Christmas gift buying is always a tough job, which is probably why sales of socks soar during the seasonal period. If however, you have a family member, friend or colleague who enjoys the odd glass or two of wine then it needn't be such an issue. Leaving apart the fact that there's always room underneath the tree for, say, a premium bottle wine, port or spirit, there are a whole range of gifts for those who enjoy the world of wine and everything that goes with it.
Some gifts are practical. Storage can sometimes cause problems which is why wine racks are always useful. Then there's a whole market devoted simply to opening the bottle and pouring the wine, from state of the art corkscrews to inexpensive but useful wine pourers.
Something that keeps a white wine chilled can also come in handy, while a decanter can not only look good but also help to aerate a good red wine. Finally in this category come the actual glasses which can be practical or – especially at Christmas – a bit of a fun buy, too.
Then there’s the informative gifts. With wine tourism on the up, wine maps are an ideal gift for those planning their next vineyard trip. And taking that a step up, wine aroma kits offer beginners and wine aficionados alike the guidance they need when taking that vital first sniff after the wine is poured.
And, last of all, there are the fun gifts. A giant champagne cork does make an effective stool, a wine advent calendar will always be welcome and mulled wine marmalade has to be worth a gamble. And what could be more practical, more informative or indeed more fun that visiting the place where the actual magic starts? Which is why lunch at a vineyard combined with a winery tour makes the perfect Christmas present. With all that said, here’s our roundup of the best gifts for wine lovers.
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Chilford Hall vineyard tour and tasting with lunch for two in Cambridgeshire: £59, Prezzybox
Situated in the rolling chalk hills of Cambridgeshire, Chilford Hall is one of the oldest established vineyards in England. Now there’s a chance to tour the site’s two vineyards, find out all about the wine-making process, be taught what to look out for when selecting a wine and end up enjoying some of its award-winning wines during a two-course lunch. The voucher is for two people and is valid for 10 months. Tour availability varies throughout the year, so be sure to check the dates before you purchase.
Vertex six bottle gold wine rack: £19.99, Prezzybox
Storage needn’t be a problem with this attractive but durable six bottle wine rack. With its attractive modular design and gold-plated finish, it could bring a touch of glamour to a kitchen worktop and let’s face it, most of us rarely have more than six bottles of wine in the house at one go. The hard-wearing rack, which is 37cm long, 38m wide and 15cm deep can also be attached to the wall.
Grand vin de Champagne XL giant champagne cork stool: £135, Wineware
Just what you need when you’ve opened a bottle of bubbly and friends happen to pop in (excuse the pun). A large, champagne cork-shaped stool made from 100 per cent sustainable cork grown in Portugal. Robust and stable, it’s 50cm high and has a diameter of 34cm. Just remember to come up with a good excuse for those who want to see the bottle it came from.
Oz Clarke's book and wine gift set: £45, Laithwaite’s
Here’s a splendid combination, a bottle of the gold medal-winning claret Château la Clarière Laithwaite 2011 along with Oz Clarke’s World of Wine, an informative and fascinating hardback guide to all things oenological. So here’s the plan. Uncork the wine, let it breathe for an hour or so while you rifle through Oz’s fact-filled guide and then savour each glassful, while having digested all the background information you need to know.
Conundrum wine decanter: £34.99, The Present Finder
We love this dual purpose wine decanter. Not only does it look good but as you pour in the wine it disperses it over a wider surface area, providing the aeration and oxygenation needed to make a more than decent claret taste even better. It’s 29cm x 13.5cm and will hold a standard 75cl bottle of wine.
De Long wine map of France: £19.99, Stanfords
One thing better than drinking a fine French wine is knowing where in that country it came from. With this splendid wall map you’ll never be at a loss as it beautifully presents the country’s wine regions according to their official classifications. This one is 61cm x 92 cm and similar detailed maps of other wine-producing countries are also available.
Dkua handmade rustic wood wine rack: £50, Amazon
If you fancy getting away from those utilitarian wire wine racks, then this an ideal choice. Made from thick plywood which has then been oiled, this rustic rack stores eight bottles of wine. Solid but stylish, it could grace any kitchen counter and wouldn’t look out of place in a living room either.
Laithwaite’s wine advent calendar 2019: £69.99, Laithwaite’s
Well here’s something that should make the yuletide season go with a swing, 24 doors hiding 24 bottles of red, white and sparkling wine, all in handy-sized 18.7cl bottles. Laithwaite’s has promised a new and improved wine lineup this year, featuring sauvignon, rioja and many more varieties with a surprise selection for Christmas Eve.
Le Nez Du Vin white wine 12 aromas kit: £74.99, The Present Finder
Develop your wine-tasting abilities with this nifty kit. The box includes 12 basic aromas in glass bottles ranging from lemon, through lychee, muscat, hawthorn and honey to toast and roasted hazelnut. Open a bottle, sniff, relax and then read wine expert Jean Lenoir’s detailed notes and discover which white wines and champagnes will share those special aromas. It all comes in a luxurious, cloth-bound box accompanied by two informative and illustrated booklets. A similar kit is available for red wine fans.
CellarDine CaddyO wine bottle chiller: £29.99, Lakeland
Chilled wine on the go? Not a problem. Just pop your sauvignon blanc from the fridge into this bottle-shaped neoprene carry case complete with its special cooling gel, sling it over your shoulder, and off you go. And once you get to the barbecue, party or concert, there’s even a handy waiter’s friend neatly tucked into the shoulder strap to help you open the chilled bottle. It can carry 75cl or one litre bottles and will keep the wine chilled for up to eight hours.
Root7 stemless prosecco glasses, pack of four: £25, Root7
Easy to hold and a delight to look at, these are a new addition to Root7’s rainbow range of glassware. Made from high end borosilicate glass, they appear delicate but are strong, finished with an iridescent sparkle and gold detailing around the rim. They add an extra something to any glass of bubbly.
Vacu Vin crystal wine server, set of two: £3.99, Lakeland
Say goodbye to wine drips with this handy tool. The crystal wine pourer is designed to push easily into the top of any bottle of wine, cork or screw-topped. Then, when you pour, the wine simply goes into the glass, no drips, no spills. An extremely useful but very inexpensive gift.
Firebox wine sippo glasses, set of two: £13.99, Firebox
We’d be hard pressed to say there’s anything entirely useful about these glasses shaped like the pipe Sherlock Holmes puffed on while solving his most difficult cases. But then Christmas is about having a bit of fun and these glasses are guaranteed to add to a general feeling of seasonal goodwill. The stem curves under the bowl, forming a glass straw should you wish to suck rather than sip your wine, while two sturdy glass legs give added support.
Laguiole en Aubrac oak barrel handle corkscrew: £124.95, Wineware
Not cheap, but we’re talking about the Rolls-Royce of bottle openers here, a polished stainless steel corkscrew with an oak barrel handle that’s been handmade from start to finish by a single French artisan. It incorporates a built-in serrated edged foil cutter blade and bottle cap opener and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Supplied in a special Laguiole en Aubrac wooden presentation case, it measures 12cm in length.
Firebox spreadable mulled wine: £9.99, Firebox
Want to spread a little seasonal joy on to your toast in the morning? Then look no further than a jar of spiced wine marmalade. This is made with real fruit plus all the spices you find in a glass of that yuletide drink. It may sound a little icky but actually comes over as a pleasantly enjoyable confiture that brings a touch of festivity to the breakfast table.
The verdict: Wine gifts
Our best buy has to go to the Chilford Hall vineyard visit, we think it's great value for money and any wine lover would love this treat of a trip.