What to buy a wine lover

It’s been a while since I touched on the food and wine side of things, so let’s lighten it up a bit this week.

If Americans wear their hearts on their sleeves, then wine lovers wear it on their foreheads. Anyone who has known us for more than a few minutes knows we love wine. And so when it comes time for birthdays and Christmas, we get lots of wonderful wine themed gifts. While all of these gifts have been thoughtful, you can also tell that non-wine drinkers work really hard to make these things so nice. I thought it would be a good idea to give some easy gift advice for the more hurried shopper.


There are some things that every wine drinker wants, just about any time. One of our favorite gifts was a wine decanter given to us by our Turkish friends. They had bought it at a famous shop in Istanbul, and it reflected their personality, their home country and our friendship, as we would share a glass when we met. I think of them every time I use it.

Now, you may be thinking that this is a terrible example of an easy gift. It’s nearly a perfect gift. It was generous, reflected both our interests and the personality and origin of the giver. BUT, what I didn’t mention is that I already had 3 decanters. And I LOVED it. You can never buy a wine lover too many decanters (unless they live in a tiny Ikea apartment, perhaps.) At one point I think I had 6 decanters. We are down to a more reasonable 4 now. Large ones, small ones, fancy ones, plain ones. And don’t think that just because they already have a really nice decanter that you have to get an expensive one. I don’t want to use a $100 decanter on Wednesday night. I need a cheap one too. They get chipped easily and I can go through one a year easily.

Wine Openers

The other item that you can never have too many of is wine openers. We have, conservatively, 27 wine keys. And I can never find one during a party. We have one for each car (because you never know), one for backpacking, one for car camping, one for our picnic set, one for our daypack, and 4 in our kitchen. It can be a $6 cheapie, a $10 Amazon wine key that’s an amazing value, or an expensive one with a bone handle or some other fancy feature for a special occasion.

As for other types of openers, don’t bother. The rabbit openers are quite fast, but unless I’m opening for an entire wine tasting, it’s easier to just use a key. The one exception is a blade cork puller. These are not fast, but they are fantastic for opening old bottles where a regular corkscrew would just rip the cork in half.

Wine Stain Remover

Something every wine drinkers needs is Wine Away wine stain remover. It expires after about 6 months, so you know a refill is always needed. And much like the wine key, you might want multiple for different locations. A big one for the living room carpet. A travel size for a purse or glove compartment, etc.

Glass Labels and Charms

If you have more than a few people around the table, something to help you remember which glass is yours can be quite helpful. Glass labels are straightforward labels that go on your glass stem, while charms are a bit fancier and more creative, though you have to remember which one is yours.

Wine Pen

A wine pen can also help you keep track of your glass, but it can also mark a special occasion by writing on the bottle.

Wine Glasses

Lastly is wine glasses. This is a bit more challenging, but much like the decanters, these will break over time. Rather than try to get them a really nice set, which can be very dependent on personal preferences, get them a set for a party. A decent small set can be had for $4 a glass, or even better, get some plastic party wine glasses.

There you have it. A handful of gift ideas that are likely to be well received even if your recipient already has what you are giving them. And from $5 to over $100, you can find something for every budget. Happy gifting!


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