As the recipient of many well-intentioned but unused wine gifts, I feel compelled to finally speak up. There are many great ideas floating out there at all different price points. Maybe you just need a stocking stuffer. Or maybe your spouse was extra good this year and earned an expensive bottle of something red, old and French …*hint*
Whatever the case may be, I ask at this moment that you step away from that DIY cork project and consider this list. It is based on my personal experience and preference. It is in no way influenced by sponsorship. Maybe someday it will be, for the time being, we’re still just a family biz with an honest purpose: bringing good wine - and wine knowledge - to our favorite people.
1. Wine Foils (Price: Around $7 for 5)
When you love wine (like, you love wine), you don’t want a single drop to go to waste. But it’s extremely difficult to pour a glass without one annoying drop trailing down the bottle. That leaves a ring of wine where your bottle was sitting, which gets just plain messy… It’s downright unnerving for a Type A wine drinker!
I’ve had several wine pourer spouts in my day, but these cheap round foils are the most effective, hands-down. They fit and form a good seal in any bottle, no matter the size. Other wine pourers are not so universal. You can reuse the foils over and over again; they’re incredibly durable! And when they do finally wear out, you can toss them and replace with another pack for less than the cost of a frilly coffee drink.
2. goVino Shatterproof Wine Glasses (Price: $13 for a set of 4)
Do you like to drink wine poolside? Do you have clumsy friends? Are you a clumsy friend? Do you and your clumsy friends like to drink wine poolside? Okay, enough with the questions. You need these. At first glance, they look like real stemless wine glasses - only they’re better. The ergonomic thumb indentation ensures optimum comfort whilst drinking, and also helps to prevent the whole thing from slipping from your grip. These plastic goblets are lightweight, too, and their practical functionality means they’re still classy enough to share with your wine friends (especially when emblazoned with the Claudine logo).
3. Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course (Price: Under $20)
My wife gifted me this book when we were just dating (yes, yes, very cute). She knew I enjoyed good wine, but she didn’t know what to buy a “wine nerd” (her words, not mine). She gave me this encyclopedia on wine varietals, regions, history, anecdotes, tasting notes, and all-around fun trivia. She may not have known what bottle of wine I wanted most (’61 Latour,) but it was a pretty awesome gift, just the same, and I knew then this was the girl I wanted to marry.*
*This story has been embellished for effect. However, the book is excellent. It’s a great read for the beginner as well as the not-so-beginner.
4. Claudine Wines - The Whole Lineup (Price: Under $50)
What kind of business man would I be if I didn’t endorse my own product? But seriously, we (Lance and I) are extremely passionate about good wine and about making said good wine available to you. We source great wine from renowned Napa and Sonoma wineries. We put it in a bottle and add our own label. Then we mark it way down and make it affordable. Our lineup is a unique gift: Claudine is a small label, and it’s only available online. But if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely to know that. First-time buyers get access to one of each of our wines for $39. Can’t really beat that, right? (Use code: FIRSTORDER at checkout)
5. Riedel Decanter (Price: $25 and up, WAY up)
Full disclosure: it was this or a trip to Napa Valley, CA, and this just seemed more budget-friendly.
If you’re a wine drinker and a collector, Riedel decanters are a pretty cool and pretty socially-acceptable item to collect (sorry, Beanie Babies). A decanter’s primary purpose is to aerate wine, which serves to soften tannins and remove any sediment. Riedel designs decanters that do more than aerate: they also take your breath away. These stunning blown-crystal vessels command some serious respect at the center of your dining table. They’re like sculptures, only they are the best kind of sculptures, because they serve you wine. Can I get an “Amen?”
Do you have a great gift idea for a wine lover? Tell us in the comments below!