Wine can be an ideal holiday gift for a party host, friend or relative. It’s personal, appropriate, versatile and sophisticated (assuming you’re not gifting a bottle of two-dollar blush, that is). But it’s not always easy to know what kind of wine people enjoy, and the endless rows of options available do not make choosing any easier.
Fran Avery, co-owner of Crave Gourmet Baskets & Gifts in Lake Charles, says when you are giving wine as a gift, think first about who you are buying it for. "If it’s someone you know well, then you probably know their likes and dislikes. If you are buying wine for someone you don’t know that well, your purchase may be a little more challenging, but as with any gift purchase, it’s important to take the time to make a thoughtful choice so they will enjoy not only the wine, but the sentiment behind it.”
Here are some tips from Crave on how to navigate the wonderful world of wine to present a much-appreciated holiday gift:
· Wines range widely in price. Decide how much you want to spend before you start shopping. That will help narrow down your choices and make the process much less daunting. If you want to buy a bottle as a gift, most wine experts would advise choosing something in the $20 range.
· If you aren’t sure what kind of wine the person likes, stay with a traditional white or red. Standard reds include merlot and pinot noir. Reisling and chardonnay are standard whites. Remember: red wine tends to be dry, while white wine tends to be sweet.
· Food-friendly and cocktail hour-friendly wines are always a great choice, especially if you're headed to a holiday party and want to bring a great bottle for the host and all the guests to enjoy.
· One of the most intriguing elements of wine is the bottle itself. Consider the recipient’s personality. If they’re fun and playful, look for something that reflects their personality. They’ll appreciate a unique bottle shape and label design. Are they more traditional? Then stick with the standard look and recognizable names.
· Get creative with packaging. If you aren’t sure enough about the person’s taste in wine to spend all of your allocated budget on the wine itself, consider packaging the wine in a great wine bag or with cheese, nuts, a decorative corkscrew, serving plate or other gift items in a gift basket.
When in doubt, visit a store that specializes in wine and ask for a recommendation. According to Melanie McMullen, co-owner of Crave, this may be the most important piece of advice to remember. "We’re here to help and we want your gift recipient to love the wine you choose for them. We can provide options based on the occasion and what you know – or don’t know – about their preferences.”
Crave is located at 2801 Ryan Street in Lake Charles. Call (337) 421-0040 or visit www.cravegiftbaskets.com for more information.