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The Dos and Don’ts of Gifting Wine This Holiday Season


This story is from an installment of The Oeno Files , our weekly insider newsletter to the world of fine wine. Sign up here. We all know the adage “It’s better to give than to receive,” and this is especially true if we’re giving a gift that we have put thought and energy into.

However, as the holidays arrive, and we’re all pulled in a myriad of directions, it can be that much tougher to devote the effort we want to purchase the right presents. Under pressure, we just look for something, anything, to wrap and give so that we’ve done our duty. If we’re being honest, this approach doesn’t really convey a sense of holiday spirit or make anyone happy.

You could say, “It’s the thought that counts,” but we all know some gifts are just the products of cheap and crappy thoughts. One way to take that pressure off is to give everyone, when appropriate, gifts from a single category, such as food, housewares, books, or—our favorite—wine. When you narrow your scope to one type of present, you’ll find it focuses your efforts in a way that allows you to be more thoughtful and clever in your choices.

And if you know your giftee drinks wine, whether they’re a friend, family member, colleague, or customer, a great bottle tailored to that person’s tastes is always welcome. However, there are some helpful guidelines to follow and faux pas to avoid, so we’ve curated our list of dos and don’ts for giving wine this holiday season and beyond. Well maybe not spy spy.

You don’t have to be obvious in your pursuit of figuring out what your friend, colleague, or family member wants—because gifts are supposed to be surprises—but there’s always an opportunity in conversation to discover the types of wine they are enjoying lately. Don’t be afraid to just outright ask them about favorite regions, varietals, and producers, then follow those leads when it is time to go procure their gift. Once upon a time, we were given a grease and dust covered bottle that clearly came from atop the cabinet over a stove.

(A place you should never keep wine, but you already know that. ) We immediately realized two things: that the wine had not been stored properly and that our “friends” had put less than minimal effort into what they brought us. While we laugh about it now, when we pulled the bottle out of its decorative bag and saw the condition it was in, more than being offended, we were horrified for our friends.

You should really focus on the giftee’s preferences because this is not an occasion to change anyone’s mind about what they like. If your brother-in-law is a hard-core Napa Cab devotee while you’re currently digging orange wine from Slovenia, suck it up and buy the Napa Cab. It’s okay to serve that funky, skin-contact juice at dinner and extoll its charms, but don’t give it as a gift and expect him to like it.

With a little thought you can make your own gift set. Pair bottles with varietal-specific wine glasses, a framed wine map, or a wine book that matches the style you’ve bought. Spend an appropriate amount without going overboard.

Be it your boss or your father-in-law, there are better times to score points than with an embarrassingly expensive giftwrapped bottle. If you want to pour Petrus or Yquem with dinner, that’s your call, but you don’t want anybody feeling like they owe you. If you’re doing a lot of visiting and entertaining, somebody unexpected is going to surprise you with a gift.

(Like your sister-in-law’s aunt. ) You’ll never be caught off guard if you keep a few moderately priced bottles, bagged and ready to go, in the trunk of your car or under the tree. Pre-sign the tag with “Cheers” or “Happy Holidays” and turn potential disappointment into delight.

You don’t need to go on and on about how much you dropped on that bottle or how hard it was to snag. Your mother was right, nobody likes a braggart. And guess what? Everyone has Google.

Say you bought up a ton of a particular wine and it turn out to be terrible, like Tom from Succession ’ s Spätburgunder that was described derisively as “funky,” “agricultural,” and “Germanic. ” Well, Shiv’s striver husband tried to offload that plonk on whomever he could, but don’t follow in Tom’s footsteps. Do not view gifting as the chance to give away bottles from your cellar you don’t want anymore.

It’s a gift. And like any gift, your hosts can do whatever they want with it. If they are into wine and have planned dinner, no doubt they have anticipated which wine to serve with each course.

Nobody needs a curveball at the last minute, so graciously hand over your beautifully wrapped bottle and enjoy what’s on offer. If you are bringing a gift to a party rather than a sit-down dinner, it’s perfectly alright to bring a separate bottle, perhaps a sparkling or white that goes with appetizers. We like to bring the bottle to open now in a chiller bag with ice or chilled bottle sleeve, and we make sure that the host knows that this one is for the bar.

On the other hand, the gift bottle should be presented with the explanation that it is a holiday gift, to be enjoyed at a later time. Just because some influencer was touting a bottle or it was right there in front of your face on a giant display when you walked into the liquor store doesn’t mean it’s the right wine for the occasion. Gift giving should feel good and come from the heart rather than being a chore.

If your co-worker is still raving about that trip to Tuscany last summer, go for a Brunello or Riserva Chianti. Your cousin loved White Lotus? There’s a Sicilian bottle with her name on it. Your best friend just posted his 1,000-day Spanish streak on Duolingo? He will definitely say “gracias” when he unwraps some Rioja.

With a little attention to your wine gifts, everyone on your list will surely think, at least just this once, that it is far better to receive. In all honesty, few of us possess the charm and charisma to swagger through city streets in an overcoat and gloves clutching a bottle of bubbly. If you are giving wine this season, load up on tissue paper, wine bags, boxes, and wrapping paper.

After all, you are giving a gift. Make your bottle of wine look like one. Want more exclusive wine stories delivered to your inbox every Wednesday? Subscribe to our wine newsletter The Oeno Files today!.

From: robbreport
URL: https://robbreport.com/food-drink/wine/wine-gifting-rules-1235446493/

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