I find that there is nothing better than giving a bottle of wine as a gift during the holidays! It’s important to remember, as with all gift giving, that everyone who loves wine appreciates a thoughtful choice. Here’s a few tips on how to pick out the perfect wine as a gift:

Consider the Receipient

When gifting wine (or any gift, for that matter) it is always most important to think about who is receiving the gift. Consider the taste and palette of your friend/family member. Do they usually drink white or red, dessert wines or sparklers? Try not to simply pick up a really pricey Pinot because “Pinot’s are popular right now.” Think of what the recipient would really enjoy. If you don’t know the recipient’s taste, never fear!

Narrow Down Your Choices

There’s a lot of wine for sale out there!! So a good place to start is to narrow down your choices. It’s also helpful to limit your options to a certain country or region. Does your friend have special love for Argentinian wines or will California wine from Sonoma do just fine? If going this route, it’s best to stick with the classics such as a German Rhine Riesling or an Italian Barbera.

Be Open to Something New

Maybe you graced with a fantastic memory and you can recall that your loved adored that bottle of Napa Valley Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2004! Surely, it would make an extra special surprise if you were to find that bottle once again. However, it is good to realize that past vintages may not be available anymore; they certainly won’t have such bottles lying around in your local wine shop. Perhaps you can do some extensive research online to find the particular bottle that your friend so enjoyed. But to make it easier for you, be open to trying other vintages or wines with similar characteristics. Consult your wine specialist in a retail shop to see if there might be a good alternative.

**I currently work in a wine retail shop and I’ve had countless customers come in this holiday season searching for “that one specific bottle” only to go away disappointed. Try something different…trust me, the recipient of your gift will not complain about the opportunity to taste a new, interesting wine!

When the Giver Knows Best

Sometimes you want to give the gift of wine just because you know how fabulous it is and feel obliged to share the wealth. Maybe you have tried the bottle before and know it to be particularly stellar. Or perhaps the wine is a precious bottle that has been vanquishing in your own private collection. If this is the case, be sure to include a note explaining our choice and how you loved it or perhaps even brag a little bit so everyone understands that this is a “special bottle.” It will make the recipient feel extra special, too! Presentation Makes All the Difference Make your gift stand out by finding a lovely wine gift bag for the packaging. There are so many beautiful bags that are festive and bright (and usually covered in glitter!) so be sure to think about the presentation of your gift. Many wine retailers now carry them so think to add the purchase of the bag into your holiday budget.

Still stumped? Give a classic wine gift of champagne or port! You can’t go wrong.