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The holiday shopping rush is officially underway. Some find this endeavor a dreaded experience; others take joy in counting down the days while checking off the list. For those who have a wine lover on their recipient list, it might be the easiest of gifts to buy. 

There’s no need to push through the long lines at big chain stores, or crazily attempt to find the last of its kind or stress about the color or size, or, worst of all, wonder if they’ll even like it.

The most important tip is to look to a reputable wine retailer for advice and direction. With help, wine is an easy gift to buy. 

Know the range you want to spend. Wine has the advantage that higher prices don’t always equal better quality. There are many “value” bottles that cost about $15, bottles any wine-loving recipient will enjoy.

A knowledgeable wine retailer will be able to direct you to a bottle worth giving, and keep you on budget.


  • 2014 Simi Chardonnay, California (about $14 retail)


  • 2014 Alexander Valley Chardonnay, California (about $16 retail)

I always enjoy the story of the wine or the uniqueness of the label (who is the winemaker, what is the history of the label, family, etc.). It adds a nice touch when you are able to tell a quick story of the wine’s history or a personal reason it’s your favorite. Most wineries have websites you can research for history. For a special touch, enclose a handwritten note about the wine.


  • 2014 Force of Nature Red Blend, California (about $15 retail)


  • 2013 Tooth and Nail “The Stand,” California (about $29 retail)

When in doubt on the wine style for the recipient, it’s best to stick with familiar grape varietals. If you are buying for people you know well, you most likely know the style of wines they enjoy. But for those you know casually, it’s a good idea to opt for crowd-pleasers like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir.


  • 2014 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $22 retail)


  • 2013 Arista Pinot Noir RRV, California (about $50 retail)