Let’s be honest, regardless of your particular interests or good nature – we’ve all received thoughtful presents that ended up in the bin by the 6th day of Christmas. It’s hardly the gift givers fault – it can be tricky to distinguish quality from novelty in a niche you don’t fully understand. Many wine lovers have experienced receiving “wine gift sets” that amounted to little more than a shoddy wine opener, some silvery bits and bobs, and a branded napkin!
>For the wine enthusiast in your life a bottle of their favourite vino is a safe option, but just slightly off the beaten track lays a treasure trove of distinctive and useful gems for the discerning aficionado.
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker (~€7, Amazon UK)
A wonderfully open and accessible read, this immersive exploration through the minds and obsession of the wine world’s top professionals will have even the most apathetic wine cynic completely hooked.
Wine – A Way of Life by Stephen Spurrier (~€15, Amazon UK)
This is one for the more seasoned connoisseur but no less fun. Having orchestrated The Judgement of Paris – the most prolific wine tasting in history where Californian wines achieved unexpected, astonishing global recognition – Stephen Spurrier went on to become one of the most respected names in the world of wine. His disarmingly honest memoirs reveal a life of mischief, misfortune and dry hilarity in an often pretentious and stuffy industry.
Savisto SV-KITC-Z181 Wine Aerator (~€10, Amazon UK)
Picture the scene; the wine lover in your life loves a glass of red but the effort of decanting or breathing the wine is often more hassle than they can summon the effort for, especially after a long day at work. This neat little device allows you to aerate a single glass of wine effectively and simply as you pour. It’s easy to clean and you don’t have to commit to a full bottle every time you pop a cork.
Plaisir de la Cave Wine Decanter & Accessories (~€33, Amazon UK)
Every wine nut needs a trusty decanter. It’s the thoughtful, useful and aesthetic gift that keeps on giving and always impresses at a dinner party. The Plaisir Decanter is elegant and well made of hand-blown crystal glass so it won’t chip easily. The cork stopper and cleaning beads enhance its practicality to keep it going long after the Christmas decorations come down.
Aervana One-Touch Luxury Aerator (~€89, Amazon UK)
A luxurious aerator for the larger gift budget is the Aervana. When you don’t have 2 hours to breathe a wine and aren’t interested in the whole bottle, this nifty device both dispenses and aerates your glass of wine whilst keeping the rest of the bottle relatively sealed. The seal is not hermetic by any means but you should get a week out of a decent bottle without losing much freshness.
The Durand Cork Screw (~€110, thedurand.com)
Another for the connoisseur and one that I have had my eye on for quite some time! The Durand is the combination of two classic wine openers – the Ah-so and the Waiters Friend – and designed specifically for the safe removal of older corks. If you have a friend that enjoys vintage wines at home, this is the perfect gift.
Master Wine Aroma Tasting Kit (~€336, Amazon UK)
This is one of the most useful tools on the market for training one’s memory of sense. Whether your gift is for a Sommelier, Connoisseur or just a wine lover, tasting – blind or otherwise – is an integral aspect of wine appreciation and this kit allows one to hone those skills with unparalleled comprehension. Created by Sommeliers at Aromaster, the set boasts scents from red, white, sparkling, fortified and sweet wines, winemaking techniques and even wine faults. It also comes with a beautifully designed board game allowing you to make the experience more fun and immersive for your friends or tasting group.
Riedel Decanter Mamba (~€550, Riedel.com)
Ok, so most wine geeks have a decanter or two but this one is special. Occupying a space between art and practical use, Riedel have designed the hand-blown Mambo as the ultimate luxury decanter for young, wild wines. The Mambo also comes as part of the Fatto A Mano range of optically blown glass decanters for ~€444, but either, way it’s a considerable investment in beautiful glassware that will have friends and family in awe.
Buying a Christmas gift for the wine enthusiast in your life needn’t be the chore it seems at first to be. Whether they need help opening their favourite old bottle, a vessel to pour it into or even a book to enjoy whilst sipping – this list is your first and last port of call for wine gifts through the impending storm of Christmas shopping.
Rory Conniffe is a WSET Diploma student and Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Internationally experienced in fine dining, he currently lives and works in Belfast, plying his trade in Michelin starred restaurant; Deanes Eipic.
Having recently transitioned from business development and sales management back to hospitality, Rory is preparing to pursue higher level Sommelier certification and to expand his professional repertoire to include writing and teaching.