region of Rioja, 2nd Edition
I’ve met author (and Rioja Ambassador) Ana Fabiano on a few occasions and I just love her enthusiasm for all things Rioja. Its infectious! Heck I even signed up for the Rioja Wine Academy! She spent 20 years doing the research for this book and it shows. You get history, varietals, bodegas, producers and even recipes and food parings. Even the folks in Spain get it as this is the only wine book endorsed by the Riojan government. Don’t laugh, but I’ve read this while sipping on a glass of Rioja. You know, ‘cause context. You can purchase the book here.
As we’ve all had to reassess and change the way we do things (you know the whole socially distant thing) virtual tastings have seriously become a thing. And even when this is over (whatever “over” will look like) I think virtual tastings are here to stay.
This is such a great concept and a much needed one! Master the World is a subscription service for novices and professionals alike. In a nutshell, it’s an at-home blind tasting kit supported by an online evaluation tool. You get your wines, taste them blind, and then use their online tool to analyze the wine and guess what you’re drinking. There’s even monthly webinars lead by sommeliers. It’s something you can do solo or even with groups. I’ve received the kits as part of media tastings and what I like the most is that you get 6 – 187 ml bottles. So just enough to taste and enjoy the wine without committing much if you don’t. The kits come with instructions on how to chill the wine, how to do the blind tasting, etc. Subscribers can choose subscription plans that range from $70 to $90.
You hear it everywhere – the holidays will look much different this year. So even though we may not be able to get together with co-workers or host large parties, there is still a way to party with friends and family. Inglenook, one of Napa Valley’s first wineries and well-known for its organically-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, have made it a little easier by bottling 100mL bottles of wine for individual servings that can be shipped to guests in advance of the “party.” Private virtual tastings can also be enhanced and personalized by adding a vineyard tour, chef demo, wine trivia game, or other customized details. Just use your imagination! Tastings start at $45.
Wine Club Memberships
I get asked about wine clubs ALL THE TIME. Between what I purchase for my own collection and what people send me to try (not to mention my own virtual events!) I don’t currently have the capacity for a wine club. But when I’m on the hunt for clubs to recommend, I’m always looking for variety. I know people love the whole wine club thing from their favorite winery, but for me, I want to taste a variety of wines from places around the world. Commitment issues? Maybe. But even more, I want access to small, boutique producers that you don’t find everywhere.
Belle & Bottle
A couple of months ago, I got to taste first-hand some of the selections that Laura Huston offers. She’s a female solopreneur based out of Seattle and runs a club/shop called Belle & Bottle. I like her club because first – variety, but also because she has a few different options. Again, commitment issues, but I don’t want to be sent 6-12 bottles every month. Laura has options that start at $55 for just 2 bottles a month, but also offers quarterly shipment options that range from $140 on up to $400 (if you want the premium stuff). And God bless her! She even has a bubbles club! Her club has even been featured in Food & Wine’s top clubs list.
Bravino! Italian Wine Club
Want to taste Italian wine up and down “the boot?” Then Bravino! Italian Wine Club may be for you. Highly recommend by two of my favorite wine peeps who are always sipping on something interesting, you are bound to get some new (to you) wines. Sourced from small, family-owned wines, these are not your run of the mill, everyday day, ho-hum wines. Four wines are shipped quarterly with options for all red, all white, or a combo. Plus, you can skip a shipment or cancel any time.
Barolo Wine Club
Staying in Italy, but honing in on Piedmont is the Barolo Wine Club. But it’s not all just Barolo. These owners of a local food and wine tour company wanted to be able to help their clients extend their Italian wine experience and created a wine club to meet the demand. The focus here is on small, family run wineries in Piedmont that craft a variety of wines. These are truly unique and hard to find wines. Wines are shipped twice a year in 6 or 12 bottle packs and are available in various combos. I’m seriously eyeing the White, Sparkling, and Rosé selection.
Hmm, I may have to subscribe to some clubs after all…
Fun & Helpful Wine Gadgets
I meant what I said about corkscrews. No more! We often joke that we have a ton of these (I probably have 20!) and yet we use the same 1, maybe 2 every single time.
Coravin Wine System
One of my favorite wine gadgets ever. Have you ever opened a cellar selection that wasn’t quite ready to drink? Or how many times have you just wanted to drink one glass of wine? Or you wanted a glass of red and a glass of white? The Coravin has solved this issue for us. Just insert the needle into the cork of the bottle, extract what you want, and still have the rest of the wine available for a later date. The space of the extracted wine is filled with argon gas to protect the remaining wine. When I first bought this for myself as a Mother’s Day present, this was a relatively new item and it has since been improved with newer and cheaper models. The Model Three is one of the most affordable versions yet. And they have also created something that helps with screw caps as well! Plus, if you’re hard on things like I am, there are replacement parts such as needles, gas capsules, and more.
Wine Lover Gifts Worth the Splurge
You know, for that really special wine friend.
A wine fridge is always a great idea. You know for that really special wine friend. I was sent a New Air wine fridge to review earlier this year and I fell in love with it. Even though I have a large built-in cellar, I used the New Air for wines that I’m tasting and reviewing. They have all sorts of sizes and configurations for their wine fridges, so you’re bound to find something in your budget. The 16 bottle, 23 bottle, and 28 bottle coolers are great for those just beginning to get into wine. Just know that the stated capacity is always less than what it actually holds, particularly if you’re storing Burgundy/Pinot Noir or bubbly. They even recently introduced a cigar humidor which Mr. Corkscrew would love!
VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase
If you travel for wine or with wine, you need one of these. Well, I actually have two of these (past Christmas presents to myself) and rarely take a trip without one. There is just no better way to travel with your wine. Available in 12-bottle, 8-bottle, and 5-bottle capacities, these babies can endure anything the baggage handlers can dish out. And you can easily remove the bottle inserts on one side and use like a regular suitcase. With a built in, TSA approved lock and a polycarbonate hard side case with closed-cell foam, you’ll feel secure about your wine making it to its destination in one piece. Talk about the ultimate in wine gifts!
Cheers to fantastic wine lover gifts! Hope you all enjoy your holiday season, whatever it may look like.