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12.19.2008

Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers: The Only Advice You Need

I take special (perhaps even perverse) pride in eschewing all the typical seasonal storylines that are churned out, regular as clockwork by the wine media all across the country. I don't hold it against most wine journalists that they write about pink wines in the summer, what to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, which bubblies to drink at New Years, etc. etc. Their editors come to them begging for such stories. I don't have an editor, and you'll never get such articles from me, both because I find them trite, and because I tend to disagree with most of what they have to say (OK, OK, pink wines ARE good during the summer, but also for the rest of the year, too).

So, you may ask yourself, what the hell am I doing writing about holiday gifts for wine lovers? I'm doing my usual thing -- telling you that all the rest of the advice you're getting out there is bullshit.

Here's the deal as far as I'm concerned. By far the best present any serious wine lover could get is a bottle of wine that they are really excited about. The only problem is, your chances of actually buying them a bottle they might be really excited about are extremely low unless you know them and their tastes VERY well.

So don't do it. Never buy a serious wine lover a bottle of wine for a gift, at any time of the year. Let them buy it themselves.

That's right, I'm talking about gift certificates.

By far the best possible gift you can get a serious wine lover -- someone who knows what they like -- is the chance to go get it themselves. If you know what wine stores they patronize, go get them a gift card or gift certificate and watch the joy on their faces as they experience the adult version of being a kid in a candy store. There's always one bottle (or a dozen) that serious wine lovers have been coveting, and the opportunity to buy it without agonizing over whether they really need it.

So forget about all those stupid accessories (we wine lovers tend to be pretty opinionated about which ones are good and which ones we want). Don't fall for the trap of buying wine books (most wine lovers would rather drink than read). And for Pete's sake, please don't buy any wine. That's our job.

Now go enjoy your holidays, and make sure that your favorite wine lover shares some of their favorite wine with you. That's what holidays are all about.


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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.