Wine lovers and sommeliers can be hard to buy for. No one wants to give wine to someone who likely knows more about it than they do (although seriously, it really is about the thought not the demonstration of your vintage knowledge or the bottle’s price tag). Luckily there are some presents that are both affordable and really enjoyable whether you’re looking to give or hoping to receive. And remember, not all gifts for wine lovers have to be booze based. Wine and food go hand in hand, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who loves wine and doesn’t either cook or eat a lot. So there.
Artisan Bamboo Salt Sampler – $124.95 – BUY IT
People have gone home on Top Chef for under-seasoning food and back in the day spices were used as currency, so it’s safe to say that salt is pretty important. While some people may think salt is salt is salt, foodies know that just isn’t the case. This sampler has 24 glass jars with hand-milled cork tops (important for a tight, moisture-blocking seal) all displayed in a beautiful lockable box, but the real star is the salt itself. A sprinkle of smoked or citrus-imbued salt can completely change a dish – and a wine pairing, too.
“Whip it Good” Funny Foodie T-Shirt – $25.00 – BUY IT
There are few places funnier than a restaurant kitchen or wine cellar after a busy night. The best pros are the ones who can laugh at themselves, and this t-shirt is perfect for those with that winky sense of humor.
Pullparrot Waiter’s Corkscrew – $8.95 – BUY IT
Unless you’re going to be opening very old vintages or just want a flashy accessory, those super expensive corkscrews are nothing but a waste of money. Give you wine-loving pro (or pro-to-be) this simple-yet-effective model that has everything they need: a sharp knife for cutting foil; a long, Teflon or otherwise coated hinge that can handle larger corks and slide in and out with little resistance; and a double-lever system for popping those corks out with ease.
Champagne Cork Cufflinks – $40.00 –
For the oenophile who has everything, there are these made-to-order cork cufflinks. Order a random pair or send in a special cork – perhaps from a birthday or anniversary bottle – and get a customized pair in return.
Brooklyn Brine Artisan Pickles – $55 for a 6-pack – BUY IT
Somms love acid and most will pucker up for these pickles just as soon as they’d swoon over a Riesling or Nebbiolo (both great food wines, by the by, and there’s a definite connection there).
Syrah Decanter from Tiffany’s – $40 – BUY IT
There are some truly beautiful big-budget decanters out there, but you don’t have to spend a car payment on a crystal vase in order to aerate and enjoy a bottle of wine. Once you know when you should be decanting, ask for one of these wallet-friendly decanters and Bob’s your uncle! Plus, it’s a good way to get something from Tiffany’s that doesn’t require a life-long commitment to either another person or your bank.
Three Nights Wine Box – $130 – BUY IT
Rather than wrapping up a gifted bottle of wine in newspaper or the plastic shopping bag from the store you bought it in, class things up with this triple-tiered box. Fill it with three bottles of a wine that will age well and send with directions to open a bottle now, in 5 years, and in 10 years. It’s thoughtful and the box looks great way after what’s inside has been enjoyed – unlike that plastic bag. There are beautiful personalized versions available too for only a few bucks more.
Wine Aroma Kit – Varies – BUY IT
Part of learning about wine is developing the ability to discern different aromas within the wine and associate them with varietals, regions, and even specific vineyards (though you usually need a combination of identifying factors for that). Wine aroma kits include tiny vials that you can sniff and compare to a wine and in the process build a sort of sensory catalog. It’s also really fun at parties. Aromaster also has kits for beer, sake, and cognac aromas, just to name a few.