Wine Cellar Innovations Blog

The Best Wine Gifts

September 10th, 2011

Wine GiftThe best wine gifts are likely to be wines with which you are familiar – and which you personally enjoy. Of course, if that wine happens to cost a small fortune, you may hesitate giving it as a gift, even if your own personal fortune allows it. When it comes to giving wine as a gift, there are matters of etiquette to consider, as well as the wine itself. You also have to take into account the recipient, as well as the occasion. There is etiquette attached to the manner in which you present the gift, too.

The first issue that you will likely want to address is: How much money should I spend? There is no definitive answer to the question, but there are a few guidelines. The amount of money you spend on wine gifts depends not only on your relationship with the recipient, but on the occasion of the gift.

A wine gift for the boss, for example, may have more to do with the label than the content. When giving wine to impress, the temptation may be to splurge on an expensive wine. Instead of giving the boss an expensive wine that you have never tried yourself, stick to what you know. Your boss may be more impressed by your enthusiastic description of the wine than the wine itself. Cabernets from affordable Napa Valley houses – Rutherford, Baldacci, Bravante – are good choices.

For friends and family, your main concern will be the taste. For social gatherings, you will want a variety of wine that will please a variety of tastes. Pinot Noir generally fits the bill, and since Pinots are prized for their transparency, you can choose a Pinot to convey a sense of a favorite place, from New Zealand to Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. When you want a wine to express a festive feeling, Beaujolais makes a good choice. With its earthy character and fruit flavors, Beaujolais is an appropriate – and affordable – choice for holiday gift giving.

As important as the selection and price of the bottle is the etiquette of presenting wine gifts. When attending a social affair, never presume that your host must serve your wine offering that night. The hostess has most likely spent a lot of time and thought over what wine she will serve, and will not appreciate being pressured into changing her plans. If you are unsure if this is the case, ask the host if he would like to serve the wine now or to save it for later. If you specifically want the recipient to save the wine for a later occasion, you can indicate that by gift-wrapping the bottle.

Resist the urge to expound upon the wine’s origins. Guests may see that as code for bragging about how much you spent on the bottle. Pointing out a few subtleties of the wine is fine, but for the most part, you will want the recipients to discover the pleasures of the wine for themselves.

This is a guest post by Martin Reed.

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