The holidays are a special time of year, and so should be the wine we gift our friends and loved ones. Special wines don’t necessarily need to equate to expensive or unapproachable. There are a variety of ways you can give a fabulous gift without spending hundreds of dollars on wines your recipient might be afraid to drink.

One of my favorite holiday gifts to create is a gift bag or basket with wine and food pairings. A favorite gift basket combination of mine is a fruit forward red (think an old vine California Zinfandel) alongside a bag of Brookside dark chocolate covered fruits, a bag of Raspberry Milano Cookies, and a block of sharp cheddar cheese. Or maybe your gift recipient is a Cab lover. Cabernet Sauvignon paired with dark chocolate mint is mind-blowing, as is pairing it with horseradish cheddar. Add in an accessory or two, such as a set of unique wine glasses, or perhaps a crystal decanter, and you have a gorgeous gift basket that will be a huge hit.

Themed gift baskets are a lot of fun to give and receive alike. A “movie night” theme is a crowd favorite. Create this gift basket around a bottle or two of buttery California Chardonnay and a few bags of buttered popcorn or kettle corn (the ultimate wine and snack pairing). Select a block of locally made cheese and some artisanal crackers, perhaps a few salted caramels or some white chocolate truffles to include a sweet treat. Add in gift cards for Netflix and/or Hulu, and your recipient will have a fun, cozy plan to enjoy the first snowstorm of the season. Get creative!

Yankee Swaps are a blast, and everyone always seems to fight over the wine! Whether your swap has a $10 or $25 price limit, you cannot go wrong with easy drinking wines with fun, eye-catching labels. People are fascinated with the 19 Crimes line of wines which have a special app: when you point your phone at the label, it comes to life and tells a story. Personally, I love wine labels that have dogs on them, such as Bar Dog. Middle Sister wines are a huge hit among women with their quirky names, such as “Drama Queen,” Mischief Maker,” and “Sweet & Sassy.” Not only will the recipient love the wine inside the bottle, but the adorable labels will be raved about.

There is always a place for high-end or premium bottles of wine, and the holidays are certainly the perfect time of year. With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, this is the ideal time to gift a bottle of nice Champagne, whether mid-range price points such as Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot, or the higher end $150+ range, such as Dom Perignon, Cristal, or Krug. These are perfect wines that the recipient could save to open for a special occasion or celebration if they wish.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season!


About the Author

Missa Capozzo


Missa holds various positions in the wine industry, each of which brings her incredible fulfillment. She is the EVP of Product Development at Sail to Trail WineWorks in Worcester, MA and the Director of Wine Education at VINOvations in Sharon, MA. She also teaches students of all levels of experience and interest in wine classes, lifestyle experiences, and leads wine dinners all around Massachusetts.

She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, a certified French Wine Scholar (FWS), certified with the Wine and Spirits Trust, Level 3 Advanced (WSET), and a certified educator with Boston Wine School (BWSEd).  Her unique combination of talent allows her to translate the nuances of wine for the everyday wine drinker in an accessible and fun way. Demystifying wine and removing the intimidation is her passion when sharing wine with others.