Fantastic gifts I received as a wino

It’s still early in November, but before you know it, Christmas will be just around the corner. Shopping for a wine lover is easy. Get them a bottle of wine you think they have never tried before. Ask the wine shop staff to help you pick one out. Even if they’ve had it, it’s always nice to revisit.

What if you want to be a bit more creative though? What if you have already given that wino in your life countless bottles as gifts? Well, I’m lucky to have such thoughtful people in my life. They have gone beyond the bottle of wine; here are some gifts I thought were thoughtful.

A wine related book

My in-laws gave me and the hubby this book (along with a couple of bottles of wine) for our one year anniversary. They know we love to travel and over the last few years, we have planned a lot of our exploration around wine. Thus, this Lonely Planet book.

wine travel book

Wine experience

One Christmas, the hubby and I received tickets to the Vancouver International Wine Festival from my brother-in-law. (If you haven’t figured it out, my husband loves wine, too.) I was just getting serious about wine at this point, so to receive this to experience was totally awesome.

VIWF 2014

For more ideas on wine related experiences, read this post!

A bottle from your travels

If you’re going to give a bottle of wine, a personal connection to the bottle makes it even better. For example, when you’re travelling and you happen to be in an area where wine is made, bonus points if it’s a wine from a region that’s not easily accessible where the wino is from, then grab a bottle as a gift. I love tasting wines from unfamiliar regions!

A former manager of mine knew that I love wine and I got excited that he was visiting Arizona because, did you know Arizona makes wine?! He brought back a bottle for me and I was absolutely delighted! You don’t see Arizona wine outside the state much as locals consume most of it.

wine from Arizona

Don’t be fooled by the label. This wine was tasty with notes of ripe peach and vanilla aroma. Lots of citrus, especially on the palate. High acidity.

Bottles from all over the world

Two of our friends gave us  12 wines from all over the world for our wedding gift. Not only did we get some bottles we may not have considered buying, but this saved us time in going to the liquor store.

I also love the fact that each bottle was from a different wine region, which speaks to our passion for travel as well.

wine-and-map

Wine Club Membership

Does the wino have a favourite winery? Get them a club membership there. Or maybe you think they’d prefer to be a part of a club where one can try wines from different parts of the world. Hubby and I got the latter as a wedding gift and we love it. Needless to say, we have taken full advantage and placed a few orders.

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A wedding gift we love!

Do you have ideas or received any cool wine related gifts? Please share by commenting below.

Last minute gift ideas for the wine lover

It feels good to be back. Today, I thought I’d make an appearance for all you last minute shoppers with winos in your lives. It’s not your typical list of things though. This holiday season, consider giving the wine lover the gift of an experience. An experience is unforgettable, whereas a bottle of wine could be, unfortunately.

The best part about the gift of an experience is, you can probably get the confirmation sent by email once you make the purchase and all you have to do is package/wrap it up nicely. You’re welcome.

Wine Tour

Do you live near a wine region?

Okanagan Valley

Only a 4.5 hour drive from Vancouver, BC is the Okanagan Valley.

There are companies in most wine regions that offer some sort of package tour, whether it’s starts at a winery or a limo picks you up at home. A google search will show you what’s available.

Want to take the self-guided route instead? Book a hotel or bed and breakfast in the area and that’ll be your confirmation date. Throw in a bottle of wine from the region and a reveal on the hotel confirmation that you’re going on a wine tour! How cute is that?

If you don’t live near a wine region or know that your wino would like to discover another, then book a trip! I know, easier said than done. Flights can’t be cancelled, but hotels have good cancellation policies. Some allow you up to 24 hrs before the date to cancel without penalty. Read their cancellation policy. So perhaps you can start off with a hotel confirmation, along with a bottle of wine from the region. Figure out flights later.

Why not just give a bottle of wine, you ask? Because there’s no “offficialness” to just a bottle of wine. When you see something on paper, it’s official, you’re doing a wine tour!

Wine Education

If your wino has been contemplating getting some sort of formal training, give them a gift certificate to enroll in WSET 1.

It’s the perfect intro for people who want to learn more about wine, but aren’t sure they want to dive deep into the wine world. There are classes in Vancouver that are only 1 day long, and at the end you take a multiple choice test. You can also choose to spread it out and attend a few classes over a month.

Wine Tasting Festival Tickets

The fiance and I got a pair of tickets to the Vancouver International Wine Festival last year as a gift from his brother. I loved the thoughtfulness.

VIWF 2014

If there’s a wine festival in a city near you, tickets to the event will be very much appreciated. One of the best wine related gifts I’ve received.

