Giving the Gift of Wine, Part 2: Friends and Family

gift 2 12.04.12Now we’re moving on to the more personal, potentially fraught gift-giving category: friends and family.  It’s one thing if your neighbor doesn’t love the Prosecco you gave her (is it humanly possible not to love fruity, fizzy wine?), but what about your best friend, or your spouse? Giving a wine gift that hits just the right notes, that is personal, yet enjoyable, can be tricky.  Here some things to think about.

old wine bottleThat One Perfect Bottle?  Often we see customers set on the idea of finding that one perfect bottle for a friend or relative.  But sometimes that one impressive bottle can seem more like a challenge than a gift.  The recipient ends up wondering, when is the ‘right time’ to open this?  What do I eat with it?  Am I doing this right?!

Instead of one perfect bottle, how about 3 or 12?  Presenting someone with an assortment of great wines they’ll love that are more ‘Saturday Night’ than ’25th Anniversary’ can take the pressure off and ensure that they’ll actually open and enjoy the bottles you picked for them.  We’re always heartbroken when we go through a customers’ collection and find bottles that are well past their prime because their owner never found the right time to open them – a tragic fate for any gift!

Consider a Theme. Related to the assortment suggestion is to consider a theme when putting together a group of wines.  Of course, one of our $99 or 90-Point Case Samplers is a great choice.  But if you want to do something a little different, tell us about the recipient.  Does he love barbecue?  Let us put together an assortment of wines that are great for spicy food.  Did your best friend Sally spend a semester in Paris when she was 21 and hasn’t stopped sighing about the chic little bistros?  We’ll help you put together a great assortment of everyday French wines that will take her back.

When you approach connecting to the recipients’  travel or experiences this way, finding a great gift is much easier.  Deciding to try and find an exact wine your friend Sally had can end up being more trouble than it’s worth, as the wines you have when you’re actually in the country aren’t always available in the US.  So, think ‘an assortment of wines from the Piedmont’ rather than ‘here, I found the exact wine you had in that restaurant, Harry!’  You’ll save yourself a potential headache, freeing time for more pressing holiday season tasks like eating cookies and drinking Champagne.  It’s important to have priorities.

Hunting for specific vintages can be similarly frustrating.  If you’re looking for a recent vintage, the world’s your oyster.  If your target vintage is longer ago than about 10 years, finding a wine of quality that’s affordable can be really, really difficult.  As with the travel example, loosening up your theme can make your life much easier.

Giving a gift that the recipient has never had before, and isn’t a well-known brand can seem like a leap, but with a little finessing, it doesn’t have to be.  Instead of presenting your friend or family member with a bottle and leaving them to figure it out, include a card with a little explanation.  It doesn’t have to be long.  It can be something like, “Hi Susan!  Congratulations on your promotion.  Here’s a bottle of Champagne from a unique winemaker who marches to the beat of his own drum, just like you!  Try this with smoked salmon or duck.  Cheers!”

If you’re shipping your gift, be sure to leave plenty of time, and check out this page if you’re interested in local delivery.  Let us take something off your plate!

It may be a cliché, but it really is the thought that counts in gift giving, not the dollars spent or points a wine has earned.  And with that, we bid you happy shopping, and a wonderful holiday season.

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