8 Great, Affordable Wine Gifts

From decanters to DIY wine art


Looking for that perfect gift for your wine lover? Well, it can be a frustrating and exhausting search. The obvious answer is to buy a bottle of wine. But that may not always be a viable option, so why not help outfit your wine lover with the best accoutrements? The great thing is that the best doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive and sometimes the tried and true tools are better than the newest invention!

For every type of wine lover there is a suitable gift. Whether it’s as simple as a great corkscrew or a new wine journal, or something more involved (and if you want to take a look at the biggest and best wine gifts, check out last week’s article, Great Gifts for Wine Lovers: From wine reviews to personalized Bordeaux tours), there is something for everyone in today’s top wine gift countdown!

Corkscrew

There are three styles of corkscrews worth recommending, though I generally use my trusty waiter’s friend. That’s the standard corkscrew, though in my case it comes with dual levers, which makes extracting the cork easier, and an extra long, grooved screw for extra traction.

I also use an Ah-So two-pronged cork remover (pictured on the intro slide) for tender old corks that might crumble when a corkscrew is used and a lever-style opener for when I’ve got a lot of bottles to open. But that waiter’s friend is my go-to opener, and and this one -- the Trudeau Double Lever Corkscrew -- is only $9.95.

Decanter

Decanters are used not only to allow wines to open and breathe, but also to pour wines off their sediment. There are so many decanter styles out there that is can be dizzying, and while I’ve known a few people who have collected decanters for display, most of us just have one or two everyday decanters. That pretty much means smallish, not too ornate and easy to clean glass, like this Riedel Cabernet Decanter.

Funnel

While a funnel can seem like an odd gift idea, it sure comes in handy! I routinely double-decent my older wines. Simply put, that means I carefully pour the wine out of its bottle into a decanter, leaving the sediment behind, then rinse the bottle out before returning the wine to its original bottle. This way I can ensure clear wine to the last drop, while not mixing up bottles and decanters. While I can pour the wine from the decanter back into the bottle without a funnel, having one makes the job much easier! Some funnels even come with screens, like The Wine Enthusiast aerating funnel, to help separate solids from the wine.

Wine journal

A wine journal is as valuable a tool as in for a wine drinker. Keeping track of what you drink, how your wines are evolving, and how your palate changes over time is just one of the aspects that makes wine fun! Having a nice journal to record all your memories simply makes it that much easier to do.  I like journals that are simply lined as opposed to pages that have a templated format. I may spend an entire page on one wine only to jot down a single line on another and appreciate the flexibility simply lined pages afford me. I also like my wine journal to be sized for easy portability, and having a steno-style pad makes it easy to write on the run! Moleskine has a range of classic journals.

Wine books: The old

Since we’re flirting with books, talking about wine journals, I might as well go ahead and add the book that got me started down the path of wine geekdom: Michael Broadbent's Pocket Guide to Wine Tasting, the original version, which is sadly out of print. A second edition was published in 2001 and if you can track either of them down they may both be a little dated but still contain some of the best basic wine appreciation guides ever written.

Available new and used from Amazon

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