Giving Wine for Christmas

Do a little 'detective work' and find the best wines
Here we are one week into December, and with Christmas only two-and-a-half weeks away, it’s time to get some of those last minute gifts for friends, family and coworkers. What better gift than wine? It’s the gift that helps those you love celebrate the holidays. Here is a little guide to buying wine to gift for the holidays.

The first element to plan out is how much you want to spend on each individual who is lucky enough to be on your gift list. You might want to spend $50 on your boss’s gift and only $10 on cousin Timmy’s. There are great wines out there for each price range, so it is important to choose carefully. Second, do a little research to find out each person’s preference, red or white, sweet or dry, full bodied or something a little lighter. Try and include these questions in some everyday conversation to get the hints you need to get the perfect wine gift. You might try a phrase such as, "I was out to dinner the other night and had this great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. What’s your favorite wine?'

Now that you’re armed with the proper information, it’s time to do your shopping. I would advise going to a wine shop where the staff is knowledgeable so they can help you select the perfect wine in each category.

While shopping for those less expensive gifts, those in the $10 range, I recommend getting a bottle that is not mainstream. If you bring someone a bottle of Yellowtail Cabernet, they will know exactly what you spent. If you pick out a bottle of Tres Palacios Cabernet from Chile, you will be giving them a better bottle of wine for around the same price and they may think you splurged on them.

When you jump up into the $20 range, there are some great wines you can choose from, some mainstream, and some not as well known. The decision is up to you if you want your recipient to know exactly how much you spent. You can give them a bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir and they will know you spent $20 or you can give them a bottle of Rickshaw Pinot Noir and they will think you spent $20 or more, when in actuality you only spent $17. You can get them a bottle of Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon, or get them Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon, both around $20, however the Chateau Smith is a much better wine.

There is an important question to ask yourself when you get into the $30-$50 range. Does the person I am giving this gift to know anything about wine? If they don’t, I would look for something with name recognition, Stags Leap or Caymus. If they have good wine knowledge, I would go with something different that they may have not tried before, like Hollis or Ramey. They will thank you for introducing them to something new that would be considered a better wine for less money.

If you’re looking to buy something from that $50- $100 dollar range for someone special, name recognition may be important to you. Just ask your local wine professional to help you out with this type of selection. If it’s a brand you’re not familiar with, ask the person helping you for a little information, then you can pass that on to the recipient.

To recap, decide your budget for each individual, then do your best detective work to find out their personal preferences. Take this information to your favorite wine shop and ask questions. A knowledgeable clerk or owner will love to help you out, that’s why they are in this business, to talk about wine and help people find that perfect bottle to create a great memory.

Let’s remember that the holidays are all about giving. With the proper knowledge and help, you can find the perfect wine or spirit gift for those who you care about. Feel free to ask me any questions at and Happy Holidays to all.

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