Thinking Outside the Bottle for Holiday Gifts

by Jenny Benzie
Advanced Sommelier + Certified Wine Educator,
Proprietress of Épernay Wine & Spirits

The person who walks into the holiday party with a gift of a large size format of wine definitely gets the host’s attention (and that of all the other guests).  But what if you want to taste that bottle of wine you brought as well?  When bringing wine as a hostess gift, you can never be sure if your gift will be consumed that night or tucked into the wine cabinet with all the other spirited gifts.  After all, your host has probably procured party beverages ahead of time in order to follow his theme.

With this in mind, you may decide to save that bottle of wine you want to sample for an evening when you are guaranteed to get a taste.  But what can you bring as a worthy, memorable (yet thoughtful) gift that is functional, fashionable, and won’t break the budget?  Here is a quick list of apropos ideas to include on your holiday shopping list…
Bring home the wine country feel with a multi-purpose gift that is easy to give and very useful at parties.  A True Slate Cheese Board offers a rustic farmhouse feeling with its functional rectangular shape and decorative rope handles for easy transport.  Perfect for serving hors d’oeuvres, a selection of cured meats and cheeses, or as a beautiful display for cookies, cakes and other small bite desserts, this is easily washable by hand and food safe.  The dark color provides a contrast to your cheeses or other food selections, and you can use a piece of chalk to label your items directly on the slate.

Freeze Wine Glasses, also known as “Cooling Cups,” come in sets of two and are perfect for any wine.  Pop them in the fridge to get a nice chill and use them to keep your red wine cellar temperature or store them in the freezer to use when drinking your chilled white (or rosé, a Nantucket favorite).  The BPA-free plastic walls hold a proprietary cooling gel that helps keep your wine at the perfect temperature for maximum enjoyment.  This forward thinking gift will have you reminiscing about that time at Surfside Beach when it was so hot and you couldn’t keep your wine chilled, but next summer you will be prepared.

Speaking of the beach and being prepared for next summer, the ultimate holiday gift for your host that spends a large amount of time on the sand is a Hudson Sutler Cooler Bag.  For about the same price of a high-end, tête de cuvée Champagne that will pop, fizz, and then the bottle needs to be recycled (and don’t get be wrong, I LOVE Champagne!), the long lasting effects of this durable cooler will have the recipients waxing poetic about you every time they use it.  Since this is a cooler bag, it is easy to carry to Steps Beach, your boat at Madaket Marine, or full of goodies and afterschool snacks to Children’s Beach.  The thick insulation will keep your beverages (and food items) cold no matter your destination, and the waterproof liner will ensure this bag doesn’t leak along the way.  The durable construction and rust proof resin zipper is a real bonus when living by the sea.

If you prefer to keep it classy for your host who entertains more at home than on the road, consider an Optima Beverage Tub.  This tub can be placed on any surface without a care—the double walled stainless steel construction guarantees maximum cold retention and no condensation.   When not in use holding beers for the football game, Champagne for brunch or assorted beverages poolside for the grandkids, this tub can also be used as a lovely display for beach towels, a magazine holder, or for storing extra blankets and pillows by the fireplace.  While using it as a footbath when returning from the beach or a bathtub for your small dog wouldn’t be my first suggestions, the options are endless for the multi-tasking item.

Maybe you do decide after all to roll the dice and take along a bottle of wine to the party because that is the one thing that your friend asked you to bring.  Let’s kick it up more than a notch by bringing it in a fashionable and highly functional Winefarer Wine Bag.  This high-end luxury wine bag balances thoughtful design with innovation and premium quality materials.  With several different styles to choose from, each bag offers a unique look to your wine versus the metallic disposable single bottle sleeve.  Even better, it provides the functionality of keeping your bottle cool with its neoprene lining.  This lining captures the bottle’s current temperature for more than two hours.  Consider this stylish twist on wine presentation as the holiday gift that keeps on giving with its multi-time use and long lasting durability.

Happy holidays!