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A wine aerator and a Durand corkscrew on a pink and red background

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The Best Gifts for Wine Lovers, According to Sommeliers

Eater Wine Club somms recommend gifts that go beyond the bottle 

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There are so few people you can confidently gift wine to. Outside a best friend or significant other you’re often sipping alongside, it’s a bit of a gamble to give a bottle to a boss, the front desk team at your doctor’s office, or landlord when you’re not certain if they prefer whites to red, skin contact to something pink, or even classic to natural.

Instead, consider getting the avid wine drinkers you know something to accompany the bottles that they might prefer buying themselves. Maybe it’s a fancy carrier for them to transport wine to a holiday dinner, or a book on the regions of Italy because that’s where they honeymooned.

For the very best in wine-related presents, we asked former Eater Wine Club hosts — folks who are overseeing the best wine lists and bottle shops across the country — to share their favorite (and most useful) gifts that don’t come in 750 milliliters. And of course, if you’re set on gifting something drinkable, Eater Wine Club can help ease the guesswork of picking, with bottles that are selected by a new wine pro each month and show up right at your loved one’s door.


Glasses and decanters

  • $8

Prices taken at time of publishing.


A wine glass with a thick stem

Stölzle INAO tasting glasses

  • $20

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Chances are a new wine bar has recently opened near you, and chances are they’re using glassware that’s petit and slightly more French in style. As the owner of the wildly popular Somerville, Massachusetts, wine bar Rebel Rebel and its retail kid sister Wild Child, Lauren Friel was on a quest for the perfect glass for a while before settling on these from Stölzle. “Being a New Englander means I have an inherent love for all things utilitarian, and the fussiness of multiple glasses for multiple wines never jived with the simplicity I craved from wine service.” For Friel, this smaller tasting glass is the silver bullet of glassware — something that brings out the best in everything from Champagne to barolo, but it’s also elegant, compact, and sturdy.”


Dorsey Green Sauce

  • $10

Prices taken at time of publishing.


An erlenmeyer flask

Erlenmeyer flask

  • $9

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Meanwhile, Eater Wine Club’s November host and Atlanta pop-up chef Seung Hee Lee loves to decant young red wines in an Erlenmeyer flask — you know, the science-y ones. “I like to decant half of the bottle (and the Erlenmeyer flask lets me measure that out easily), and compare how the decanted version tastes different than the one in the bottle.” 


Accessories

Felt rings for identifying glasses of wine

Graf Lantz felt wine markers

  • $19

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Unsurprisingly, our somms host a lot of wine parties; so they’re used to the classic host dilemma of having multiple glasses with no idea whose is whose. “I’m not typically one for wine markers in general,” says Philly sommelier Kaitlyn Caruke, “but these from Graf Lantz are super classy; they’re made from Merino wool felt and come in the most gorgeous colors.” 


The Durand, a corkscrew and ah-so combination, and its box

The Durand

  • $145

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The wine lover in your life no doubt already owns a solid double-hinged waiter’s corkscrew, but if they’re someone who also enjoys drinking wines with a lot of years on them (we’re talking 30-plus years), the classic corkscrew won’t do. “The Durand is a total game changer,” says Portland-based sommelier Brent Braun. “It’s a corkscrew and ah-so combined into one, and it’s basically foolproof in making sure an old cork doesn’t disintegrate into a bottle when you try to open it.”


Tortilla starter kit

  • $115

Prices taken at time of publishing.


A polishing cloth

Riedel polishing rag

  • $11
  • $16
  • 32% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Caruke admits this is a nerdier gift, but she would be absolutely thrilled to receive a polishing cloth for all her glassware. This one from wine glass company Riedel is just the sort she’s used at the restaurants she’s worked in. “It’s not an everyday thing for me, but I like to polish if I know I’m having people over.”


A wine vacuum saver

Vacu Vin wine saver/stopper set

  • $10
  • $12
  • 17% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Your wine-loving loved one has maybe heard of a certain pricey gadget that lets them have a glass of wine without having to open the entire bottle; fortunately there’s one the pros love that’s under $20. Slik Wines founders Kyla Peal and Marie Cheslik recommend this set for extending the life of a bottle of wine. “It’s pretty much used in every restaurant, but I seldom see it in people’s homes,” says Cheslik. It  pumps existing air out of any bottle to keep it fresher for longer. “I’d even use it on bottles of vinegar or olive oil.”


