Tis the season! Holiday mantle fabulousness, via Jennifer Perkins
Ask anyone who regularly entertains what her most frequently received host gift is, and you’ll hear the common answer: a bottle of wine, of course! It’s easy to understand why: wine is traditional, relatively foolproof, and you can never have too much on hand. But how do you know which wine to bring? And how to set yourself apart as a thoughtful, creative guest and not a cheap or lazy one?
There is a ‘right way’ to gift wine… and we’re here to help. Stick to these sommelier-approved wine gifting tips guaranteed to make you quite literally the toast of the party!
Tip #1: Bring Two Bottles
Two bottles: one for the host, one for the party!
The best host gifts are a thoughtful token of your appreciation for the time, care, and expense of hosting you. They should be something the hosts can look forward to popping on a future occasion, and not simply party fuel for the night. Presenting a single bottle of wine when you walk in the door can be tricky hosts: they will probably feel obligated to open and serve it during the party, which is awkward if they’ve specifically chosen wines for the theme or menu they’re serving (for example, your pricey Bordeaux may not be welcome on the table full of crisp whites at a summer crab boil).
Instead, bring 2 bottles and specifically let them know that one is for them to enjoy in the future, and another they are welcome to open at the party— if they want! You can get creative with gift tags, or bring one chilled and ready to serve and your second bottle at room temperature- with a pretty gift wrap- to take the guesswork out of it for your host.
Tip #2: Spend At Least $25
As we all know, throwing a party can be pricey: between food, decor, beverages, and sometimes even catering help or entertainment. This is not the time to pick up your usual grocery store budget-buy that you typically open on Netflix night. Splurge on something the hosts may not normally buy for themselves. In our experience, this is the best way to make sure you’re invited back!
Tip #3: Give A Wine With A Story
Wine from your recent Tuscany trip? Now that’s an awesome host gift!
Giving wines with a great story, or at least some context, makes them a memorable gift. It’s the thought that counts, after all! Have you recently traveled to Sonoma, Bordeaux, Tuscany? Get in the habit of collecting souvenir bottles to have on hand for gifting occasions; or check your local wine shop for for those regional selections. Include a note sharing a special memory, like how you enjoyed sipping Chianti in Florence last summer and how you’d love to share that experience with them. Or, if you know of a favorite destination of theirs, choosing a wine from that place lets them know you have truly put some thought into your gift.
Tip #4: Presentation Is Everything
Be creative with your presentation! Include a pretty, eclectic wine bottle opener or an eye catching bottle stopper. Another fun touch is to wrap your wine in a pretty tea towel and tie on some decorative dried flowers, fruit, and herbs with twine and floral wire. Not only will they be impressed by your DIY efforts, but they will have the tea towel to use in future. Snazzy wine totes are also cute gifts they can regift or use again!
Tip #5: When In Doubt, Choose Champagne
Champagne is the only wine you can gift that is truly foolproof. Decadent, luxurious, and universally loved by wine drinkers everywhere, you simply cannot go wrong with Champagne. Just keep in mind that while sparkling wine is made everywhere; true Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. (Learn more about sparkling wine styles here). The combination of the climate, soils, and time-tested production methods filled with painstaking craft produces a sparkling wine like no other place in the world. When you’re making efforts to impress, bypass the Prosecco and Cava and go for the real-deal iconic sparkling wine: Champagne. Cheers!