Wine makes a wonderful gift for any occasion, however, when you are choosing a wine, there are many things you may want to consider before you make a purchase. Whether you choose a red wine, a white, a champagne or sparkling wine, you’ll want to consider your budget, the occasion and the person you are buying for. While that can seem like a lot of options to consider, we’ve compiled some suggestions to make choosing wine as a gift fun and practical.
What's your wine budget?
How much we spend on gifts is one of those questions we always want a definite answer to, but never seem to get. A gift is something we give to celebrate a friendship or an occasion without expecting anything in return, and as such, deciding on a budget should both compliment the occasion and your wallet.
Regardless of your budget, you can find a great wine that will be appreciated and enjoyed. If you want to find a great red wine for under $25 consider an Argentinian Malbec, which is a smooth medium-bodied red with flavors of plum, black cherry, cocoa and leather. Malbec wines are notoriously value-priced, and you’ll find a larger selection in the lower price ranges, compared to the more expensive Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon red wines.
Red Bourdeaux, on the other hand, opens up a world of spending opportunities from $20 to well over $1000. Bourdeaux wines from France have an excellent and romantic reputation and are well-known for their bright ruby color, bold fruity and earthy flavors and delightful smoothness.
You can choose red Bourdeaux wines by the vintage, as some vintages are known for producing exceptional wines in all the vineyards, while others are not as highly regarded. If you want a legendary and expensive gift, consider the historic 1961 vintage, or for simply remarkable and more value-priced red Bourdeax's, consider the 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 vintages.
Who are buying wine for?
Before you decide on the varietal type of wine to buy, think about who you are buying for and what you know about their wine tastes and wine experience.
For Novice Wine Drinkers
If you are buying wine for a novice wine drinker, consider popular whites such as the light-bodied pinot grigio, which has floral and stone fruit aromas with a touch of spice and is typically a very crisp, fresh-tasting wine.
For Experienced Wine Drinkers
If you are buying for an experienced wine drinker or connoisseur, you can choose a pinot gris, which is actually made from the same grape as pinot grigio, however, pinot gris has a fuller body with a spicier, richer flavor profile and is both good to drink now or can be aged or cellared and become a part of your recipients wine collection..
What’s the occasion for wine?
Why are you giving the gift of wine; dinner party gift, host/hostess gift, holiday, birthday or wedding? The reason you are buying wine as a gift can help narrow your choices as well. If you’ve been invited to a dinner party and want to take a wine to share, you can ask your host or hostess what’s on the menu and pair a wine with the meal or bring a dessert wine to pair with dessert. (Learn more in "How To Pair Wine With Dessert.")
If the dinner party is casual or a potluck, pick up a pinot noir. Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine with berry and cherry aromas that pairs very well with a large variety of foods such as pasta, poultry, fish and red meat.
If you want to bring a dessert wine try aSpanish sweet or Cream Sherry. sweet or Cream Sherry is a fortified wine that has a creamy, sweet, slightly saline flavor profile that pairs incredibly well with many different types of desserts such as cheesecake, chocolate and fruit pies. (More in "Fortified Wines: The Difference Between Marsala, Port & Sherry.")
If you are giving the gift to a person or couple and the wine isn’t meant to be consumed at the event, then you can pick a wine you think the host/hostess may enjoy and is fun to drink. Italian Prosecco is a sparkling white wine with refreshing flavors of apricot, peach and pear, it makes a great gift for a hostess or a wedding. (See also "What's the Difference Between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco?")
The best part of getting a gift (besides getting a gift) is unwrapping it. While wrapping a wine bottle can be frustrating and doesn’t really disguise the gift, you can choose adorable wine bags, wine sweaters, classic boxes that you wrap with paper and bows or even include your wine in a basket with other gifts. No matter how you choose to wrap the wine, make sure you include a card, and tell the recipient a little story of why you picked the wine for them and why you’ll think they’ll like it, because the real gift we give people is thinking about them and showing them that we care about who they are and what they like, and giving them a delicious wine to drink is just a bonus.