How to Give Wine as a Gift

1970-01-01 08:00


Finding the perfect gifts can be challenging, and even if picking up a few bottles at the wine shop seems like a simple solution for everyone in your life who enjoys a glass with a good meal, that comes with its own considerations. Red or white? How much should you spend? Should you buy a bottle or two or a case? You might be asking any number of questions—along with checking ratings and tasting notes—when trying to figure out what bottle is the bottle. But don’t be discouraged! We’re here to help. Our guide covers every aspect, whether your gifts are for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, house-warmings or just a simple “Thank you!”

Ask Yourself: Who Is This Gift For?

When buying a wine gift, the first step should always be to consider the recipient. Are you buying it for an experienced wine lover or for a wine newbie? (If they aren’t a fan of wine, you should probably try another gift entirely, no matter how much you love it.) If you don’t already know the recipient’s taste preferences, try to discreetly find out. Avoid red wines if they only drink white, or sweet wines if they prefer dry. The more information you have, the better chance you’ll have of hitting the nail on the head.

Note: Whether you’re buying a gift for a wine aficionado or someone less experienced, consider getting them a sparkling wine. After all, bubbly is already widely associated with celebrations and gifts.

Wine Newbies

Let’s say you’re buying a gift for someone just starting to explore wine. You may want to get them a wine on the aromatic side. Your recipient may not have built up their smelling and tasting skills yet, making subtler wines tougher to enjoy. A Sauvignon Blanc could be great for the job.

Not only is Sauvignon Blanc well-known and widely loved, but it can be packed with expressive and easy-to-identify aromas and flavors like lemon, lime, melon, peach, tropical fruits and fresh cut grass. Even better, many Sauvignon Blancs offer excellent value, with high quality even at prices under $20. Plus, they often have mouthwatering acidity, which will add another dimension to your recipient’s tasting experience.

一个女人在门口拥抱一个男人,他拿着一瓶红酒,另外两个人在后台看着外面。
Whether it's for a newbie or an expert, gifting a bottle of wine can make an occassion that much more special. (Kobus Louw/Getty Images)

Or go with another well-known grape, such as Pinot Noir. Like Sauvignon Blanc, these wines are loaded with expressive flavors, like berries and red and black cherries. And it’s possible to find more moderately priced versions from regions like Australia, Chile and New Zealand, so you don’t need to break the bank buying grand cru Burgundy.

Wine Aficionados

What if your recipient is well-versed in vino? Then it’s time to really consider what you know about them as a wine lover. Do they collect wine? Are they looking to expand their collection? Are there any regions or styles that they prefer or are particularly focused on? If you don’t already regularly chat about wine with them (and can’t simply ask a spouse or close friend or relative), pay attention next time you get together and ask them questions about what they’re drinking, or if you’re at their house, ask for a tour of their cellar to get them talking, without having to give away that you’re trying to come up with gift ideas.

If your recipient is a fan of a specific winery, consider buying them wine from that producer’s latest vintage, or from vintages that might be missing from their collection. Or help them round out their horizontal collection with a cuvée they don’t already have.

And if you’re buying a gift for the person who already “has every wine,” perhaps a bottle isn’t the way to go. Instead, you could always get them a handy wine gadget or elegant glassware to help them fully appreciate their collection.

Someone in Between

If you don’t know much about what the recipient drinks (“she likes Cabernet”), try giving them a wine from somewhere they vacationed recently to bring back fond memories or from one of their wish-list destinations, to give them a taste introduction to the area. Do you know anything about their values? Do they enjoy art, buy organic food, eat vegan, shop Small Business Saturday, look for women- or minority-owned brands? You might need a little help from a retailer or to do some online research, but there are wines to tie into each of those things.

If all that stumps you too, how about sharing a favorite wine of yours, one meaningful to you? You can tell a story or enclose a note about what makes it special to you and why you thought they might also enjoy it.

How Much Do I Spend?

As with all gifts, this is a tough question. And the answer depends largely on the occasion and how well you know the recipient. Major events like weddings could possibly demand a higher price tag. And birthdays could mean a more expensive wine than, say, a casual “thank you” gift. But it’s all relative: You may want to spend more on a thank-you gift if someone just helped you move into your new fifth-floor walk-up apartment. The main point is to gauge the situation and possible expectations of the recipient.

