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Wine-related gifts to ponder this year

Wine-related gifts to ponder this year

Finding the perfect gift this holiday season is easy when you know the recipient enjoys wine. There are plenty of wine-related gifts to find. The wine world has been revolutionized in the past decade with technological advancements that are not only much needed solutions to common wine problems, but are also much-appreciated gifts.


Vacu Vin is an inexpensive but trusted preservation system. It literally is a wine saver. I consider this one of the best values to preserve wines. It’s a vacuum pump that extracts the air from the opened bottle, when you’ve reached the optimum level it will click and reseal the wine bottle with a reusable rubber stopper. A simple process — but one that works by slowing the oxidation process. Price: $5 to $9, depending on gift sets and plastic versus stainless steel.

Serving temperature is vital in the taste of your wine in the glass. An easy solution for those without an extensive cellar system is the Menu Fahrenheit Wine Thermometer or the Plastic Cased Alltemp Infrared Wine Thermometer. The first attaches around a wine bottle much like a belt and within minutes you can read the temperature on the digital display. The Infrared is a hot gift for the tech lover. This compact tool looks like a pen, but measures the temperature digitally on the outside of the bottle. Cost: $14 to $35, depending on styles.


One of my favorite wine preservation tools is the Coravin. It comes with an indulgent, bank-busting price tag but it’s well worth the investment for a serious wine collector or drinker. In the past, this tool was available only in the restaurant industry and the price is becoming more approachable. The Coravin allows you to drink from a bottle without pulling the cork, meaning expensive wines can be enjoyed slightly more frivolously as you no longer must commit to opening the entire bottle when you want one glass. The Coravin features a super-thin needle that penetrates the foil and cork to extract the wine, while argon gas pressurizes the bottle, allowing you to siphon out a single glass. As you remove the needle the cork reseals itself, returning the wine to its unopened state. Everyone gets to drink exactly what he or she wants and you can offer a variety of options because unopened bottles will not spoil. Cost: $200 to $500, depending on color and accessories.

Perfect gift picks for the wine lover

Picking the right gift for the wine enthusiast can be more complicated than just grabbing a bottle of wine. If you’re looking for ideas, here are few gifts that would make just about any wine lover smile.
The Wine Wedge (about $10 for a set of two)The Wine Wedge

  • If you have ever tried stacking wine bottles in your refrigerator you understand why this is a great solution. You can use one wedge to stack bottles against the wall or use two to create a sturdy pyramid of up to six bottles.

govinowine Shatterproof Stemless “Glassware” (about $13 for a four-pack)

  • I love this drinkware because it can go anywhere — from a picnic to a party — and is proof you don’t have to drink good wine from a bad glass. Originally designed for the sales force in the wine trade, these sturdy “glasses” quickly found fans among the general public. The drinkware is made from BPA-free polymer plastic, and the shape and thin walls showcase a wine’s aromas and colors just as well as traditional glassware.

Winerd (about $35)

  • My family and friends enjoy any type of game but add wine to the challenge and the game is on. This adults-only board game combines trivia with tasting and appeals to amateurs as well as professionals.

Perfect Pop Champagne Opener (about $7)Perfect Pop Champagne Opener

  • This gadget boasts a foolproof and safe way of opening sparkling wine bottles. No need to even remove the foil. Just place the opener on the top of the cork, loosen the wire cage, twist and voila! Off comes the foil, cage and cork.

Personalized Wine Travel Map (about $160)

  • I loved finding a personalized wine gift as unique as this travel map, which helps you keep track of your family wine travels throughout the world. It comes in a mahogany frame with 52 color-coded flags and pins to mark your visits, favorites and even dream locations to wineries and vineyards. You can personalize the map with your family name or your winetasting club.

The Wine Glass Chandelier (about $400)Wine Glass Chandelier

  • If you drew my name this year (and your budget is big) then your shopping search has ended. Not only is this gift functional for glass storage, it also makes the ultimate cellar or kitchen island conversation piece. It’s made with original wine barrel rings and wood staves forming the frame for a mix and match of up to 15 stemmed glasses on the first tier and up to 18 on the bottom. A gift well worth the splurge for any wine lover.

