Great Gifts for Wine Lovers

From wine reviews to personalized Bordeaux tours


Don’t know what you should buy the wine lover on your list? Ran out of ideas but not money? Well, we’re gonna start small and then build up here to include some of the greatest gifts you can give a wine lover.

Big ticket or small(ish), these are gifts that speak -- no, these thunder -- with emotion. A lot of it might be, “I’m so sorry,” or “Can you forgive me?”,  but I can see a few simple “I love you very much”s in the mix as well. Whatever your motivation, these are some of the finest gifts you can buy a wine lover short of stocking their cellar full of rare vintages.

The World of Fine Wine

If there is any publication still worth subscribing to it must be The World of Fine Wine. This is not your typical wine writing, or any writing for that matter. The articles published in The World of Fine Wine are the best researched, most in-depth and complete examples of wine journalism to be found today.

Yes, it is not inexpensive: a four-issue one-year subscription is $169! You can save some money and opt for the $300 two-year subscription, but for that money you not only get tasting notes and reviews of current release wines but also the kind of evergreen content that you simply can’t find anywhere else. In-depth articles on wineries, regions, and winemakers will keep you referring to each for years, and the pictures are well photographed, too!

Beautiful Bike Tours

If you’re looking for a more active tour of a wine region, how about biking? Not only can you get to see the region, towns, and vineyards at your own speed, but you can also wind around and make your own way though them! Sometimes it can be hard to track down and compare bike tours, but if you check out you choose from tons of great choices.

You knew I’d be looking at the tour of Piedmont, taking a tour of Slow Food University and pedaling through the famed vineyards of Barolo -- Oh baby!

If that’s not your speed, no pun intended, or if you want to extend your Italian vacation, you can add another itinerary to your trip. Head down south to visit Tuscany and the vineyards of Chianti, Montalcino, and Montepulciano, or make your stay the best of two worlds and add a trip to Provence and the Rhone Valley, where you’ll take in the scenery and taste in some of France’s most famous wine regions. Bike Sherpa also has a great incentive program, so if you’re looking to travel with friends this is the place to make your plans!


Wine reviews you can use

There are several really well known wine critics out there, and a handful more that don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. Claude Kolm, of Fine Wine Review, is one of those reviewers who does everything right, has a consistent palate, and well written and thought-out reviews, but unlike many of his peers, Claude seems to lack the time to market his work. A one-year online subscription is only $55 and is a great resource if you love wines from Burgundy, the Northern Rhône and Germany. 

Taking the train

Ever want to just relax on your wine lover’s vacation? Well, the Napa Valley Wine Train has created several vacations that let you do just that. Unfortunately none of them includes actually sleeping on the train (how cool would that be)? But each vacation has you taking the train for a gourmet lunch or dinner with accommodation in some of the valley’s most attractive properties.

For example, check out the Napa River Inn “Deals Without Wheels” Vacation Package. It’s a planes, trains and automobiles kind of adventure with your journey beginning on the San Francisco Ferry, continuing with a shuttle to Napa, a lunch tour on the Napa Valley Train, and accommodation for two at the Napa River Inn. Other tours include more winery visits via limo.

More reviews you can use

Speaking of wine writers worth supporting, how about John Gilman? John has written several well received pieces for us and we hope to see more of him in the future; though the truth is that John’s style of writing, remarkably in-depth and thorough, requires more of a magazine format to do him justice. John’s work for View from the Cellar is always informative and his pull-no-punches view point accurately skewers some of the excesses of the day. A thoughtful and important addition to today’s discourse about wine and well worth the $120 annual subscription.

Guided tour of Bordeaux

There are just a few meccas of wine, and Bordeaux is indisputably one of them. Not only does the region produce some of the world’s benchmark wines -- enough reason in my book to go for a visit -- but the newly renovated city of Bordeaux is a simply lovely place to explore, making a trip there perfect for wine geek and significant other of wine geek alike!

Once in Bordeaux, the list of properties worth visiting can be daunting, and access limited. If you really want to have the Best Wine Region Visit Ever, contact Dewey Markham. Author of several books, chief among them the exceptionally interesting 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification, Dewey is almost as well known in Bordeaux as Bordeaux is to him. Seriously, I have never had the pleasure of meeting a more knowledgeable wine guide than Dewey. I was fortunate to spend some four days with him this year visiting properties in Bordeaux and he not only has an encyclopedic knowledge about everything Bordeaux, but he also is a fun person to chat with. Dewey Markham: Wine guide extraordinaire!

Wine storage

There is nothing worse than cellaring a precious bottle for years only to find out it’s suffered the ravages of poor storage along the way. A good cellar may be hard to come by, but a wine fridge is always an easy answer to cellaring conundrums. Want to give your wine lover the perfect storage conditions? You can see where this is going.

Just a few things about wine fridges. Buy one that three times as big as you think your wine lover will need -- four or five times is even better. Don’t spend money on glass doors; yes, they look nice but solid doors are better insulators. And finally, make sure you’re around when some of these perfectly stored bottles get opened. If you really want to go big, check out Vinotemp’s metal walk-in style wine room – it is absolutely insane!

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  • Snooth User: yummywine
    139936 4

    Really?? Only one idea was truly affordable for average people. I was so looking forward to this and feel let down... Maybe the next installment?

    Dec 10, 2010 at 8:54 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Yes the next instalment will be about more comfortably priced gifts. these mostly big ticket item,s all take some extra lead time so I wanted to get them in now but next week we'll follow up with part II.


    Dec 10, 2010 at 9:02 PM

  • Snooth User: All You Need Is Wine
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    600816 22

    All You Need Is Wine is a blind wine tasting party game - great holiday party and/or gift idea. Buy it for $29.99 at

    Dec 18, 2010 at 1:26 AM

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