Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gift Ideas for the Wine Lover

One of the best parts of being "wine" people is that we have no shortage of wine gadgets and paraphernalia. Back when Aaron and I were dating, I had fun getting him wine chillers and cool wine racks.  But now that we are married with a vineyard, he has things like wine tanks and vineyard equipment on his Christmas list.  You might remember my gift shopping dilemma for Aaron from last year.  Needless to say, I kind of miss the fun little gifty type stuff that is easy to wrap and put under the tree.

Growing up, when my dad owned a bowling alley, people would always buy him anything bowling related.  After 27 years, I think he tired of getting bowling ball ties and bowling pin ornaments.  Because really, how many ties does a bowling center owner really need?  Me?  I love getting wine items because we do actually use them.  Maybe I won't be saying that in 27 years when I have wine stoppers coming out my ears, but right now, I think it's fun!  I love to test them out and see what things are really useful, what works best, and what I love so much I want to give as a gift to someone else.  Some things are great for day to day, while others I break out for special occassions.  

There are plenty of nice wine glasses, decanters, fancy wine stoppers and beautiful wine gift baskets that make great gifts, but thought I would share of a few my favorite wine gadgets that we actually use consistently on a regular basis. 

As you are doing your Christmas shopping, maybe you have a wine lover on your Christmas list who would like one of these. 

1.  Wine glass/bottle holder steady sticks

If you live in Minnesota, the weather outside hasn't exactly been screaming "picnic", but when the snow does finally melt next spring, these picnic wine holder steady sticks are pretty slick for when you are picnicing or enjoying a glass of wine outside.  Aaron and I use them when we have a campfire and don't have a flat surface to place our wine glasses. 

And they have one for your wine bottle too, so you don't have to worry about that tipping over either. 

Amazon carries several varieties of these.

2.  Electric Wine Bottle Opener

By now you've probably seen these electric wine bottle openers all over as they have slowly been becoming a hot item the last couple of years.  I admit when I first saw these, I didn't like the idea of them.  There is just something about manually uncorking a wine bottle that adds to the experience of opening a bottle of wine.  But I got over that pretty quickly when I tried this out a few times.  It is so easy and I've never had a cork get stuck or pieces fall into the wine bottle.  Just with a push of the button the cork is out in about 3 seconds. 

You can get pretty fancy with these if you want and splurge on a stainless steel one and spend some extra dough.  But ours is from Target for $19.99 and still going strong after 18 months of use.  Can't beat it.

3.  Countertop Wine Opener

Maybe you're not sold on the electric opener and would rather give a little more of a statement piece, or a more authentic wine opener.  Then go for the countertop rabbit wine opener.  Super easy, no fuss opener at the pull of a lever.  No twisting or holding the bottle in awkward positions.  A great piece to set on top a bar!  We used ours so much we finally had to replace the corkscrew on it. 

4.  Wine Aerator

For those of us who don't have the patience to wait for a bottle of wine to "breathe" before drinking it, the aerator is a must.  Because really, who actually decants wine or waits more than twenty minutes before pouring a glass?  I could give you my description of it, but Crate and Barrel does much better on their website.  Here is what it says, Breathe life into wines instantly, with or without a decanter. The simple act of pouring wine through the aerator increases pressure as you pour, drawing in and mixing just the right amount of air to help wines open up to their full potential. Without a battery, charcoal, or filter, the Vinturi aerator gives you the same enhanced bouquet, fuller flavor and smoother finish you'd get from 1½ hours of decanting. Aerator comes with a convenient stand and velvet storage bag.

5.  Wine Pourer and Stopper

I remember my first time going to a wine tasting and thinking the wine pourers were so cool.  It just made the wine look prettier and crisper.  I thought they were something special just to wineries, until I realized that wasn't the case. 

Back in the day, all of 8 months ago when I was still drinking wine, Aaron and I had no trouble polishing off a bottle of wine just the two of us.  But for those occassions when you open a bottle and need a wine stopper to preserve the wine, this wine pourer and stopper in ONE is awesome.  The lever just opens and closes, so you can pour a glass and then close it up so it doesn't oxidize. 

For entertaining, I like to use these clear dripless wine pourers.  Maybe pair a couple of these with a pretty wine bottle coaster for a gift!

You might recognize these from our unity wine pour from our wedding picture.

I could keep going, but this should give you a good start.  Happy Christmas shopping!