Friday, November 19, 2010

Gift Ideas for 2010 Holiday Season

Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukah or any other event like the dreaded late-December birthday, many of us have wine-lovers in our lives to buy for and many Canadian wineries are happy to help with some suggestions on what to get them. Be it a gift basket or wine club, you'll be armed with more than just the ubiquitous wine-bottle shaped gift this year should you venture beyond the norm.

Gift Baskets/Boxes
By late November, many wineries are close to selling out of their portfolio of wines and have to get creative with their in-store (or online) options. You'll see the same few wines packaged in many different ways, often with added treats or wine gadgets.

In Niagara, Stratus Wines offers a plethora of options from gift cards to glassware to vertical bundles of their age worthy wines. The coolest of all is an "Assemblage" gift box that features the amazing 2007 Red and all of its components (Cab Franc, Merlot, Gamay and more) bottled separately. The various gifting options are available here.

In BC, Langley's Blackwood Lane Winery packages their top-end Bordeaux-styled wines The Alliance and The Reference in multiple gift bag options featuring local delicacies and/or fancy wine aerators. Wine shop orders only, but their various gift basket options can be viewed here.

Staying with BC, South Okanagan Valley winery Black Hills Estate, has many options for what they call a "library" release of their tasty 2008 Nota Bene. The beautifully packed boxes are aimed at the corporate market, but they also offer smaller two-packs as well. Online options and ordering can be accessed here.

Wine Clubs
For the more deep-pocketed and/or the organized group purchasers out there you may consider getting your wine-loving loved-one a membership to a top Canadian winery. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving as membership usually entails 3-4 shipments of wine throughout the year. Maybe you'll be invited over to share in one of the shipments?

Niagara's Tawse Winery, the "Winery of the Year" according to Wine Access, offers a wine club where participants enjoy member-only wines, member-only events and member-only tastings. Limited to only 150 people per year. Membership details here.

Cult favourite Poplar Grove Winery, from BC's Naramata Bench, offers a wine club which ships 6 wines in March, July and November. Many unique, small-lot wines are included that can't be purchased elsewhere. Membership details here.

Gift Certificates
Honestly, unless it's to your loved-one's favourite wine shop or liquor store, gift certificates are tricky business. If you're contemplating a gift certificate to a winery you'd better make sure it's truly a favourite of the receiver as they will likely have to put it towards buying a full case of wine unless they are planning a visit in person. The other thing you might want to check before purchasing is if the winery in question has any wine left at this time of the year. A number of favourite cult wineries like La Frenz Winery on the Naramata Bench will sell-out each year of have a very limited selection and won't have anything new until the Spring release. Not a show-stopper by any means, but something to consider.

An early Happy Holidays to all you gift-buying wine enthusiasts out there. You must be a large group as wine sales have risen again this year, especially domestic wines (according to a recent Wine Institute of BC press release). Yeah us!
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2010

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