Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Wine Lover’s Gift Guide

Last year, one of the favorite articles that I wrote was my holiday gift guide. You know, those little stocking stuffers that good little wine drinking boys and girls would enjoy. I’ve decided that Santa just needs help in this area once in a while.

That said, I know a few items that your wine drinking loved ones should appreciate this year. Put any of these under the tree and you are sure to get some appreciation under the mistletoe. These gifts range from $5 and up, so you can fit something into your budget.

First on my list is a really good corkscrew. There are many types out there. I personally appreciate a well made waiter’s corkscrew. The better ones have Teflon coating on the screw, making it easier to turn into the cork, and a two stage lift, making it easy to ratchet the cork out.

Many people expound on the love that they have for their “rabbit” style corkscrews. These gadgets have a clamp that grips the bottle, and with two swift movements the cork is extracted using a lever. If you want to go all the way, there are very fancy corkscrews that bolt onto the counter and are made of etched brass and hardwood.

Another type of corkscrew that is growing in popularity, especially at winery tasting rooms is the compressed gas style. This type has a needle that is forced into the cork. You press down and “pop” the cork is out.

Lastly, you can always buy a good pair of loafers. Yes…shoes. A widely distributed YouTube video has proven that you can open a bottle with your shoe. Just place the bottom of the bottle in the shoe. Cut the foil from the top, and smack the shoe and bottle against a wall. The force from the sloshing wine pushes the cork out in just a few strokes.

Last year I suggested buying people decanters, which may have been stashed in a cupboard in the best cases, and used as urinals in the worst. This year, there is a device out there called an aerator. It does basically the same thing as a decanter, but more efficiently. There are several brands out there that run from $20 to $70. You pour the wine from the bottle into the device and it forces air into the wine as it filters through to your glass.

For the wine lover who wants to own a piece of the action, I suggest buying into a wine club at one of the local wineries. Most wineries lay out the red carpet to their members. With the economy the way it is right now, there are several who are offering fantastic deals on their wines to club members.

What I really want from Santa is a shopping spree at a Graybeal Distributing, or at a local wine shop such as Great Pacific in Pendleton, or Bellingers in Hermiston. You can purchase a gift certificate from these places and let your favorite wino do their own shopping.

Lastly, for your favorite Santa’s helper, there is always the opportunity to spend the day with someone like…me. I make myself available for special guided wine tours and wine dinners throughout the region in the winter and spring months. If you’re interested you can reach me through my blog at

Merry Christmas, and Cheers!

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