Of course, if they’re your nearest and dearest, close family or a longtime friend, you may want to splurge, unless you know that they prefer everyday, drink-now wines. Not everyone loves or appreciates expensive wines; sometimes they’ll just hold off drinking them indefinitely, waiting for “the right moment” that calls for a special wine. At the end of the day, we hope they remember that it’s the thought that counts, no matter the price.

Note: Be careful when buying an expensive wine for someone you don’t know that well. This can sometimes end up being a bit awkward; not everyone feels comfortable receiving a pricey gift from an acquaintance.

How Much Wine Do I Give?

You really can’t go wrong with a single, thoughtfully chosen, high-quality bottle or two. And if that doesn’t feel like quite enough, you could always pair it with a food item, such as gourmet popcorn for a bottle of bubbly, artisanal cheese or charcuterie from the same region as the wine, or high-end dark chocolate with a bottle of Port. (Don't miss our guide on pairing wine with chocolate!)

But sometimes, volume says more than price, and several bottles of less expensive wine (maybe even a case) could mean more to someone than one expensive bottle. For example, if you’re buying wine for a newbie, a mixed case of different colors, grape varieties and wineries could offer them a helpful introduction to several styles and regions. Or try several wines from just one region or winery if you know that’s where your recipient is focusing their interest. Are you buying for someone who enjoys entertaining with wine, often throwing large parties? A half-case of a white, and a half-case of a red could be perfect to help them host their next gathering.

On the other hand, if the person prefers hosting intimate dinners or small wine-tasting groups with like-minded people, they might prefer a single showpiece wine from a famous producer. A collector may better appreciate a rarity that helps them flesh out their cellar.

Is the gift for several people? Try buying a large-format bottle, such as a magnum or jeroboam, which feels extra-special.

Note: Many wine retailers will offer a discount on cases, whether they’re all the same wine or a mix of different wines. (This doesn’t always apply to Champagne.)

Time for Gift Wrapping!

Wrapping a gift gives it that extra bit of flair, and that's as true for a bottle of wine as it is for any other present. But wrapping a bottle well can take a bit of know-how. After all, wine bottles aren't box-shaped, and some are very distinctively shaped and potentially difficult to wrap. Don't fret! You absolutely can wrap bottles with a few quick tips. Watch our video below for a visual guide to three creative approaches. (Alternatively, you could place the bottle in a special box, gift bag or attractive reusable tote with tissue paper and a bit of ribbon.)

 

 

 

Should I Add Wine Accessories to the Gift?

You may feel that a bottle of wine, on its own, is not quite enough of a gift in some situations. In that case, other great presents you could give along with the bottle include: Corkscrews and other openers, wine glasses, decanters, wine chillers, wine preservers, wine-focused books and cookbooks (for food pairings), to name just a few. (For specific ideas, 14 wine pros told us what gifts they would like to give and receive.) Wine tools and books could be particularly helpful presents to encourage a newer wine fan in their explorations.

Avoiding Wine Gift Faux Pas

We hope that the tips above will help you home in on the best gifts possible. Unfortunately, you might still run into other issues.

First, if you’re bringing a host gift to a party, do not expect your wine to be opened then and there. It’s their gift to enjoy at a time of their choosing, not something for you to enjoy while you socialize. And if they don’t open your bottle, then absolutely under no circumstances should you ask to take the bottle back.

To avoid any awkwardness with the host being confused about your intent, you might graciously say as you hand over the bottle, “This is for you to enjoy later.” And if you do want to bring something to drink right then, clear it with the host first and make sure it will match up with what they are serving; they may have already carefully chosen wines to match the meal. If it’s a more casual cocktail party, you could bring two bottles—one as a gift for the host and one to share with other guests.

If your host does open your bottle and it happens to be corked or tasting off, try not to be too fazed. Unfortunately, it happens. Corked bottles are just an eventuality that wine drinkers must accept. But then, should you buy your host another bottle if the one you gifted was corked? Your host should also accept that TCA is out of everyone’s control and mature bottles can be inconsistent or flawed, but if you’re feeling especially generous, you could always pick them up another wine at a later time.

Note: If you’re really worried about this, you could buy a wine with a twist-off closure to avoid the problem in the first place. Even high-end wines are sporting screw caps these days!


*转载自Wine Spectatpr.  

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