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Tips on How to Gift Wine for the Holidays

You want to gift some wine for your friends and family, but you aren’t sure what to get them, what to get with it, how to package it up and if they will even like it!  Some things to know are the types of wines that go with certain tastes, what food goes well as a gift and the best way to make that gift pop!  Wine is not just alcohol in a bottle, its history, an educated process, a delicate balance of flavors and a foodie’s best friend.

What wine do I get?

When you are gifting wine, you will want to know a little about the receiver.  Observe what they get out to dinner, what they have in their wine rack, what they keep in the fridge, or just ask what they prefer.  Most people are very particular.

They are ‘reds only’ kind of people, ‘sweet wine’ only kind of people, ‘white wine’ only kind of people, etc.  A great way to gift wine is to think about what they like to eat and what they order out.

If they lean towards dark meats, beef, rich smoky flavors and meals similar in taste, then you want to focus on Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petite Verdot, blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Try the wines from Halter Ranch, Sculpterra, Lone Madrone , Brecon Estate and Justin.

If they are more apt to eat seafood and chicken with citrus flavors, Thai curries, creamy sauces and Latin spice, you could probably do well with giving them a white wine such as a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Voignet, a dry Muscat or a dry Riesling. You could also do a crisp, dry Rose’ that comes from more Spanish grapes like Grenache and Temperanillo.  Some great choices of these wines come from wineries such as Rangeland, Four Lanterns, Shale Oak, and Peachy Canyon.

If they love Italian food of any kind, tangy dishes with high acidity, pork, lamb, caprese’ salad, bruchetta, tomato based soups, tangy stews and light meats then they would love a good Italian wine like a Sangiovese or a Primitivo. They would also probably like Merlot, Barbera, Petit Syrah, Grenache, Temperanillo, Mouvedre and Chianti.  Some excellent wineries that feature these varietals are Opolo, August Ridge, Rabbit Ridge , Harmony Cellars and Arroyo Robles.

What do I give with the wine?

Luckily most winos are also foodies so any winery that has a boutique, offers accessories for wine or for cooking, or shops with gourmet foods and oils will fit the bill.  Try to gift it with food that doesn’t spoil unless you aren’t traveling far or you don’t need to ship it!  Cheese in a box cross country is a bad, stinky idea.  However, a goat Gouda, a creamy blue cheese or an aged cheddar at that awesome cocktail party down the street will do very nicely!  Olive oils from local orchards, either extra virgin or enhanced with oils like Meyer lemon and basil are great for pairing and most of the time you can taste them before.  Some great picks there are Pasolivo and Olive Diva!  Cheese plates with little knives, funny wine quotes on dish towels or coasters, fancy cork openers and aerators, wine cork stoppers with fancy tops, wine glass charms, wine pairing recipe books and other related gifts are all welcome with winos.  Another great gift is a year long membership to a great winery you know they will love so they can keep on getting the wine shipped to them.

If you want to get real fancy, give them a gift certificate for a helicopter wine tour of Paso Robles from Paso Air Tours, or a night at a swanky hotel in wine country like Adelaide Inn, or a fantastic winemaker’s dinner at Justin the Restaurant!

How do I package it all up?

So you have your wine bottles, some goodies in jars, a small cutting board and a bottle of olive oil…how in the heck do you wrap it?  Well there is a reason ‘wine baskets’ are so popular!  They display the wine, the beautiful gourmet foods and the accessories in a manor that makes it look special and well thought out.  Grab a large circular basket or a low rectangular one from a place like Michael’s Crafts, some clear or colored cellophane, some ribbon and some shredded paper filler (looks similar to Easter grass but is paper).  Fill the bottom of your basket up with the filler, then carefully tuck each item in so that they look like a storefront display, make sure they are secure so they don’t roll around.  Once you get it all set up, wrap it up in a few long sheets of cellophane so it covers the whole thing nicely with room at the top to add a bow.  Take your ribbon and tie it up at the top and add your card…walla! There is always the perfect picnic basket to fill up as well, or a standard wine gift bag, jeweled wine covers, and beautiful wine gift bags!

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