Booze may be a safe gifting bet for many people, but it can also be a little boring, predictable, uninspired, impersonal -- I could go on. I mean, let's say you went ahead and made a batch of wine, whiskey or beer to give out as gifts, then you might get a pass. Otherwise, a bottle of wine is nice, but not likely to stick out in the sea of gift-giving this time of year. That doesn't mean you should discount the category altogether.
Wine-inspired gifts and wine accessories make a far more interesting way to surprise and delight the wine drinker on your list. From giggle-inducing wine glasses to gadgetry 007 himself would approve of, these are some the best vino and vino-adjacent gifts to give a wine lover this year.
Karen MacNeil's seminal work on wine is a must-have for any true wine drinker. Many have lauded it as the most complete wine book ever, and it contains loads of useful and usable information -- no matter what level wine drinker you are -- from the history of wine and wine-making to the intricacies of the many regions and varietals.
There are mixed feelings (including from myself) about how effective the Wine Wand actually is in delivering on its claims to alleviate wine hangovers. When dipped into a glass of wine, the filter is said to remove histamines and sulfites, to which many attribute that next-day fogginess. A pack of eight is just $20, which, if it works for you, is a small price to pay for a clear head the morning after.
This gilded velociraptor wine stopper is a fun way to cap that unfinished bottle of wine. I'm told that dinosaurs don't drink, so you don't have to worry about this fella pilfering a glass (but no guarantees).
This funky wine decanter makes a lovely wine gift and looks like it cost way more than 25 bucks. It's not just a good way to get all-important oxygen flowing through your wine, but a smart addition to your holiday dinner table decor.
Form meets function with this gold-brushed metal wine rack, which is bookended with smart, built-in wine glass holders. It makes the most of a small space and it looks pretty cool too.
Keeping a bottle of white chilled once it lands on the table isn't easy, especially if you drink your wine at a normal human pace. (No judgments if you don't.) Kept in the freezer, the Corkcicle does exactly what you think it would do, plus it aerates the wine as you pour. That's what we in the biz call a "wine-win-win"!
These clever soaps aren't made from wine, but with ingredients and notes meant to replicate popular varietals like berry, plum, and apple for pinot noir, and bright citrus for chardonnay. A pack of four is less than $30 and would make a great stocking stuffer.
I'm not usually one for gag gifts, but I can't help it with this one. I love the idea and the execution is even better. I'm sure washing these shark-infested wine glasses is a bit tricky, but totally worth it for the chorus of chuckles.
Of all the many subcategories in the food and drink world, wine is one of the more complex. That said, a bit of knowledge, know-how and the vocabulary to both understand and express it all goes a long way in helping one enjoy wine more. That's why an intimate online course with a master like James Suckling -- a renowned American wine critic -- makes a great gift for the wine drinker you suspect would like to dive a bit deeper.
Ullo works to purify wine, removing sulfites and sediment, which could be great especially if you drink a lot of wines with residual sediment or "dregs," as it's sometimes known. The handblown carafe can be used with or without the filter, too.
If you've got a brave and gadget-obsessed someone on your list, this bottle of Coup Champagne (aged 12 years), which comes with a sleek stopper and a saber (!), is a total win. Sabering is the ultra-flamboyant art of opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. Coup Champagne has managed to create a safe saber that does the job -- but won't separate you from your hand should it slip. But still, please be careful and practice first on a lesser bottle of bubbles.
This might be one of the better wine inventions of late. It allows you to pour wine without removing the cork which means "one- or two-glass" types can pour without technically opening the bottle and exposing the rest of the wine to oxygen. It's also great for folks looking to age their wine -- with the Coravin you can sneak a taste and see if it's ready to roll or needs more time in the cellar.
OK, I know I said giving wine was impersonal, but the one exception may be a subscription. That's because many of these subscriptions can be personalized, and have an engagement and discovery factor, so you're really giving more than just wine. It's more of a wine "experience." Here are some of our favorite wine subscriptions to give yourself or gift this year.