When did December get here? Whether you’re almost done shopping or just getting started, there’s something here for everyone from the perfect hostess gift to a most decadent wine experience. And in the spirit of giving, we’re starting off with an easy way to help feed the hungry.
And, thankfully, you don’t have to cook!
This year marks the second annual Million Meals charity campaign headed by Beringer Vineyards and Food Network personalities Jamie and Bobby Deen. Help provide meals to families in need by purchasing a bottle of Beringer Founders’ Estate wine, signing up on the Beringer Million Meals website or by “liking” the Beringer Vineyards Facebook page.
For each action, $1 is donated to hunger charities nationwide. Last year’s campaign brought one million meals to families – this year, they’re going for two million. It’s easy to make an impact!
You Be The Judge
Wine charms are great, but who can remember if they have the bottle or the corkscrew? (I’m sure it has nothing to do with how much has been consumed!)
But no one forgets their name, making these drink tags the ideal way to keep someone else’s lips away from your glass. Just write your name on the tag and place it around the stem. There are lots of designs for every occasion, and the company will even customize. $8.95 for 50; other quantities available.
No More Spots
Ah, the perils of drying a wine glass. They don’t really sit on the hooks in the dish drain, and resting them upside down on a towel doesn’t let the inside dry. Enter the Wine Glass Dryer, an adorable tree that holds four wine glasses upside down then collapses on itself for storage. $14.95
Who knew football fans also enjoyed their wine & cheese? Take along a mini-picnic or just show your team spirit with these totes. The Duet Wine Tote features two insulated wine compartments, a cheeseboard and knife, and a corkscrew. The Sleek Wine Tote includes two acrylic wine glasses, a corkscrew and bottle stopper, cloth napkins and room for one bottle. Go team! $39.99 to $49.99
Show your unique flair with this hostess gift: Table Topics is packed with question cards to get guests talking, thinking and laughing! From “What kind of business would you love to start?” to “Would you rather meet your great great grandparents or great great grandchildren?” this gift is sure to get the party started! $24.99
Auctions can be a smart way to buy wine – and also an intimidating one! The Wine Lover’s Guide to Auctions by Ursula Hermacinski can help you become a savvy purchaser. This guide details the mechanics of the auction process, offers insider secrets and gives tips on how to use the auction catalog to maximize your success. $17.95 from Amazon.
The Ultimate Wine Experience
Who doesn’t want to play winemaker and blend their own cuvee? Conn Creek Winery offers a barrel blending experience like no other. Guests enjoy a guided walk-around barrel tasting, instructions on blending techniques and strategies, and a bottle of your own custom blend to take home. $95 per person. Call 707-963-5133 to make reservations.
Okay, so this isn’t a gift per se, but it is cool. This video from eHow Rachael Ray Buddy and entertaining expert Evette Rios shows how to use a large square of fabric to wrap up two wine bottles as a hostess gift. Ingenious!
Pairing wine and dessert can be challenging, but Cookies & Corks takes the guesswork out of it – and lets you keep drinking your favorite wine! These decadent confections are specially crafted to pair with red, white or sparkling wine. Try an espresso chocolate peanut butter cookie with Cabernet, or an apricot sage cookie with Sauvignon Blanc. Yum! $7.95 for a box of 15 cookies.
The Ultimate Fridge
You can’t beat the utility of this dual-sided refrigerator – one side to keep your wine perfectly chilled, the other for beverages and snacks. Features include separate temperature controls for each side, adjustable shelves, and room for up to 31 wine bottles. $3,739
These beautiful candle holders are crafted by Kerry McCormack, a Brooklyn artist who recently relocated to the Russian River Valley. She makes these from the staves of Pinot Noir barrels sourced locally from Sonoma County wineries. Holders are $50 plus shipping. Contact Michael Volpatt at 415-994-8864 or Michael@bigbottommarket.com to order.
Keepin’ it Chill
What’s the best way to quickly chill a bottle of wine? The Corkcicle! This icicle-shaped chiller can be kept at the ready in the freezer. Then, whenever a bottle needs chilling, simply uncork the bottle and put the Corkcicle in its place. The wine – be it red or white – will be at proper drinking temperature in minutes.
In addition, the Corkcicle keeps a wine cool as you work your way through the bottle. $22.95
starting on December 3.