Christmas is not doubt a wonderful time of the year. The Christmas tree decorated in a variety of colors, the wafts of the ham in the kitchen and the eggnog spiked with brandy [the way I like it]. The stockings adorned on the mantle piece and of course the presents beautifully wrapped, awaiting the eager recipients on Christmas morning.
It also brings the nervous anticipation of the reaction, the reaction that will quickly tell you whether or not you were succesful in your purchase, which might mean that you hardly know that person for whom that gift was intended, DISASTER. There is nothing more terrifying than the reaction of, “this is what you got me”. But honey, those are chef quality pots and pans, they are actually quite amazing!” Embarrassingly enough, a true story.
As a wine lover, I wanted to offer some recommendations on purchases that might go down well this Christmas season.
Stay away from a bottle of wine, unless you know for certain it is what the person wants. I have fallen into this trap before, whereby I gave a wine that I thought was fantastic, only for the recipient to throw most of it down the sink with disgust.
 A year’s subscription to a wine magazine.
I love the wine spectator and wine enthusiast magazines. They are super informative, focusing on particular regions and specific producers as well as providing a comprehensive tasting analysis of wines. For the wine lover you just enjoys learning, this is a home run and fairly in-expensive.
 Riedel wine glasses.
Does stemware make a difference? absolutely. Ask any beer aficionado if the right glass makes the difference. While there are many types of glasses to choose from, I prefer the Riedel line of wine specific glasses. This is an 11th generation family that have been in the glass business for over 250 years. While they offer a variety of collections, I like the Vinum and Overture but visit their website for a much more comprehensive list of glasses and decanters.
 A wine decanter.
This is somewhat of a tricky slope as you must have a fairly intimate knowledge of the recipients wine preferences. Do they value wine enough to decant it prior to serving, do they collect wines that should be decanted [in that they are old or have a natural sediment]. If the collection is composed of 2 buck chuck and boons farm, a decanter might just collect dust on the mantlepiece. For purely aesthetic reasons, check out Riedel’s Amadeo Lyra and Mamba decanters. Decanting can truly transform a wine and the wine enthusiast in your household might just appreciate one.
 A Wine fridge.
Giving appliances for Christmas is a little weird but if laying down wine is a priority, then a wine fridge might be a strong consideration. Most wine lovers have less than ideal “cellars”, basement storage, a bedroom closet or a nook under the stairs. I cannot tell you how many people have expressed dismay that their 20-year-old bottle of Cabernet tasted like vinegar when opened. A wine fridge will alleviate the issue of atypical aging due to unfriendly climatic factors. Check out the wine enthusiast website for a list of wine fridges, ranging from 12 bottle to 600 bottles. I have a Eurocave at home, kindly given to me by my beautiful wife, and I must admit that I absolutely love it.
 A wine club membership.
Most wineries have some sort of wine club, whereby multiple bottles of wine are shipped out at various times of the year. This is a great gift for someone who loves a particular producer but does not find the time to get out there all that often. Most wineries have the ability to ship out-of-state, so you need not be bogged down by your location. Some wineries do require a waiting list to join [I have been waiting for a few years to get onto some mailing lists], but others will be eager to get you signed up and get you their wine. This is a great way to sample the various wines of a single producer as well as receiving member discounts and coupons. At our winery, we specifically make wines for wine club members only and create events to say thank you and show our appreciation. Being a member at a winery is a great way to forge a relationship with the family, to meet the winemaker and learn so much more about wine.
There are numerous other wine specific gifts that you could choose, but as a wine lover myself, I would not be bummed at all to receive any of these.
One last footnote.
Christmas is a special time, so why not open that special bottle of wine? I often get asked what the best occasion is to open that special bottle of wine. My answer is generally “A Monday” but since wine is for sharing and Christmas is about family, why not share it with your family. Been saving that 1989 Haute Brion, the 2000 Petrus or the Harlan Estate, why not open it up this Christmas, bet you will be happy you did.
From myself and the rest of the Keswick Vineyards family, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very blessed holiday season and a prosperous and joyous New Year. May all your dreams and wishes come true.
I lastly want to thank my beautiful wife Kathy for giving me the best gift ever, my beautiful daughter Aria. Love you guys so much.