Wine gifts for Christmas are a safe bet whether the recipient is a wine fanatic or merely a regular consumer because, for reasons which are beyond me, wine is seen as a bit of a luxury and not an everyday necessity so people don’t often buy wine accessories for themselves. Please note that I don’t differentiate gifts for men and women. I’m always amazed that all the wine stuff generally graces the Gifts for Men pages, while women merely get chocolate-related gift ideas! Well, no sexism here!
I treated myself to one of these a few years back and it has given me, and my dinner party guests, no end of pleasure. I don’t use it every day (being naturally a bit of a sloven, if I want to decant a wine, I usually just pour the wine into a jug) but for special occasions, for special wines, for special friends I bring out the big guns – my longed-for, self-purchased-because-I’m-worth-it Riedel Decanter. It’s both a joy to look at and to use, just impossible not to love.
Coravin 1000 £269 www.coravin.co.uk
Believe me, any lover of fine wine with a few bottles stashed away will love this. It ‘allows you to access, pour and enjoy your favourite wines by the glass whenever you like, without pulling the cork.’ I’ve seen it in action and it works. (Santa, please pop one in my stocking.)
Wine Glass Draining Rack £19.95 www.handpickedcollection.com
Possibly not the sexiest present you might buy your loved one, granted, but one that is extremely useful and efficient. And inexpensive. A little tip though to ensure peace and goodwill on Christmas morning, avoid including a pack of marigolds with this; perhaps add a Riedel glass or two instead. The draining rack helps to avoid breakages, tidemarks and smears, leaving your glasses clear and bright after washing.
Membership to The Wine Society £40
This is practical on so many levels: you can buy the gift online, it requires no expensive postage, it lasts a lifetime and, as such, is a gift that just keeps on giving. As a business which is owned by its members, the focus is on pleasure not profit. The Wine Society buyers won’t mind me saying they’ve been around a bit, by which I mean they know what they’re doing, they select well and price keenly, so you can be confident that the wines you buy of the 1500 to choose from, from under £6 a bottle to over £600, are not going to let you down. I wonder that there are still wine lovers out there who are not yet members.
Depending on whether the wine lover in your life is a highbrow connoisseur, an intent learner or a complete and utter rookie more interested in the fun side of wine than the techie stuff, there is a book out there to suit.
The World Atlas of Wine by wine royalty, Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson is now in its 7th edition and a mine of accurate, easy to read information, great maps and beautiful photos. £26 on Amazon.
Pomerol by Neal Martin £50 from www.pomerolbook.com and Bordeaux Legends by Jane Anson £31.83 (Amazon) will more than satisfy the Bordeaux lover but for a fun stocking-filler Helen McGinn’s Knackered Mother’s Wine Club is an entertaining read or, more useful, Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2015 is good for popping in your bag (or pocket, indeed) when you go wine shopping. Or get The World’s Shortest Wine Book by Simon Woods for unstuffy wine stuff .
Obviously a membership to BYWine www.bywine.co.uk which is a mere £20 and gives the lucky recipient wine-buying tips and discounts at tastings throughout the year.
Or stick some money on a card for use in Loki Wine Merchant and Tasting House’s sampling machines.
If all will do is a bottle, and to be honest that is the best present of all, but you find selecting a wine daunting and more of a chore than a joy, feel free to email me for advice firstname.lastname@example.org or check out your local wine merchant. They will be able to advise and assist and basically have it all wrapped up for you – quite literally.
Here’s hoping that there’s something vinous in your stocking this Christmas, too.