Every year around this time the blogs start filling up with 'Gift Giving Guides' and 'How to Throw a Wine Party’ posts. After reading four or five of them I was ready to throw my laptop out the window - the amount of useless and asinine info in many of them is mind numbing and it makes me realize why people shopping around this time of year all look shell-shocked… they’ve been beaten silly by stupid 'what and what not to do' lists. For the love of all that is good and right in the world let’s stop making things more difficult than they need to be*. I feel I need to step in.
So, here is the realists guide to wine during the holidays in the modern day:
Giving wine as a gift:
- Take a step backward.
So so so many times people come into the store and ask for help in buying wine as a gift when the giver doesn’t know what the person they'er shopping for actually likes. To be honest, most of the time I wanna tell them to give a pack of coupons for a car wash instead. I mean, really, who doesn’t like a clean car? The car wash gift is innocuous and thoughtful and actually useful … can we translate that into a gift of wine? No. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.
Wine is an intimate thing with all it’s variances and vagaries and one size doesn’t fit all. You have to know something about the recipient's taste in order for the gift to be meaningful and while you may like that co-worker who sits on the other side of the your cubicle wall; odds are you don’t know them well enough to know that they like wine that is sweet and jammy not tannic or acidic.
So...what do you do because you certainly won’t take my advice and go the car wash route … you really want to give them wine. The way I see it you have one option then and that is to give some wine that you like. Better than like, you should give a wine that you love. Wine is a mostly experiential thing, it lives in a realm of shared experience and is often best that way, shared. So when you give a wine that you love not only are you sharing your wine experience you are also sharing something important about you. That is kinda what the Holidays are all about, right? Sharing.
Also when giving that bottle you like and love; be open and transparent to the getter of the gift. Write them a note about why you like the wine or tell them in-person why you like the wine. Since wine is meant to be shared and is better when shared the small kindness played out in giving them the reasons you love it will make it even more meaningful for them. Plus … there a ton of anecdotal evidence that telling someone why you like the wine will influence them into liking it too. That is what you want, right? You want them to like what you’re giving them … a short explanation or story or feeling will heighten the experience.
Or just get them the car wash coupons if the thought of open and free expression of feelings frightens you.
* - one of the blogs said that you needed to get all your wine weeks in advance so as to make sure the wine rests before using it. Whoever wrote that literal waste of words certainly didn’t know that the average American consumes the wine they purchase within 2 hours. Rest. That is funny.