How to Gift the Perfect Wine to Absolutely Anyone

Pro tip: When in doubt, bring bubbles.

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October 20, 2021
By: Sarah Tracey
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Photo by: Image Source/C. Camarena/Getty Images

Image Source/C. Camarena/Getty Images

A bottle of wine can be tricky to gift. It can feel like an impersonal, last-minute afterthought if you don't have a strategy, but when done right, it can be a thoughtful and creative treat for the wine lover on your list! Follow these tips for wine gifting success.

How to Gift the Perfect Wine Every Time

When in doubt, bring bubbles.

Stopping by the wine shop on the way to a gathering and stumped on which bottle to buy? When in doubt, pick a sparkling wine! Not only are bubbles festive and fun, but they are highly versatile and are sure to pair well with whatever is on the menu. Extra points if you choose a bottle of French Champagne, which is always a treat. While iconic brands like Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon are always welcome, a sparkler from a smaller house may be more memorable. Champagne Drappier Carte d'Or Brut is silky, opulent, and produced from biodynamically farmed grapes.

Large-format bottles are always welcome.

Another excellent option for a party: magnum bottles. These are twice the size of a standard bottle (1500 ml vs. 750) and are impressive to pop and pour. Holiday parties are a time where you can't have too much wine! You can score large format bottles of Italian reds like Barbera without breaking the bank: a magnum of Paolo Pizzorni Barbera d'Asti "La Severina" 2017 is a velvety crowd-pleaser with notes of cranberry and violets and can't be beat for under $20.

Splurge a little.

As a rule, plan to spend more on a host gift bottle than something you might pop on the couch on a casual weeknight. Think of all of the time, money and effort your hosts invested in the evening. This is the time to properly show your appreciation with a special-occasion-worthy wine, like Darioush 2018 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich and concentrated with luxurious dark plum and berry flavors, it's a showstopper that can also be a coveted addition to their wine cellar.

Bring something for the party and something for the host.

Avoid an awkward moment for the host, who might be unsure whether your intent was for the wine to be opened and poured at the party or enjoyed at a later time, by bringing two bottles. Dress them up with gift tags ('For Tonight’/’For Later'), and you'll always be invited back.

The Best Wine for Everyone On Your List

Your boss

For a wine-loving boss, the perfect gift is a bottle that's classic, confident, sophisticated, and a bit of a treat (but not too much of a splurge). One wine that checks all these boxes: Port! A nice Tawny Port, like Taylor's Ten Year Old Tawny, is filled with notes of toasted walnuts, caramel, dried figs and is very warming by a holiday fire.

Your best friend

Keep your bestie in the know about one of the biggest current trends in wine: chillable reds! These are light-bodied, fruit-forward red wines generally lower in alcohol. They are ideally served chilled, and are fantastic wines to sip along with a charcuterie board during a marathon Facetime session. One great source for delicious chillable reds is the Alto Adige region in northern Italy. Look for wines made from Lagrein (like Peter Zemmer Lagrein Riserva Furggl 2017) or Schiava grapes (Manincor Der Keil).

Your favorite service provider

Wine is an excellent 'thank you' to your house cleaner, handyman, mail carrier, hairdresser, and all of those other professionals that you rely on throughout the year. The ideal pick is a tasty and affordable bottle that you can stock up on, so you always have something on hand (also a great thing for that neighbor that drops by with a surprise cookie tin). Some of the best values in wine right now are from Spain's Rioja region: you can find great bottles for under $20, and they make red, white, and rosé wines that are easy-drinking crowd-pleasers. For a crisp, refreshing white, try Ontanon Vetiver Viura 2017, and for a friendly red full of bright cherry and vanilla, try Marques De Riscal Rioja Reserva.

Your kids' teacher

Nobody deserves a great bottle of wine more than the person that educates your children all day! And, we have it on good authority that most teachers would greatly prefer a gift of vino over yet another Starbucks gift card. Prosecco is a great option: The fruity, fizzy Italian sparkler is a wine that anyone can appreciate because of its versatility, It can be mixed into punches or brunch cocktails or popped at a holiday gathering. One tried and true gift tip is choosing something fun and indulgent that your giftee may not usually buy for themselves: Torresella Prosecco Extra Dry fits the bill.

Your cool cousin

We all have that family member who's always up on the hottest food, music, and fashion trends. They have their aesthetic curated, from their art collection to their favorite sneakers. This is the time to find a bottle with a gorgeous and exciting label! The key here is to find a wine that tastes as stunning as it looks (because a cool and edgy label doesn't always mean the wine is great). Intrinsic Red Blend is an intriguing blend based on Malbec and Cabernet Franc, and its fantastic label by street artist Zimmer doesn't even require gift wrap.

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