‘Tis the season for gift idea summaries! Oh Joy! At least I waited until after Thanksgiving.
So here is my list of the best gifts for the beloved wine-o in your life. Since most wine drinkers have strong preferences about what wines they want to drink or try, and you may not be able to remember the name of that obscure Rhone winery they were going on about, I’ve stuck to non-alcoholic gifts. These are fun stocking stuffers and gifts that any wine drinker would be pleased to receive, whether they are all about mass market wines or esoteric amphora wines.
Everyone loves a good screw
The most basic of gifts for a wine drinker is a cork screw. There are a zillion different devices on the market for removing corks from bottles. The most fool proof, and the easiest to use, is a screw pull type cork screw like this one. There are various manufacturers of these ingenious tools. I like this one. It is economical and utilitarian and will pull corks for years.
Aeration isn’t just for lawns anymore
Once the bottle is opened, if it’s a red, you’ve got to let it “breath”. Exposing the wine to oxygen starts to release the odors and flavors from the wine. But if you weren’t able to open the bottle 30 to 60 minutes before you want to drink it, what’s a wine-o to do? Aerate! These devices pop into the neck of the bottle and when you pour the wine through them the wine is exposed to more oxygen than if you just poured it out of the neck. This aeration device is pretty nifty, looks good and doesn’t take a long time to pour a full glass.
For the serious wine-o’s, a wine journal is an ideal gift. These wine diaries allows the wine drinker to keep track of all the wines they’ve tasted, and whether it was worth buying. Some use the old analog method to manage their cellars as well, tracking the wines they’ve purchased and how many bottles they have left. I like the Moleskine Wine Journal. The pages are big enough to take copious notes, the paper takes fountain pen ink nicely, and the cover is has a lovely relief design of bottles and glasses.
To understand it you must label it
Some people like to collect wine labels. The Label Lift is a tool for removing the labels whole and intact from bottles, so that they can then be pasted into books along side the tasting notes. For folks who are more visual than verbal, keeping the label is a great way to remember a wine and it makes it way more easy to find the wine later in a wine shop. Just match the label!
What a rack!
Presumably, the wine-o in your life already has some kind of storage for their wine bottles, but if they are new to wine, or have just moved into a new place, a nice wall mounted wine rack is a great gift. This one holds 8 bottles, just the right number for the kitchen or dining room. It makes the bottles themselves the feature of the storage, rather that shelves or racks of dubious attractiveness.
Is your wine-o a carrier?
Anybody who is known to be a wine-o is expected to bring wine to parties. What better way to do that than in a sporty neoprene carrier? These come in a variety of patterns and colors, but I think this bold polk a dot pattern makes it hard to forget on your way home when it’s empty, and a pleasure to look at when you arrive.
Last, but not least, for the adventurous wine-o in California or Northern Nevada, there is Pour Me Another, my guide book to the Gold Country wines of Amador and El Dorado County. I visited over 100 wineries and tasted everything so you don’t have to. In Pour Me Another features entries for 68 of the best wineries in the Sierra Foothills. So if your wine-o likes to explore the back roads of California for day trips or longer, this is the book for them!
UPDATED: 12/19/12 I removed a recommended book because of the allegations surrounding her business practices.