November 17, 2023


Christmas is approaching with the shopping frenzy starting for those PERFECT Christmas gifts! Next Friday comes the BIGGEST shopping day of the year! BLACK FRIDAY, the most chaotic sales day leading up to Christmas. It is chaotic if you don’t plan ahead. If you want something unique for that wine lover in your life, then today is your luck day AND you have a week of planning before Black Friday. I have oodles of unique suggestions to provide one-of-a-kind gifting opportunities for your wine lover. Most of them are available online with some available at local wineries. If you have trouble finding any of these suggested gifts, please e-mail the WINE WALKER for assistance at [email protected]. Suggested wine gifting includes:
• Spruce up bottles of wine from local wineries like Whitley Vineyards, Bernhardt, B. E. Winery, The Ferm Meadery and others with custom wine labels to place on their Texas-made wines. Several Wineries specialize in custom wine labels for your wine gift. While at those wineries, check out their gift shops for VINO WEAR (boutique style clothing for the wine lover with cute sayings like WELL AGED for the older wine lover or GROUP THERAPY for your favorite shopper depicting several different bottles of wine), special wine glasses and decanters, candle holders/wicks with glass globes to insert in wine bottles, autographed wine books, and much more. Several wineries also have Gift Certificates if you cannot make that gift choice.
• Books and wine magazines make great gifts. One book I solidly recommend for your wine lover is the The Essence of Wine by internationally acclaimed wine blogger Alder Yarrow dealing with 47 of the basics of wine essences. Natalie MacLean is a Canadian wine journalist and Sommelier who has written an interesting book titled Wine Witch on Fire about her involvement in the male-dominated world of wine. Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette is an easy “read.” These books and other wine books are available at Amazon.Com, and other book stores. Another great reading gift is a subscription to Wine Spectator Magazine which can be subscribed via internet at for $49.95 per year. For an additional fee, you can also provide an online, enhanced subscription to Wine Spectator Magazine. If your wine lover craves French wines, then I suggest Decanter Magazine, a British magazine centered on French wines which costs around $60 per year.
• Select wine pairing events are also a winner. I suggest trying out in the Houston area for a myriad of virtual wine events. These events will provide you with opportunities to taste wines with foods which could lead to some suggested wine pairings for your at-home dinners
• I always enjoy my crystal wine glasses. It enhances wine experiences. My favorite stemware is Riedel which runs around $10 to $18 per stem, depending on the type of glass you want. Riedel has glasses for a multitude of different wine types such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Port, and others. The same is true for Waterford, but I stay away from their Mondavi Series since they are so big they can pass for small fish tanks. These classy glasses are available either at the store or online at Macy’s, SPEC’S, Sur La Table, Sonoma, and most gourmet cooking stores. You can also get great decanters at these stores in a variety of sizes and shapes to match your chosen glasses.
• If you have ever been stymied by those heavenly descriptions of cassis, black cherry, and such, and cannot remember what those bouquets smell like, then you need to “gift” a smelling kit loaded with vials of those bouquets. SPEC’S has these kits with a beginner’s kit starting at $30 and running up to $100 for the more complete kit. These kits have great notes to help you in establishing a better “nose for vino.”
• One of the best investments I have made is the “Venturi Aerating Spout” which does what it say…aerates the red wine which enhances the bouquet and mouth feel of red wines to their fullest. Just try an un-aerated wine and then aerate it with this $40 contraption. These pouring aerator spouts reduce the harshness of tannins in red wines and enhance the enjoyment of young red wines. These aerating spouts also come in portable carrying cases.
• For the most unique of all wine gifts, purchase from a Texas winery an autographed bottle of wine. Most winemakers in Texas will take the time to autograph a bottle of their wine. This can be purchased directly from the winery by contacting the winery either by telephone or by internet to purchase that special autographed wine bottle. Wineries in our area include Bernhardt Winery, B. E. Winery, Messina Hof Winery, Whitley Vineyards, Wild Stallion Vineyards, and The Ferm Meadery. That autographed bottle can usually be shipped to you in Texas with restrictions, or you can pick it up directly at the winery.
Whatever your gift choice for your wine lover, make it a special one by planning ahead and ordering/purchasing that unique choice before the first week in December. Planning ahead certainly reduces stress and will help make your unique wine gift one to remember

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