Valentine’s gifts will delight wine lover

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so here are a few special and fun ideas for wooing the wine lover in your life.


Call me a romantic but there is just something about homemade desserts. Valentine’s Day is an ideal occasion to take the time to show a little love in the kitchen. Whether you are planning a family dinner at home or intimate dinner out, you can always end your evening with a special treat for your valentine. Not sure where to start? Consider The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook: Recipes and Pairings for the Perfect Glass of Wine by Mary Cech. The book offers exceptional recipes and easy wine advice and pairings for the novice or connoisseur.


A sentimental bottle of wine is something to be shared today or in the future. Consider ports from your anniversary year, wine regions with romantic memories or vintage champagnes to be opened together 10, 20 or 30 years from now.


Pairing wines with chocolates can be a great adventure for food and wine lovers but a single box of chocolate and bottle could leave your sweetheart wanting more. Consider a “chocolate of the month club” for your chocolates and a local retailer for your wines. Together, with the monthly arrival of the chocolate, it’s a fun time to explore a new pairing. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just stay with the basics and the pair-up will be perfection. White chocolate: framboise or moscato. Lightbodied milk chocolate: framboise, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. Medium bodied milk or semisweet chocolate: cabernet sauvignon, port, merlot or syrah. Full-bodied bittersweet or dark chocolate: cabernet sauvignon or port.


What’s more romantic than a trip to a wine region with the one you love? There are many options and choices ranging from a day trip to Altus, a long weekend in California or a destination vacation to France or Italy. Of course your valentine will love this gift but you get to enjoy it too!

Some just get it

Wine GiftBy now you guys know wine is a central part of my life and very personal. From value bottles I grab at the retail stores to collector bottles found on weekend get aways, I am always plotting to match the right bottle with the right occasion.

Last week a few friends dropped by our home before going out to dinner. We were given a beautiful cult Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. I am sure my eyes twinkled when my friend handed me the bottle. I thanked him and began to plot in my mind – who, when, where, what time? Would I cellar it for 1 more year or 5?

Then reality kicked in, “Should we open it now?”

Why is it when wines are given as gifts – it is so personal? If you are a collector of hundreds of bottles or even a few, you understand the feeling.

Of course we opened it immediately … thanks Brian & Jess.  See you soon!

A bottle or 3 is a sublime wedding gift

Buying wedding gifts in the past had fewer challenges considering that the general concept was to help couples get off to a good start with household items. Today, many newlyweds have had a house together for years or are combining two households. This sometimes means that the couple already have two of everything they need.

This is one reason why bridal registry printouts don’t look as traditional as in the past. China, linens and towels are being replaced by requests for high-speed blenders, fondue sets or fancy stainless steel popcorn poppers. Not that a newlywed couple would not truly appreciate these additions to their household, but if you know the newlyweds are wine lovers, why not share your passion for wine in a unique and celebratory way?

Whether your budget is $15 or $150, there are many options available.

Some points to keep in mind:

For smaller budgets, consider one special bottle. If your budget allows, the pinnacle of gift sets could include bottles to be enjoyed on the first, fifth and 10th anniversaries. If you want to make the gift a bit more unique, add crystal wine glasses. Choose a reputable fine wine retailer for advice and direction. For a special touch, enclose a business card from the retailer so the recipients can contact the retailer with questions concerning the special bottle.


  • 2006 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma), California (about $16 retail)
  • 2008 Los Vascos Blend, Chile (about $15 retail)
  • 2006 Bell Rose, California (about $18 retail)
  • 2008 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $15 retail)


  • NV Sofia Blanc de Blancs, California (about $22 retail)
  • NV Roederer Anderson Valley Brut, California (about $20 retail)
  • NV Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, California (about $45 retail)
  • For the fifth anniversary: 2003 Castello Banfi Summus, Italy (about $70 retail)
  • For the 10th anniversary: 2005 Ambullneo Big Paw Chardonnay, California (about $88 retail)