Wine totes and other ways to take it to go

Leather wine totes

IWA Leather Wine Bag

  • $85

Prices taken at time of publishing.

While they each had their preferences for style, all the somms polled said that something to carry bottles of wine in was one of the very best accessories to have. For Liz Martinez, the director of beverage and service at Detroit’s Daxton Hotel, this leather option “not only protects my precious bottles, but it is a major conversation starter; everyone immediately covets it.” Style aside, these totes are also functional with a divider to safeguard your bottles. “Beautiful and luxurious,” says Martinez. Who wouldn’t want that?


An assortment of combination wine bags and coolers in various colors

Uashmama wine bag and cooler

  • $44

Prices taken at time of publishing.

When Chloe Grigri, owner of French Philly wine bar Le Caveau, was in France one summer, she fell in love with a wine bag that also functioned as a tabletop cooler, the ones she used to see at all the little bistros. “Food52 sells this slightly more fashionable version that I am loving right now,” says Grigri. “You can grab a bottle on-the-go and be sure it stays at temp during a dinner party.”


A leather canteen

Spanish leather drinking bag

  • $24

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Known as the bota, this leather bag is the ideal way to drink on the go for Spaniards. But whether or not you’re in Spain, New York-based wine director Zwann Grays loves the idea of filling this up and taking it to the park, on a hike, or to any outdoor excursion. “Few people will know what you’re drinking.”


Brümate Winesulator

  • $35

Prices taken at time of publishing.

There are so many wine tools and gadgets out there that even the most useful can appear gimmicky at first glance. So it helps to know that Braun stands firmly behind something known as the “winesulator.” According to Braun the canteen is the best way to take wine with you, inconspicuously. “You can fill it with an entire wine bottle and it stays cold for hours, plus, the little travel plastic cups are great for the park, river, beach, or really anywhere,” he says. “And because it basically looks like a water bottle, me and my lady will often fill it up and take walks through the park while sipping right from the bottle.”


Books

A book cover for “Pourquoi boit-on du vin?”

“Pourquoi boit-on du vin?”

  • $36

Prices taken at time of publishing.

If the wine drinker in question is also someone who knows some French (and who enjoys existential questions), Grigri can’t recommend this read enough. By fellow sommelier Fabrizio Bucella, Pourquoi boit-on du vin? — which translates to “Why Do We Drink Wine?” — takes readers on a journey to discuss how wine became the mother of all drinks. “It’s my current cool wine geek read, and a big bonus because I’m always pushing myself to read more in French.”


The book cover for “Wine Folly”

“Wine Folly: The Master Guide”

  • $20

Prices taken at time of publishing.

For the person on your list who is eager to tackle the vast world of wine, an introductory-style book is among the better ways to get them started. “The Master Guide from Wine Folly is a great beginner’s guide for making good pairing choices,” says Coleman. It’s filled with graphs, maps, and guides to regions, and also has a robust website you can reference alongside the book, or when you’re in transit and can’t quite remember the fruit notes usually associated with cabernet franc.


Accompaniments

A box of sardines

La Brujula sardines in olive oil

  • $8

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Wine is best enjoyed with food; and for wine pro Jirka Jireh, the be-all end-all pairing is an apero spread with a couple tins of fish, good olive oil, Castelvetrano olives, pickled and marinated veggies, creamy goat or cow cheeses, and some crusty bread. For the fish, she likes La Brujula. “All of the conserva made by La Brujula is delicious, but I am partial to their sardines; they just have a wow factor when you open the tin and all the sardines are beautifully stacked inside.” Jireh also loves the scallop and octopus tins from Conservas de Cambado in Galicia, but says, when in doubt, you can check out a local natural wine shop or pantry for provisions like tinned fish and good olive oils and vinegars.


A bottle of vitamins

Drinkwel multivitamin

  • $40

Prices taken at time of publishing.

When drinking takes its toll (or before it gets the chance to) Grays swears by this vitamin from Drinkwel — a company designed specifically for alcohol-related recovery and hydration by supporting liver and kidney health. “We need to take care of ourselves,” says Grays. “And I love this for taking before or after a night of drinking.”

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