Wine is the perfect holiday gift. Even if the recipient doesn’t drink wine, it’s still useful for everyone to keep a bottle around the house for company or to take to an event. Wine is also fantastic for re-gifting—and sometimes the best present you can give someone is preventing them from showing up somewhere empty-handed and looking like a jerk. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Since it can be overwhelming to pick one bottle out of the thousands available, here are some tips to suit everyone on your list.
Obviously you want this bottle to impress, unless you have the kind of relationship with your boss where you can buy them a wine with Bitch scrawled across the label (yes, this really exists) and get away with it. Barolo or Châteauneuf-du-Pape are great choices if you can afford them (and you know they like Old World wine); higher-end Californian or Canadian red blends are great for those who prefer fruitier, New World styles.
Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (France)
Duckhorn Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon (United States)
Laughing Stock Portfolio (Canada)
Wines with funny and/or clever names or labels are perfect for coworkers, since they are entertaining and memorable—they’ll probably open it up right at the office in front of everyone, so you want this to have a lasting impact. Australia and the United States lead the world in wacky, gimmicky wines, so head to those sections and you’re bound to find something good.
d’Arenberg The Love Grass (Australia)
Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
King Coal Cabernet Syrah (United States)
Since there’s a very good chance you’ll get to share this bottle, you want to pick something that you’ll like as well. However, since there’s also a good chance that you aren’t only getting your partner a bottle of wine (unless that’s how you two roll, and hey, right on), you don’t want to drop a lot of cash. Go for a great value wine that’s just a little above your usual price range; or go for that interesting/weird/tantalizing bottle they always comment on when you’re at the shop together.
Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block (South Africa)
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant (United States)
Your Partner’s Parents
How much you spend on your partner’s parents is dependent on your relationship with them, how long you’ve been with their kid and how wine-savvy they are, but crowd-pleasing red wines are usually the best choice since they’ll probably open it up right at Christmas dinner or when company calls.
Flor Prosecco (Italy)
Catena Chardonnay (Argentina)
Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Niagara Estate Meritage (Canada)
Your Friend (who knows nothing about wine but wants to learn)
Go for the standard beginner wines: off-dry Riesling if they have a sweet tooth (especially from Germany); New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc if they prefer something dry but fruity (these are so abundant you can just pick one to suit your budget). Pinot Noir from the New World is a good choice for those who want to get into red wine but haven’t yet developed a taste for heavy, full-bodied wines. Don’t buy anything over $20—you don’t want to set unrealistic expectations.
Graff Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling (Germany)
New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir (Chile)
Your Other Friend (who knows lots about wine and you’re afraid to disappoint them)
Something a little obscure or offbeat is usually the best approach to gifts for wine enthusiasts; I highly suggest visiting a specialty wine shop (not a chain liquor store) and asking one of the staff for a recommendation—and if your friend is really wine crazy there’s a good chance the staff will even know them already.
DeWaal Pinotage (South Africa)
Papantonis Meden Agan Agiorgitiko (Greece)
Pisano Cisplatino Tannat Merlot (Uruguay)