Cluster Crush 2016 Holiday Wine Gift Guide

If you ask me, 12 days of Christmas and 8 days of Hanukkah mean 20 opportunities to buy the loved ones in your life all the wine gifts their hearts could desire. With options ranging from corkscrews to cooling systems, here are this year’s picks of great presents from the world of wine that should make toasting the new year that much more fun.

chateau-spill

Chateau Spill Stain Remover, $7.99
Come to think of it, this might be a better gift before all the holiday parties. No matter when you show up with this little bottle of magic, though, your friends shouldn’t fault you for thinking of them and wine stains. After all, everyone spills. But no one seems to know just the right way to clean up a puddle of red wine (well, other than with a straw). This handy product is pretty effective, though. And even better, it’s non-toxic, biodegradable and safe to use on your skin as well apparel and linens.

bottle-stopperBekith Wine Stopper Set, $9.95
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few different bottles of wine open at any given time. You might also mangle corks (and yes, I admit it, even screw caps) at the same rate that I do. Well, we’re both in luck, because you can get a great set of four hefty wine-bottle stoppers and a drop ring from Belkith for a bargain price this holiday season. The drop ring prevents drips, while the rubber rims provide an airtight seal and the stainless steel globes on top are simple but stylish.

wine-chiller

Wine Chilling Rods, $19.99
This is a two-for one because not only do you get two wine chillers, but they also each have built-in aerators. No need for an ice bucket or to spend hours chilling that bottle of wine. Simply stick one of these in your bottle after opening, let it chill the liquid for a few minutes, then pour. You’ll have nice, cold wine in no time, and because of its design, you can keep it in the bottle and use it as an aerator as well, killing two birds with one…er, rod.

wine-rack

Sorbus Butterfly Wine Rack, $21.95
Forget just stacking your bottles one on top of the other, or shunting them to the back of a cupboard. Put those babies on display with a little bit of design flair in this simple but eye-catching eight-bottle rack from Sorbus. It’s only three bottles wide, so it’ll fit on pretty much any counter or surface, and is a more attractive way to keep some wines in view than your average metal rack. While I wouldn’t necessarily use it to store those precious vintages you’re putting aside for special occasions, for everyday sips, this is a great option.

wine-tshirts

Wine T-Shirts, $22.99
I came across a cool little company called I Love Apparel that has funny shirts of all stripes and sizes, including several sassy sayings and animated aphorisms about wine. The ones above are among my favorites, but there are myriad mottos that might be more your (or your friends’) speed. Check them out, and order up.

wine-folly-poster

Wine Folly Wine Descriptors Poster, $34
One of my favorite wine sites is Wine Folly, thanks not only to interesting articles but some great graphic designs. Though you can spend hours poring over the site getting a visual oeno-education, you can also bring some of that knowledge home with you by purchasing one of their maps or posters. My recent favorite is this one with over 120 wine descriptors – those common words we tend to hear wine snobs use – and what they mean exactly when it comes to wine. Thanks to the colors and lines, it also kind of looks like a futuristic metro map to me. I’d buy a ticket for that train any day.

bormioli

Luigi Bormioli Optima Decanter and Glasses, $35.99
When it comes to decanters, it seems like the options are getting more fanciful by the day. You can find ones shaped like everything from an inverted tulip to a whorled ram’s horn to something resembling an old-fashioned phonograph. But sometimes, you just want to decant a bottle to siphon out any sediment and give the liquid a little air. For those times, there’s this cost-conscious option. It comes complete with six glasses, all of which are made from lead-free laser-cut glass that are reinforced with titanium. They can stand up to 4,000 dishwashing cycles and have a 25-year non-chipping and discoloration guarantee.

champagne-bottle-stopper

Le Creuset Champagne Crown Sealer, $39.95
Though you have a few days after opening a bottle to enjoy the bubbles, sometimes you want to take a little longer. Don’t let the thought that your champagne will go flat keep you from popping that cork, though. Instead, invest in this streamlined black-nickel bottle stopper from Le Creuset. It’ll keep the wine fizzy and make you look like a Bond villain to boot.

one-hope

ONEHOPE Wine Sets and Boxes, $45+
It’s better to give than to receive. Especially when you’re giving both wine and charity. ONEHOPE is an organization that uses the proceeds from its gourmet products, including wine and coffee, to fund projects such clinical cancer trials, animal shelters, meals for the needy and vaccination programs around the world. You can pick from two-bottle boxes, gourmet goodies, picnic sets, and even a shaving kit, each of which benefits a specific cause. But you should focus on the wine, because the consulting winemaker is Robert Mondavi, Jr. Yes, of those Mondavis.

twister-decanter

Twister Aerator and Decanter, $79.95
Wine service is all about showmanship, and this aerator-decanter combo is a real showstopper. While this set is more about aesthetics than functionality, you’ll still get some oxygen into that wine and some sediment out of it, so it’ll accomplish its purpose, and look good doing it. Which is sometimes the really important part.

wine-chiller

Corvi Wine Cooler, $85
Forget a metal ice bucket dripping onto the floor. These minimalistic, angular wine coolers from Corvi are made from handcrafted concrete that you just put in the freezer and use when you want to cool a bottle off before serving, or keep it cool during a meal. No ice necessary, and they remain cool for a couple hours. Not only are they utilitarian, but they’re also quite design-forward and can even be stacked one atop the other to create an ad hoc wine rack or stand.

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Koldfront 18-Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Fridge, $190
There are plenty of reasons to get someone a wine refrigerator. They help maintain a constant temperature, keep out excess light, control humidity and allow you to store wine on its side, all of which will help keep those collector bottles intact. This one is a pretty great deal at under $200. It stores up to 18 bottles and has two temperature zones with LCD controls so you can keep different bottles at different temps. It’s also freestanding, which means you have more options for where to install it. Preferably within arm’s length so that those bottles are in easy reach!

coravin-model_eight_360_1

Coravin Model Eight, $299
The latest in the Coravin family of products, this one is a relative bargain at $299, but probably at the top end of your wine-gifting budget. If you have a true connoisseur to buy for, though, this is the present you need to get. Coravin wine systems use tiny needles to perforate a cork and pump in stabilizing argon gas to prevent oxidation while still allowing you to pour wine from a bottle. That way, you can sample from expensive and rare collector’s bottles without having to drink the whole thing at once. This is the latest version, and although Coravin itself seems to be sold out, you can still score one on Amazon.

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