Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Wine Etiquette: A Simple Guide to Gifting Wine

I know we’ve gone into some detail about wine etiquette here on Vinspire in previous posts but today I would like to venture into the etiquette of giving wine as a gift.

It is doubtful that I’m the only person who has had a terrible experience of taking a bottle of something delicious to someone else’s house. I’ve seen my wine gifts disappear into cupboards, remain unopened on the side board or (and this is the worst) a lovely white wine is uncorked and tipped all over the carpet to get rid of a red wine stain – I still feel upset about that.

So here are three simple rules to gifting wine which, if followed will ensure you never become bitter and twisted about offering wine as a token gift and can continue to take pleasure in the joy of giving.

Rule 1: Don't be presumptuous

Don't splash out in the hope you'll get to try some of the bottle you gift, or you'll just end up disappointed and wishing you'd spent the money on yourself. Either give something special but buy a bottle for yourself too, or give something that is good value but tasting: as a ballpark, I normally try to make sure the wine is around the £7.00 mark.

This could be seen as a tad on the cheap side, but if the bottle does get whisked off into a cupboard and you stand no chance of trying it on this occasion, at least it won’t take too long to save up again and buy another bottle to savour (and your recipient will have a decent everyday bottle to try at a later date).

Rule 2: Chill the bottle

If it is a particularly nice bottle of white you’re giving, and you really want your recipient to share it with the present company, consider taking it chilled. This is the ultimate hint that it has been selected for drinking then-and-there, and there's nothing more tempting than a chilled bottle of white just screaming to be opened.

(You could even think about telling the recipient of the gift that wine is never the same if it’s chilled, warmed up and chilled again...utter codswallop but no one will question you if they feel blinded by science.)

Rule 3: Unfussy budget wines needn't be embarrassing

If you're gifting wine on a real budget (we're talking Aldi-cheap), my advice is to stock up on something you think no one will have seen before but that is tasty enough to pass as something quaffable.

You might not want anyone to ask how much you spent: in which case, make sure the bottle isn't memorable for being either horrendous or amazing: the former suggests that you know nothing about wine and are a terrible guest, and the latter means that they will ask you where you got it from and then discover that you didn’t exactly splash out. Sometimes, a decent but uncomplicated bottle is all that's needed, and there'll be no great expectations about how much you spent.

With these three simple rules in mind, I hope you are now equipped to have positive wine present giving experiences every time!

Let us know how you get on and whether you too have had any horrendous wine gifting experiences at @VinspireUK or on our Facebook page!

Image taken from Spine's photostream under the Creative Commons License

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