Wine Tasting Event

If you know your wino is already going to the festival, perhaps give them tickets to complement the experience. When there’s a wine festival, there’s usually smaller events that happen around that weekend as well. For example, a food and wine pairing sit down event.

food and wine

Pairing Italian food and wine. Starter: Buffalo mozzarella, heirloom cherry tomatoes, herb salad, burrata cheese, herb crostini, parma prosciutto, wild arugula, basil infused olive oil. Awesome.

Wine Tasting Session

Perhaps a wine festival isn’t possible. Every major city will have sommeliers. You can find one that offers wine tasting sessions, a private one or one open to the public. Events like this in Vancouver where you can taste a flight of wines in an intimate setting and have the knowledge and attention of a professional answering your questions.

Have you given any of these as gifts? What kind of wine related gifts would you like to receive? Please share with me in the comments.

Only a few hours left… Get clicking and I hope this list helped!

Last minute gift ideas for the wine lover in your life

Before I dive into the list, I want to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season! I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are spending time with loved ones. I love the jovial and festive spirit people are in!

Now let’s get down to it. After all, that’s why you’re here! If you’re anything like me, you’re a last minute shopper. This isn’t just a Christmas list, refer to it when a wine lover’s birthday approaches. Any wine lover would love the following five items.

A decanter. There are so many styles to choose from. Even if they already have one, a different style would be lovely.

wine decanter

A standard decanter. Photo from Wikipedia.

Just google wine decanter and you’ll see all the options out there. Walk into any specialty wine store and your options are abundant too. You can also get them at stores like Puddifoot in Vancouver, BC.

Wine pourer and stopper. I absolutely love my wine pourer and stopper and use it all the time. One of my friends asked me what the purpose of the pourer at one of my recent dinner parties. As a wine lover, it seemed pretty obvious to me, but in case you don’t know, it’s to prevent that little bit of wine after the pour from sliding down the outside of your bottle.

You can get the pourer and stopper separately, but why not kill two birds with one stone? You can get them as a unit and it’s awesome. No need to keep that cork around to close the unfinished bottle. You’ve got the stopper. The one I have is very similar to this. It works wonderfully!

A chalkboard. Ok, maybe not every wine lover would want this, but if they’re crafty as well, it’s a pretty cool gift to receive. I seem to always forget to keep an eye out for one when I go shopping. So *hint hint* to those special people in my life who are reading this 🙂 Now you know why I included this in the post! hahahahaa. I want to make something like this:

chalkboard with wine corks

Photo from Pinterest. Source unknown.

A book on wine. A wine lover would completely appreciate this sort of stuff. I’ve been wanting this book for a while: Oz Clarke’s Grapes and Wines: The Definitive Guide to the World’s Great Grapes and the Wines They Make

Grapes andWines

Photo from Amazon.com

Lastly, a bottle of wine is ALWAYS appreciated. Especially so when thought has been put into the purchase of the bottle and the card that complements it. For example, I love to travel and discover places. That’s one of the reasons I love wine; I get a taste of a different part of the world. My friend gave me this for my birthday:

gift idea for wine lover

The wine is from Israel, a place I’ve yet to visit and the card is just so me. The thought that went into this warms my heart.

She creates one of a kind gift baskets and this sort of gift I received from her speaks to her professional abilities, how she puts thought and consideration into her baskets. Please check out her website ItsAWrapBaskets.com.

Do you have any ideas you’d like to add? 

Don’t save the best for last!

Really? Is it already Wine Wednesday? At the same time I’m asking myself, where’s Friday? Today, I’m not going to talk about anything in the WSET 3 book. Instead, I want to pass on advice that I heard on the Wine for Normal People podcast.

wine at dinner party

Holiday parties are coming!

The holidays are just around the corner and you’ll be invited to dinner parties and you may even host some (I love dinner parties!). Elizabeth Schneider, the not-at-all-snobby sommelier made a good point in one of her podcasts about serving wine at parties. She pointed out, how many times after a party do you remember having a bad or good bottle of wine at the end of the night?

Closer to the end of the night, everyone has had a few and everything tastes pretty good by then (I think we can all attest to that). Rather than saving the best for last, Elizabeth suggests opening the best bottle when everyone is in a state to completely appreciate it: near the start of the evening.

I think she used a nice bottle of champagne as an example to celebrate the New Year. When are you going to enjoy it? When you’re drunk?

Bordeaux wine Grand Vin de Chateau Lato

Enjoy something special like this before any buzz creeps on you. You certainly don’t want to miss out savouring this.

So remember when you host your next dinner party, end the night cheap!

I think this is sound advice. What do you think? How do you usually go about serving wine? Do you save the best for last or end it cheap?