By Karen MacNeil and the WineSpeed Team
Chances are you need gifts. And we’ve got ideas for some great ones.
From the serious to the sublime, and from the funny to the fascinating, here are some of our favorite ideas for gifts any wine-drinker would love. And a few of them you might just want to give yourself. Check out our list below.
What Makes Wine Worth Drinking?
Wine writer and importer Terry Theise has just released a wonderful new book, What Makes Wine Worth Drinking? In Praise of the Sublime. I’m sure you can name a dozen reasons to pour yourself a worthy glass. But Theise’s book is so much more than an answer to the title’s question. It is the story of one man’s complex love affair with wine, fraught with beauty, sadness, poignancy, wonderment, perplexity, and, finally, surrender. If you’re a wine drinker, this book will transform the way you think about wine. It did for me.
What Makes Wine Worth Drinking? In Praise of the Sublime by Terry Theise (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018) $25 – Available at major bookstores and on Amazon
Can you think of a funnier stocking stuffer for the wine lover in your life than a box of Wine Condoms? Or a better item to pull out at a holiday party? Hilarious but helpful, wine condoms actually do work. You simply roll one of the condoms over the neck of the bottle. (Curious? Watch me as I demonstrate this in a WineSpeed video here). Wine Condoms are particularly nice to have on hand when a cork breaks or when an open bottle of wine with a cork sticking half out won’t fit in your refrigerator, since the condom is flush with the top of the bottle. It made me smile to learn that the creators of Wine Condoms are a mother and son team from Texas who say they’re on a mission to “make the most uptight wine snobs smile—one condom at a time.”
Wine Condoms: Protection for Wine Lovers, $14 for a box of six – Available on Amazon
There are hundreds of decanters out there, but this one from Mixologist World is terrific and affordable. The Wine Decanter Glass Carafe Set comes with a handy drying stand, a cleaning wand for those hard-to-reach parts of the bowl, and a decorative wooden stopper. It’s also dishwasher safe. Use it both for aerating a young wine (by pouring the wine into the decanter so it gets extra contact with oxygen) and for decanting an old wine (by pouring the clear wine off into the decanter leaving the sediment behind in the bottle). Since most of us drink more young wine than old, bringing a young red to the table in this decanter would not only be stylish, it would also be great for helping the wine taste as expressive as possible.
Wine Decanter Glass Carafe Set, $87 – Available on Amazon
Food & Drink Infographics—A Coffee Table Book
An impressively-sized coffee table book, Food & Drinks Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures, is brimming with gastronomic eye-candy—in the form, of course, of infographics. And what infographics! From the purely funny to the wonderfully fascinating, they range from how-to cartoons (fillet a fish, make an ice cream cake, pair beer with your meal) to data-driven diagrams, like a periodic table of wine grape varieties or a flow chart for baking emergencies. It’s a must-have for every 21st century wine lover and foodie. TASCHEN, who released Food & Drink Infographics earlier this year, is a go-to publisher for amazing visual books that keep you mesmerized for long after you first dive into them. This one is a favorite.
Food & Drinks Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures by Simone Klabin and Julius Wiedemann (TASCHEN 2018) $70 – Available at TASCHEN
Repour Wine Saver—A High-Tech Cork
We all know that when you uncork a bottle of wine, the liquid inside begins to oxidize, drastically altering the flavors over time. To combat this, use the Repour stopper instead of any old cork. Oxygen-absorbing materials in the stopper continuously remove oxygen from inside the bottle and from the wine itself, so it contains less than 0.03 parts per million. This keeps the wine fresh and drinkable for days, even a week later.
Repour Wine Savers, $18 for a box of ten – Available from Repour
“Jetsetter” TSA-Approved Corkscrew
We’ve all been there: your carry-on suitcase is pulled aside by a TSA agent at the airport and … you forgot your corkscrew hidden in a side pocket. Of course, we know the ending to this story: it’s confiscated. Enter the “Jetsetter” TSA-Compliant Corkscrew. The manufacturer, True Brands, designed it with a foil-cutting wheel safely incorporated into the handle. Without the blade that’s a part of traditional bottle-openers, this corkscrew can breeze through security and fly with you wherever you go this holiday season.
Jetsetter TSA-Compliant Corkscrew, $11 – Available on Amazon
Cruise with Karen
This is a mega-gift too big to wrap! I will be hosting a seven-day wine cruise with Crystal River Cruises along the Danube River next year. Join me and an intimate group of wine lovers as we sail through the charming wine regions of Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Beautiful on-shore excursions, fine wines and Champagne, and Michelin-inspired dining are all included. It’s a trip of a lifetime June 29 through July 6, 2019. The perfect present to give yourself or a loved one.
Crystal Mozart 7-Day Wine Cruise with Karen MacNeil on the Danube River, June 29 – July 6, 2019. Details and reservations available through MmMmTravel