Wine Related Gift Ideas (eccentric wine enthusiast’s point of view)

 

Tis ‘the season to be jolly’, generous and kind to people around us, so why not give wine related gifts and make everyone happy? When it comes to wine gifts, there are many choices and venues to explore – one can give wine, wine related items or paraphernalia, tickets to a winery’s or local wine events, or give the gift of education in the form of books, seminars and lessons. Let’s explore each of these categories herein.
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Wine paraphernalia: from cellar to the glass and beyond.
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Vertical Wine RacksIf wine is stored properly (in the dark, laying down on its side when cork enclosures are used, and in relatively constant temperature – not next to stove, dishwasher or on top of the fridge), then the storage media/equipment isn’t as important as having the wine itself. However, once one gets more sophisticated with his/her palate, the storage also needs to improve and the cardboard boxes become no longer suitable.
Wine racks make great presents for several reasons; for one (if given to the other half), it says “no honey, you don’t have too much wine” and in that case it really represents two gifts instead of one.
A wine holder can be a piece of art and add a little touch to otherwise barren corner – after all, wine (art itself) should be represented as such.
For the more seasoned (eccentric) wine enthusiasts a wine fridge or a picture of winery’s cellar with a ‘future basement’ note attached to it, is surely to be followed by “sweetie, you shouldn’t have….this is the best present ever“.

 

There are variety of wine openers – from old-school dishonest butlers and simple corkscrews to newly-invented/gadgety openers. These all have their place in any given household and just like growing up, the style used depends on ‘where’ in the evolutionary sense the wine aficionado is. As beginners, many have received the lever-style opener as a present; but frankly as we get more sophisticated, IMG_6964 (2)the simple and more stylish twist corkscrew becomes the favourite; for it allows the first intimate moments, where bonding occurs with THAT special bottle of wine. Some openers/cork screws only found in antique shops or garage sales may not necessarily be on the functionality, but rather on the collectability side and again, will make great gifts. Finally, as us/we become vintaged, the two-armed opener comes forth again and since we all have them, find a safe place for them till their time to shine comes.
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IMG_6956Once opened, wine must be decanted. Decanters are quite important and any ‘real’ wine enthusiast can never have enough of them. Originally, decanters had a purpose of removing sediment from the wine, nowadays most wines don’t have much sediment, but should be decanted to allow the wine to breathe – to allow it to show its full bouquet of aromas and to soften the tannins. Good place to start searching is Home Sense.

 

IMG_6960What kind of goblet we drink wine out of is quite important and one can never have enough wine glasses – tall ones, short ones, wide and skinny….for reds, for whites, for sparking, and for Icewine. Whatever the use for, quality is important, so get crystal glasses that when clung together, resonate for tens of seconds if not half a minute.

 

When having more than 5 guests or hosting parties, wine chimes are a great asset to have, especially when all the wine glasses are the same. Their purpose is to alow for tracking of the ‘traveling’ glass and to allow the owner to claim “I know exaaactly what I’m drinking“.
IMG_6966 (2)At the end of the night, when unfinished bottle of great wine lingers around, the handy device saving the day (more so the wine) is the stopper and pump set. It is designed to remove all the air from the bottle preventing oxidation/ acidification and when coupled with refrigeration, the wine can remain in its prime for several days if not more (you can read more in a post “storing opened wine“). This is a must have gift.
The ‘fast decanter’, seen in the picture, is simply NOT recommended as it is only useful for making lower quality young wines more palatable; fine wine (especially aged one) may get shocked using this device.

 

IMG_6961These PlatyPreserve plastic pouches are just one example of plastic containers designed to make wine portable. How useful are these, especially when fine wine is considered? There are many advantages of transferring wine to this container: to check for wine’s quality (corked?); to reduce weight – especially important when going back country camping; to store unfinished wine – as the air can easily be squeezed out. On many occasions, I’ve had wine in these for 4 days without its quality being compromised and so highly recommend this product.

 

IMG_6967Lastly, Le Nez Du Vin kit is a great, functional and fun (not to mention expensive) present one can obtain. The kit contains scents (comes in 12, 24 and 54 scents) that make up wine’s bouquet and alow one to train his/her nose. It is also quite popular while having wine or other parties – a gift that keeps on giving.
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Wine consumables:
If at any time of the year, some wine ideas are needed, visit my recommendations page, where I list fully reviewed wines that are recommended based on quality and value (most of the time). The section that is particularly relevant to this post is the Gifts section, featuring wines that are pricier than the usual day-to-day wines. This page is kept up-to-date with wines that are widely available at the LCBO stores.

 

Wine entertainment/tourism:
Spending a romantic day locally in a nearby wine country not only makes a great present for the receiver, but for yourself as well. Here are links to just some of the events happening in the wine country.
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Winter
Snowshoeing in the vineyard – Weekends in January and portion of February
Niagara Icewine Festival – January 10-26th 2014
Events within Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley
Events in Niagara-On-The-lake
Events in the Prince Edward County
Summer
Graze the Bench – first weekend in June
International Cool Climate Chardonnay (i4C) – July 18-20th 2014 and events within

 

Wine education:
Wine classes are a great way to meet people, who already have at least one hobby/passion in common with you – wine. Whether interested in meeting someone or just want to further bond with your partner, this potentially is an excellent gift idea.
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iYellow Wine Club – Wine School/Wine Events
Books about wine

 

Resources:
PlatyPreserve at the MEC
Vacu Pump Set at the Canadian Tire
Wine storage at the Canadian Tire
Decanters and wine glasses at the HomeSense
Le Nez Du Vin – official site
Ultimate Wine Aroma kit – official site (have not seen or tried these)

 

While the emphasis of gift giving focused on this time of year, I see no reason why to not continue giving and making people close to us happy throughout the entire year – so the ideas herein are not just applicable for the Christmas holidays. From GrapeSelections, I would like to wish everyone happy and safe holidays. Cheers, Dan.
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