By Missa Capozzo
The holidays are a special time of year, as should be the wine we gift to our friends and loved ones. Special wines don’t necessarily need to equate to expensive or unapproachable. There are a variety of ways you can give a fabulous gift without spending hundreds of dollars on wines your recipient might be afraid to drink.
One of my favorite holiday gifts to create is a festive bag or basket with wine and food pairings. A combination I particularly like is a fruit forward red (think an old vine California Zinfandel) alongside a bag of Brookside dark chocolate covered fruits, a bag of Raspberry Milano Cookies, and a block of sharp cheddar cheese. Or maybe your gift recipient is a Cab lover. Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with dark chocolate mint, is mind-blowing, as is pairing it with horseradish cheddar. Add in an accessory or two, such as a set of unique wine glasses, or perhaps a crystal decanter, and you have a gorgeous basket that will be a huge hit.
Themed gift baskets are a lot of fun to give and receive. A “movie night” theme is a crowd favorite. Create this gift basket around a bottle or two of buttery California Chardonnay and a few bags of buttered popcorn or kettle corn (the ultimate wine and snack pairing). Select a block of locally made cheese and some artisanal crackers, perhaps a few salted caramels, or some white chocolate truffles to include a sweet treat. Add in gift cards for Netflix and/or Hulu, and your recipient will have a fun, cozy plan to enjoy the first snowstorm of the season. Get creative!
Yankee Swaps are a blast, and everyone always seems to fight over the wine! Whether your swap has a $10 or $25 price limit, you cannot go wrong with easy drinking wines with fun, eye-catching labels. People are fascinated with the 19 Crimes line of wines, which have a special app: when you point your phone at the label, it comes to life and tells a story. Personally, I love wine labels that have dogs on them, such as Bar Dog. Middle Sister wines, with their quirky names, such as “Drama Queen,” Mischief Maker,” and “Sweet & Sassy,” are a huge hit with women. Not only will the recipients love the wine inside the bottle, but they will rave about the labels.
There is always a place for high-end or premium bottles of wine, and the holidays are certainly the perfect time of year. With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, this is the ideal time to gift a bottle of nice Champagne, whether mid-range price points, such as Moët & Chandon, or Veuve Clicquot, or the higher end $150+ range, such as Dom Perignon, Cristal, or Krug. These are perfect wines that the recipient can save to open for a special occasion or celebration if they wish.
Cheers to a wonderful holiday season!
About the Author: Missa Capozzo, WSET3, FWS, BWSEd. Missa holds various positions in the wine industry, each of which brings her incredible fulfillment. She teaches students of all levels of experience and interest in classes and leads wine dinners at Boston Wine School, located at VINOvations in Sharon, MA. Missa also works to spread the love for local Massachusetts wines at Hardwick Vineyard & Winery in Hardwick, MA, and is the Director of Sommology at Traveling Vineyard’s corporate office in Ipswich, MA, where she leads the wine and food education program for over 5,000 Wine Guides nationwide. http://winedowntastings.com
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