The people we hold near and dear fall into two categories: those who are easy to buy for and those that make us scratch our heads. Fortunately, if you have a person on your holiday gifting list who falls into the latter and enjoys wine, you’ve found yourself in the right place.
The best wine gifts don’t have to be bottles at all. Think beyond the actual liquid and focus on what makes the experience better. We’re not talking about socks or wine charms because those don’t really elevate the drinking experience (unless they do for you, in which case, you do you!).
We’re talking about accessories that work — tried and true complements to enjoying wine. This concise list of the best wine gifts spans a multitude of budgets and interests. Although, you will notice that glassware is missing. That’s on purpose, knowing that the vessel from which a person chooses to drink can be very personal. Plus, gasp, you wouldn’t want to mess with a meticulously curated glass collection.
While glassware is off the table (literally), a SOMM TV subscription is certainly not. It should go without saying that you and everyone you know should already have a subscription to our wonderful world of wine, food, and travel. If not, you can easily gift an annual subscription to your favorite wine lover(s).
So tuck away your notes app reminding you which cousin likes Cab or which co-worker can’t stand Carménère. Here are the best wine gifts — that aren’t wine; we gotchu!
Vinarmour: Wine Travel Case
If you’ve listened to a SOMM TV podcast lately or seen episodes of Blind Tasting Sessions, you may already be familiar with Vinarmour.
Immaculately crafted by founder Brian Hart, it’s the only carrier to combine protective textiles from the manufacturing of military body armor to deliver unparalleled protection. Not to mention, its aesthetic is on point, integrating Scottish waxed cotton and Horween® Leather that will become even more beautiful and unique with age and use.
“Vinarmour is the best wine carrier in the world, and I stand by that. It’s so beautifully made,” says Jason Wise, founder of SOMM TV and director of the SOMM films.
Admittedly, this is a gift that prices more like an investment (that will literally last a lifetime). Fortunately, we can help with that. Go to Vinarmour.com and enter code the code SOMMTV1976 for a deal you won’t find anywhere else.
SOMM Blinders Card Game
From the creators of SOMM, this blind tasting wine card game is designed for wine lovers of all levels. Grab a group, cover your wines, and get ready to sharpen your wine tasting skills while being strategic and having fun.
As a special holiday treat this December, if you buy two decks of Blinders you can get one free! Treat yourself to all three decks, or give the gift of Blinders to all the wine lovers in your life.
Just add three decks to your cart at BlindersGame.com, and the discount will be applied automatically!
The Wine Bible, 3rd Edition
The Wine Bible is one of the best-selling wine books of all time and recently released its third edition.
The award-winning book, written by wine expert and presenter Karen MacNeil, broaches fundamentals with tips and anecdotes alongside a glossary of 400+ grape varieties and in-depth regional overviews. It’s perfect for those just getting into wine but also an excellent desk-side reference or coffee table addition for wine students and enthusiasts alike.
To learn more about Karen’s writing and wine journey through three editions of The Wine Bible, you can watch my interview with her on SOMM TV.
Let’s be honest, owning any model of Coravin is a win. The revolutionary wine preservation system allows for individual glass pours, preserving the remainder of the bottle for another time.
I chose to highlight the Pivot for a couple of reasons. First, it sits comfortably within a gift-giving budget. Second, it’s a step away from the original Coravin design, which keeps the cork intact. The Pivot requires the removal of the cork, also making it usable on screw cap bottles and, thus, more approachable for casual imbibers.
The design switch-up means wine stays fresh for up to four weeks using the Pivot Stopper. In contrast, other Coravin models, which use the original needle and argon gas design, keep the remainder of the wine fresh for months.
Check out our interview with Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht, and learn how he came up with the idea.
Sparkling Wine Stopper
Having a sparkling wine stopper in your kitchen drawer is life-changing. Full stop. I can’t tell you how often I’ve encountered people who don’t own one, and my jaw drops.
Sure, there’s always the assumption that one can finish the bottle. But what about those Wednesday nights when a glass of Sauvignon Blanc just doesn’t cut it, and you want bubbles?
Assuming the Coravin Sparkling™ system isn’t an option, a simple sparkling wine stopper will do. There are a million design options, but I stand by my chrome-steel stopper with a single-arm device, keeping the pressure intact and allowing my love of Wednesday bubbles to continue into Thursday.
Waters & Wine Puzzle
Many people like to relax with a glass of wine and tackle a puzzle. Waters & Wine put the two together with their series of wine region puzzles.
From France to California to Portugal (coming soon), these brightly designed noodle-scratchers are challenging — even for those with shiny pins saying they’re certifiably savvy about wine.
Suitable for Type-As who never back down from a conquest.
Matthiasson Sweet Vermouth No. 6 Napa Valley
This is what you call a wine gift from left field.
We tried sticking true to not including wines in our list, but we couldn’t help but include this incredible Sweet Vermouth from our dear friend and SOMM film alum, Steve Matthiasson.
Batch No. 6 is mostly Flora (picked very late, with some botrytis and raisins at harvest) with a small amount of Viognier (harvested as raisins and fermented whole cluster). It’s a non-vintage solera blend of the 2016 through 2021 vintages. The older wine gives the dried fruit and spicy-nutty flavors, and the younger wine is more vibrant with fresh fruits.
The tricky part is getting your hands on a bottle. There are only 415 cases of half bottles available, and orders are limited to mailing list members through Christmas.
Wine Away Stain Remover
It’s kind of absurd that wine is often poured over a white tablecloth. It’s like the wine industry and the table linen industry (is that a thing?) didn’t converse with one another before agreeing to be intertwined for all eternity.
Nonetheless, Wine Away fixes any pouring mishaps. And I can back it because it’s in my cupboard and has been used more often than I care to admit.
It tackles fresh or dried stains without bleach. Just saturate, let it sit for a few minutes, and blot until the stain vanishes!
Donate to an Organization
If the wine lover in your life is someone that truly has everything — then consider making a donation on their behalf to one of the growing number of programs that support a more diverse wine industry.
- The Roots Fund provides 20 scholarships for BIPOC to attend enology and viticulture programs and wine schools.
- Wine Unify provides tuition for WSET classes, tasting kits, and networking opportunities.
- Cal Poly Scholarship Fund provides financial support to students of color, mentorship, and internship opportunities in wine and viticulture.
- Delicato Family Wines Winemaker Scholarship for BIPOC provides full tuition, living expenses, professional development, and industry experience for students who plan to study viticulture and enology at either one of these campuses: University of California, Davis, California Polytechnic State University, and California State University, Fresno.