A wine collector I know buys dozens of bottles online around the holiday season, and over the years, he’s become acquaintances with the UPS driver who drops off the packages. They often have conversations about their favorite bottles of wine while he signs for the deliveries. One year, my friend decided to get the UPS driver a Christmas wine basket to show his appreciation for handling the deliveries with such care. He chose three bottles of wine that he thought the driver would enjoy and gave the basket to him during one of his usual deliveries. The driver was thrilled with the unexpected gift and the thought that went into it.
Giving Christmas wine baskets as gifts to your friends, family, and colleagues is rewarding, but it’s also a challenge. You may not know what types of wine they like or which vintages make the best holiday gifts. This guide will help you build a wine basket for everyone on your list that they will remember for years to come.
What Makes a Great Christmas Wine Basket?
When you think of a Christmas wine basket, you might picture a bottle of wine surrounded by packages of cookies, cheese, and crackers. However, when you make a basket from scratch, you don’t have to stick with this basic structure. While food and wine are an excellent combination for Christmas wine baskets, feel free to think outside of the box and offer your gift recipient other small treasures that fit their lifestyle or interests.
Gift certificates, subscriptions to magazines or food subscription services, wine accessories, and small home decor items (like a beautiful set of coasters) are all great additions to a basket.
For example, my best friend moved from San Francisco to Austin a few years ago, and last Christmas she decided to visit her hometown for a few days and celebrate the holiday with family and some old high school friends. Before she arrived, I made her a Christmas wine basket and sent it to the hotel where she was staying. In the basket, I included two bottles of 1999 Silver Oak (one of her favorite producers) and a gift certificate to a fantastic local spa. Traveling during the holidays can be stressful, and she was grateful for a gift that made her trip much more relaxing. As a bonus, she didn’t have to worry about shopping for a bottle of wine to bring to her family’s annual Christmas dinner party.
Gift certificates, subscriptions to magazines or food subscription services, wine accessories, and small home decor items (like a beautiful set of coasters) are all great additions to a basket. As long as you pick a great bottle of wine and choose other items that suit the gift recipient’s personality and lifestyle, you’ll have a great gift that your gift recipient will truly appreciate.
Christmas Wine Baskets for Friends and Colleagues
Putting together a Christmas wine basket for friends and colleagues can be a fun, easy process, but it’s tougher when you don’t know what types of wine your friend or colleague prefers. With so many incredible wines on the market, how do you know which bottle will make your gift memorable?
To make your decision easier, follow these steps:
- Find out what your gift recipient enjoys. Invite them out to a wine bar or ask their spouse, family, or friends for ideas. Alternatively, you can fish for information in a roundabout way by asking them what types of wine they think would make great gifts; most of the time they’ll suggest wines that they like to drink.
- Get as specific as you can. If you know your friend loves Burgundy, see if you can determine whether they prefer red blends from the Côte de Nuits or white Burgundy from the Côte de Beaune.
- Find out what the best vintages are for that region and variety.
- Look for bottles that might be difficult for your friend or colleague to find on his own.
If you’re still stumped on what to get your friends or colleagues this Christmas, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Young, Celebratory Wines
These wines are approachable and refreshing in their youth, making them perfect for a Christmas gift basket, even if your friend or colleague has little experience drinking fine wine. To choose the best wine for your gift recipient, consider whether they like to drink red wine or white and whether they prefer fruit-forward styles or earthy flavors:
Wines with Age
These vintages have developed excellent complexity over the years and make perfect gifts for friends or colleagues who enjoy the mature flavors of older wine:
- 2007 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin
- 1999 René Rostaing Côte-Rôtie Côte Blonde
While some of the young wines on this list could age in a cellar for a few years, all of the wines above can be enjoyed now, giving your friend or colleague the option to drink the wine the moment they open their gift or store the bottles for a little longer.
Christmas Wine Baskets for Family
My dad has an extensive collection of Burgundy, including old vintages from Ponsot, Louis Jadot, and Leflaive. He enjoys unfussy table wines from time to time, but when it comes to Burgundy, he’s very selective. One year, my dad’s cousin sent him a Christmas wine basket filled with inexpensive, mass-produced red Burgundy–he didn’t realize that my dad only drinks grand and premier cru. While my dad appreciated the gesture and expressed his gratitude, he ultimately gave the wine away.
You usually know your family’s preferences better than you do a friend’s or a colleague’s, so you can spend more on these bottles without fear that the wine will go to waste.
Even if your family members aren’t as selective about wine, you should still choose bottles that are especially high in quality when you make them a gift basket from scratch. Not only does this show your family that you care about them, but it can also introduce them to more refined versions of the wines they already enjoy. Moreover, you usually know your family’s preferences better than you do a friend’s or a colleague’s, so you can spend more on these bottles without fear that the wine will go to waste. For example, if your mom loves California Cabernet but has never had a bottle that costs more than $20, you could make a Christmas wine basket filled with top-quality California Cabernet producers like Schrader, Shafer, and Hundred Acre. Christmas is the best time to spoil the people you love and offer them something truly special.
Here are a few gift options you might consider for your family:
Rare bottles are the perfect choice for family members who seem to have everything already. Even if they don’t like the style you chose, they have the option to resell the wine for a profit later. Here are a few hard-to-find bottles that make excellent Christmas wine basket additions:
Wines that received perfect scores make great gifts for nearly anyone because they are delicious and well-balanced–and it can be exciting to try a 100-point wine, whether your recipient is a budding wine connoisseur or a seasoned collector. Here are a few options:
To make your Christmas wine basket more cohesive, choose a specific theme. For example, if your sister likes light-bodied, aromatic Pinot Noir from Oregon, add snacks to the basket that complement this wine style, such as sharp aged cheddar and dried fruit, or choose foods that are typical of the area the wine came from, like smoked salmon. For an experienced wine enthusiast, choose two or three wines made in the same vintage and region but by different producers so that your gift recipient can taste the differences between them.
How to Shop for Wine Gifts This Season
The easiest way to make a Christmas wine gift from scratch is by shopping for bottles online. When you search for wine on a trustworthy online marketplace, you can narrow your results based on categories like vintage, subregion, producer, variety, score, quality, price, and even occasion. Not only does this make the shopping process faster, but it also allows you to compare dozens of wines at a glance and pick the best bottle for everyone on your Christmas list.
Gift boxes make your final basket look more polished, and they also protect the bottle against UV damage until your recipient is ready to open the basket.
Some online marketplaces offer other useful gift accessories like gift cards and handcrafted wooden gift boxes. Gift boxes make your final basket look more polished, and they also protect the bottle against UV damage until your recipient is ready to open the basket. Likewise, it’s a good idea to include a gift card to an online wine shop in your gift basket, especially if you’re unsure whether your gift recipient will love the wine you chose for them. With some thoughtful touches like these, you can create a gift that is both beautiful and practical for wine enthusiasts of all experience levels.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.