How to Choose Gift Wine

Omeron Travel
on 25th October, 2021
6 minutes read
Gift Wine

Buying the perfect gift for your loved ones can be pretty daunting, especially during the holidays. One easy fix to this never-ending dilemma of choosing a thoughtful yet useful present is opting for a fine bottle of wine. 

Although a neat present, choosing gift wine can still be quite a struggle if you are not familiar with the person’s taste or unacquainted with your own for that matter. So, what is the process of choosing the perfect gift wine for your beloved ones? Let’s find out!

The Elimination Process

This process is by far the easiest one since eliminating the ones which have a higher probability of being unsuitable gift wines will allow you to look into the ones which have an actual potential of being the crowd-pleaser at a party. 

It is perhaps important to note that labels can be quite perplexing, especially if you are walking into a store on a whim to choose a good enough bottle of wine as a gift. Hence, even though the following wines could be a great choice right up their own forte, it is still probably best if you steer clear of them. 

Most people are generally not too exploratory when it comes to their preference for wine. Unless of course, they like being adventurous with their bottle of wine or you are sure that they genuinely like the specific bottle of gift wine you have in mind for them. 

So, in order to avoid the tragic situation of your wine being re-gifted to somebody else, or worse, being washed down the sink, play it safe by eliminating the following bottles of wine. 

Spirited/Fortified Wines 

Drinks strengthened with alcohol or spirits are best left avoided as they are generally deemed fit for those who have developed a certain liking to their taste for them. These include sherry, port, Marsala Madeira, and many more. 

Fruit Wines 

Fruit wines tend to be very specific in terms of their taste and you will really be stretching it by assuming that the recipient of the gift wine may like the particular fruit wine you have in mind.  

Dessert Wines 

While some love their intense sugary drinks like ice wine or late harvest wine, others don’t necessarily enjoy the concentrated syrupy tang of these drinks. 

Uncommon Varieties & Regions 

It is perhaps best to stick to the grape wines that you are conversant with when it comes to giving wine as gifts. That way, you will know what to expect even if you are unsure of the brand. 

The same goes for unestablished regions because why lose risking it when you can play it safe by choosing something more generic to the taste. 

Infused/ Flavoured Wines 

Again, not everyone shares the same fondness for a specific flavor of the wine. Vermouth, Greek Retsina wine, and mulled wine are good examples to watch out for.

Concentrated Wines 

It is difficult to play your cards right when you narrow down your options to bottles that are extremely powerful in their element. This may as well include red wines which have an intensified powerful flavor to them, along with the ones which are way more ‘oaky,’ ‘sweet,’ or ‘buttery’ than usual. 

Examples of these rich wines include Vin Santo, Italian Asti Spumante, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or Muscat. 

Pink Wines or Rosé 

Rosés are to drink seasonally and hence do not fall under the scope of good gift wines unless they are cherished right away. More so, not everyone is a fan of the blush pink wine. 

Wines on Sale 

Who doesn’t like a good bargain in a bottle of wine? However, if you look at the discounted price tags from hindsight, you will realize that these bottles are on sale for a reason. Chances are, they are not up to the mark in terms of quality or taste, which, again is a clear indication that you should not opt for them either. 

Celebrity Labels 

DON’T put these in the basket unless you are very sure that the recipient of the gift wine is a fan of the celebrity in question. 

Homemade Wines 

Let’s put it this way; people are not going to be as fascinated by your creation unless you are a wine manufacturer yourself, who is, to say the least, moderately well-known and still in business. 

Huge-Format Wines 

Not only are these problems to store because of their larger than usual size, but they are also difficult to finish once opened, making them suitable for a larger crowd only. 

Cheap Packaging 

Wines that are stored in special bottles that are shaped differently or designed with tree ornaments tend to be the worst in terms of quality. 

Boxed Packaging 

Wines that come in boxes or cans should not be gifted since they come off as cheap alternatives to real bottled wines. 

Wines to Buy

Now that we have established which wines to not opt for while choosing a gift wine, we will know to look into the ones which will pose as the best, second-best, and third-best options for you:

Sparkling Wine

If anything reeks of the holiday season, it’s the sparkling wine bottles lying on the shelves of every liquor store near you. Nothing seems more festive than a bottle of good sparkling wine and it is, without a doubt, your safest bet in case you are second-guessing yourself. 

Originating from the best wine-making region of France, a glass of sparkling wine is the universally recognized drink for celebrations and can be the perfect gift wine for your friends and family during special occasions. 

Not to mention, a glass of sparkling wine pairs well with almost everything on the menu and even makes the food itself taste better. It cleanses your palate after every bite with its crisp-like nature making every little morsel of food more delectable than the other. 

Lastly, nothing speaks more ‘classy’ than a glass of bubbly sparkling wine at an event!

Recommended Bottles:

  • VQA Niagara/British Columbia (Canada) Sparkling Wine. Quite similar to the grapes used for manufacturing Champagnes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, a bottle of British Columbia sparkling wine is undeniably on top of the list due to being a fan favorite of sparkling wine enthusiasts. 
  • French Champagne. A classic bottle of French Champagne is really all that you need to set the mood right for any occasion and hence, make perfect bottles of gift wine for anyone. 
  • Cremant de Bordeaux, Cremant de Alsace, Cremant de Loire. Sold within the price range of $15-25, these sparkling wine bottles are of top-notch quality originating from France. 

White Wine

More prevalent as the ‘thirst-quenching wine, white wines are best served cold and taste exceptionally palatable when coupled with meats like ham, turkey, chicken, duck, goose, etc. 

Plus, white wines serve as great ice breakers during dinner parties which increase the chances of the gift recipient truly appreciating the value of a bottle of white wine as a gift. 

Recommended Bottles:

  • Pinot Gris. Similar to Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is comparatively more complex, sophisticated, and chic in terms of taste and gives off a regal drink feel to it when enjoyed at parties. 
  • Off-dry Riesling. Tastes best when the sweetness is perfectly balanced and is absolutely refreshing to the mouth, even when paired with food. 

Red Wine

While being slightly pricier than white wines due to their manufacturing process, reds make a perfect gift for people who like more complex flavors in their glass of wine. 

Recommended Bottles:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon/California Merlot. Ranging from $25-30, these are some of the best bottles of red wine known to humankind. You may obviously find labels with cheaper price tags, but don’t be fooled by numbers because they don’t reflect on the quality of the wines unless you are acquainted with the taste already.
  • Spanish Rioja. In one word, ‘PERFECT’, checks all the points, starting from price to flavor. 
  • French Bordeaux. If you are looking to impress, this is IT. These bottles that are manufactured in France taste even more heavenly when it’s vintage. Although it comes with a higher price tag, you can be positive that your gift wine will definitely be a hit. 

Ready To Pick Your Gift Wine Off The Shelf?

If safe is what you are aiming for during this holiday season, sparkling wine is the one to go for. However, one thing that you might want to consider when purchasing a good bottle of gift wine is the ‘season’ since there is a risk of the wine tasting a little off-putting during different times of the year. 

A few pointers that you may want to take notes of is that white wines like Riesling, Merlot, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc taste better during summer, while Viognier, Merlot, Pinot noir, and Chardonnay are absolute pleasers during the fall season. 

On the other hand, spring pairs well with fruity scents like Unoacked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and winter is perfect with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bordeaux, and Zinfandel!

In case you still want to try something experimental, you can always buy a bottle of your favorite wine, which will not only be a nice gesture but will also be thoughtful since you will be sharing your wine preferences with your loved ones.