Considerations for a Wine GiftSome people seem to be particularly good at choosing gifts for others, some not. As a friend once pointed out to me when I said that I didn’t have the knack, all you have to do is think carefully about what someone might like. Thanks a lot. Even if that advice gets to the core of the problem, it’s a bit too simple and obvious to be helpful. Wine presents fewer difficult choices than books for example, but wine choices are not entirely obvious either.

Wedding season has begun, and wine is a popular gift for bride and groom. Summer also prompts the need for thank-you gifts when people have been the vacation guests of generous family members or friends. Those who have decided to give wine will sometimes call to discuss it, and I ask a few questions to guide their choices. Even if they think they know what they want, they sometimes change their minds.

The discussion should begin and end with a budget, of course. That’s the easy part because gift givers have easy control of the numbers. The second question that I ask is whether they know if the giftee enjoys both red and white wines. If they don’t have an answer, then red is the better choice because more people equate fine wine with red wine and think of whites as “cocktail” wine, not true at all but nevertheless the prevailing logic. So the giftee will likely appreciate a gift of reds more.

My next question is whether they know if the giftee enjoys both Californian and European wine. If they have an answer to that question, great, because we have both, so we can proceed to a final choice. If not, I recommend Californian wine because Americans drink more Californian wine than they do wine from any other region in the world. Needless to say, phone calls often come from people who are deliberately looking for Italian wine since Celebrations Wine Club is the only wine club that truly specializes in both Italian and Californian wines. Giftees are often those who travel to Italy or who are Italian Americans with a particular appreciation for Italian wine. Regardless, sometimes the gift giver decides on a combination of both Californian and Italian wines.

Another consideration is the income level of the giftee or how much that person is likely to spend on wine for himself or herself. In other words, Reserve wines would be the best choice for those people who might spend more money on wine for themselves unless the gift giver knows differently. For example, instead of a three month gift membership of the Artisan Series, the better gift would be one month of the Collector Series or two months of the Winemaker Series. By definition, a gift is something special, and one person’s special is another one’s banal even if normal retail for Artisan Series wines is usually between $18 to $24 a bottle, which is not inexpensive wine by any objective definition.

But don’t let this information discourage you from calling me. As anyone knows, who has ever dialed 800-700-6227, I thoroughly enjoy talking to club members. It takes me away from office tasks that are way less entertaining.