Guide To Gifting Wine

Posted by Barterhouse on December 11, 2020

It’s officially the most wonderful time of a particularly grueling year. We could all use a touch of holiday magic these days. Something about the gifting season, both giving and receiving, fills the air with high spirits. Plus, it’s an excuse to fill up on actual wines and spirits. Wine makes for a fantastic 2020 holiday gift because it’s symbolic of togetherness, times to be shared, and joy. 

As you prepare for gift-giving this holiday season, there are a few tips to remember to get the best wine into the hands of each person on your list. 

Family and Friends: 

Because you know your family so well, you will have a better sense of what they already enjoy, so you can stick with that basic idea as you get started. Give them the best possible vintage that you can afford from the area or region you already know they love. You can also consider their favorite foods and attempt to pair accordingly. For instance, if Dad loves a juicy steak, pick up a nice Cabernet for him to sip with his favorite meal.

As for friends, finding a great bottle of wine for your friends will be a lot of fun. After all, you know these people well. You appreciate their good qualities and tolerate their quirks. Finding something that matches their personality (or that you know they already like) would be a great way to choose a bottle. We all know a Janet who won’t shut up about her college semester in Spain, or a Chris who loves to quote the movie Sideways. Consider the quirks you love to hate when you shop for your friends.

Bosses and Co-Workers:

When deciding on a gift for your boss or your colleagues, you need to think carefully and follow the trends of your company. Too chintzy of a gift, and people will be talking about you at the water cooler. But too extravagant, and people will be wondering what you’re up to. To be safe with your workplace gifts, give your colleagues the classics. You can’t go wrong with red wine from Napa Valley, or a quality Chardonnay or Riesling. You can also feel free to make connections. For instance, if your company does business with France, a classic bottle from that region in France would be a great idea.


It is not a bad idea to have something on hand (should there be a gifting emergency). Often, acquaintances will stop by with a gift, or you will end up going to a last-minute (socially-distanced) party. Having something familiar and very drinkable on hand will spare you the hassle of running out in a hurry to pick something up. Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah are some of the most popular, accessible wines. 

Most Wonderful of All: The Presentation

Sometimes the best you can do with a last-minute gift is hand someone a bottle of wine with a smile, or at least put it in a wine bag. But if you want to take it a step further, consider making your own wine tasting basket for someone you care about. Start with a bottle or type of wine that you know they like, and choose two or three others to complement the first. 

Often tastings will feature two reds and two whites. But at the holidays, anything goes. Do not have more than 3-5 bottles because tasting fatigue is real (sounds like a good problem to have, though!). You can place the bottles in a lovely basket and even add glasses or other accouterments like cheese and crackers to accompany the gift. Wrapping and presenting the basket offers a sophistication that will surely amaze your co-workers and family.

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