SPREADING CHEER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON


For this holiday season, we’ve compiled a list of books, gadgets, and gear to gift to the wine lovers in your life. Check our top picks for 2021 below:

 

KLOVEO Professional Grade Champagne Stopper

I drink a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine EVERY night and have for 20 years. The KLOVEO Champagne stopper helps make that possible. Known as a bouchon in France, a Champagne stopper is indispensable when you’ve decided to make Champagne and sparkling wine a part of your evening. The KLOVEO keeps bubbles lively for up to a week.

KLOVEO Professional Grade Champagne Stopper, $25— Available on Amazon.

 

On CaliforniaFrom Napa to Nebbiolo… Wine Tales from The Golden State

The just-released book On California feels special and close to home—not only because California is our home, but also because of the stellar line-up of fellow writers who contributed essays, including Kelli White, Elaine Chukan Brown, Esther Mobley, and Elin McCoy. The writing is simply top notch, and the essays themselves bring California wine country to life as no other book has. On California is published by Académie du Vin Library, co-founded by the late Steven Spurrier, one of the creators of the legendary 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting, which is widely considered the event that put California on the international wine map. For anyone who loves learning about the intersection of wine with history, geography, politics, and people, On California is a must-read.

On CaliforniaFrom Napa to Nebbiolo… Wine Tales from The Golden State (Académie du Vin Library) $45 Available on the Académie du Vin Library website.

WineSpeed Readers! Use the purchase code WINESPEED5 to receive $5 off on your purchase of the book.

 

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Carafe Gift Box

Decanting Champagne—thereby allowing the bubbles to dissipate— might seem like a sacrilege. But Champagne is, after all, a wine, and some drinkers find they can taste and appreciate that wine, even more, when the bubbles aren’t there. Enter the Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne with an exquisitely designed matching carafe. We conducted a little experiment, trying the Champagne straight from the bottle with bubbles intact, then pouring the rest of the Champagne into the decanter. Which was better? We had a strong favorite, but we’ll never tell. Champagne lovers, you’ve got to try this experiment yourselves. For its part, the Champagne is fantastic, rich, and round (part of the blend that is entirely aged in neutral oak casks). And the slender handblown glass decanter (which fits in an ice bucket) can be used to decant all sorts of white wines.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Carafe Gift Box —$230 available on Wine.com.

 

The Beer Bible: Second Edition by Jeff Alworth

Okay, we love a great beer as much as the next person but, hello, we can’t resist pointing out that a certain beverage Bible predated the Beer Bible. Still, we hand it to Jeff Alworth who has done a fantastic job updating and expanding his Beer Bible. This second edition breaks down the complexity of the world of beer and provides tons of great information for beer lovers. Topics including the history of brewing, the difference between ales and lagers, new classifications of IPAs, variations in hops, and even a dive into beer tourism. Whether you are a lifelong beer fan or new to the craft brew scene, this book offers lots of insight into all things beer.

The Beer Bible: Second Edition by Jeff Alworth (Workman Publishing 2021) $35—Available at major bookstores and on Amazon.

 

Coravin Pivot Wine Preservation System

With a multitude of virtual wine tastings becoming the new norm (check out our #TasteWithKaren LIVE virtual tasting schedule), we have a ton of open bottles of wine—what to do? Coravin’s revolutionary preservation systems allow you to save what you can’t finish until another night, knowing that the last glass will be as stunning as the first. Since launching, the systems have been pretty pricey. However, this past year, Coravin released their first version under $100.

Coravin Pivot Wine Preservation System, $99—Available at Coravin.

 

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thomas

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide from the team behind the online magazine and travel company Atlas Obscura leads you from one food discovery to the next. What a joy to armchair-explore the world through the lens of food! The book is filled with gorgeous photographs, illustrations, and food stories spanning seven continents and fifty states. A few of my particular favorite take-aways:  Champagne was once revered as an energy drink (yikes); and the driest region in Chile makes beer from collected fog water (yum). This book reminds us all how food, drink, and culture connect us. A perfect gift for those who love food, adventure, and exploration.

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thomas (Workman Publishing 2021) $26—Available at major bookstores and on Amazon.

 

Garden for Wildlife Plant Collections

On a daily basis we don’t stop to think about how critical pollinators, (bees, butterflies, and birds) are to ecosystems and wine regions throughout the globe. But we should. And here’s how we can. The Garden for Wildlife Plant Collection is a collection of native plants, customized by state. Each collection provides food and habitat for pollinator species over three seasons. The collection is delivered right to your door. Contributing to healthy ecosystems in your area supports the highest number of backyard pollinators which in turn improves food garden harvests and larger-scale agriculture such as vineyards. Plant sets come in 6 and 12 gift packs with garden design ideas. As winter months are too cold for shipping in most regions, pre-order these plant sets for a springtime delivery to your pollinator-supporting loved ones.

Garden for Wildlife Plant Collections from the National Wildlife Federation $65 to $118 —Available at Garden for Wildlife.

WineSpeed Readers! Use the purchase code WINESPEED10 to receive 10% off your order

  

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground by Uli Beutter Cohen

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground is a thoughtful encounter with everyday New York City subway riders and the books they read. Great books make a lasting impression on us; we all remember when we found a certain book— or that certain book found us. This heartwarming compilation of 170 interviews was collected over a decade by creative documentarian, Uli Beutter Cohen. It’s a great gift for the avid readers in your life. The book’s pages are packed with stories about real people and the books that move them.

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground by Uli Beutter Cohen (Simon & Schuster)—$21 Available at major bookstores and on Amazon.

 

Durand Vintage Cork Remover

There is no better season to open special, older wines than now, during the winter holidays. Giving a Durand cork remover guarantees that messy, difficult corks won’t crumble to smithereens and ruin the wine. Invented by wine collector, Mark Taylor, the Durand enables the user to successfully remove older and fragile wine corks whole and intact. Ever since using the device, we haven’t had a single broken cork! A must-have gift for friends and family enjoying those rare, older bottles of wine from deep within their cellars.

Durand Vintage Cork Removal $125 — Available at Durand.

 

Shintop 10-Piece Numbered Blind Wine Tasting Bags

In our office we blind taste on a regular basis. But we long ago decided against brown paper bags! Instead, these numbered drawstring closure wine bags have been a triumph and will no doubt make for a great hit at any party. You might even distribute the bags ahead of your holiday gathering and ask everyone to bring a few mystery bottles. A great stocking stuffer.

Shintop 10-Piece Numbered Blind Wine Tasting Bags $12  — Available at Amazon.

 

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