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The Theory and Rules of Wine Gifting
How to Give Wine As a Gift
Though a pretty common gift, wine, I don’t think, is among the best types of presents to give friends, family, and acquaintances. Wine is pedestrian. Common. It’s ubiquitous. In other words, do you really want to give someone a gift that can be found just about anywhere at any time? Generally, no. Unless…
First, let’s talk about gifting. It’s a bit of a perilous deed. Over-gift and the recipient may begin to wonder what’s on your mind and why you were so generous. It might create an unnecessary expectation that the giver expects an equal act of generosity when the relationship really doesn’t call for it. It’s not a position you want to put someone in.
But under-gifting can cause a different set of circumstances and issues. The Amazon gift card presented to your spouse on an anniversary is going to raise both eyebrows and hackles. A pair of argyle sox presented to your nine-year-old boy on their birthday…well…that’s gonna cause a kind of a disappointment that could translate into future therapy bills.
The non-sequitur gift is just as problematic as under and over-gifting. Non-sequitur gifting is an indication of simply not thinking about the recipient, and that’s a bad look. For example, a toaster probably isn’t the right offering when you arrive at a couple’s home in response to a dinner party invitation.
…Unless the wine you offer as a gift is meaningful and indicates you’ve been thinking about the person to whom you present the bottle of wine. Wine actually can work well as a gift if you take advantage of its unique characteristics to communicate thoughtfulness.
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THE RULES AND ART OF GIVING WINE AS A GIFT
1. Who should not be gifted wine:
I can think of only one example of a person to whom you probably should not give wine. Your spouse. The reason for this is it implies the spouse giving the wine expects to enjoy the wine too. That can be an element of a gift, but it’s not a great way of gift-giving. A good gift should be for the recipient. That said, if your spouse is a level of wine fanatic that far exceeds your interest in wine, then offering them something very special that they have coveted for a good long time is appropriate.
2. Wine To Commemorate a Moment in Time
The occasion is the 10th wedding anniversary of a couple you know well. Or perhaps it is the 21st birthday of the son of a friend. What about a gift to commemorate the founding of a successful company 20 years ago? These are the gifting occasions for which wine is the perfect gift. That vintage date on the bottle is a marker of a specific moment in time that can be used to make the gift of wine something much more than a bottle of wine. Today it isn’t too difficult to find wines that are 10, 15, 20, 30 or even 50 years old given the various ways to search for wine on the Internet. Even more true is that you can actually find well-aged wine that fits the bill for a certain anniversary that won’t put you back $500 or more.
3. Wine To Harken Back To A Place
Every bottle of wine is labeled with a place: Napa, Tuscany, Burgundy, Monterey, Spain, etc, etc, etc. This of course provides a different kind of gifting opportunity. Is the recipient planning a trip to a wine region? Did they grow up in a wine region? Did they once live in a particular wine region?
4. That Wine You Shared
Sometimes wine is a part of your connection and relationship with a person. And sometimes a wine will play a memorable supporting role in your relationship. Finding another bottle of that same wine and gifting it is a wonderful and sentimental gift.
5. For the Wine Geek
Few if any wine geek friends possess the endless, bottomless cellar of great and coveted bottlings. They have their treasures, but with the exceptions of the fanatics, every cellar is missing something. When you know the recipient is a big o’l fat wine geek, that extremely special bottle is appropriate: 1961 First Growth, 1974 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard, Magnum of Grande Dame, 1963 Port. These kinds of gift must only be given to those who appreciate them.
What’s similar about all these types of wine giving is that they all require you to have thought about the recipient and reflected upon their life and your relationship with them. And this is exactly what leads to a memorable gift of any type.
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