Spreading Holiday Cheer With Wine Gift Baskets

Trendy, tasty and one size fits all. Wine is a very versatile gift for the holidays. Whether you are trying to figure out what to get for that special friend; are on your way to a house warming; or looking for something for the in-laws, give the thought of holiday cheer in wine.


Ah, but what wine do I use? Well, first you need to do a little bit of recon. Check out your cellar collection and see what you have on hand. Do you give that special Barolo you have been aging for oh so long in which you only have but a scant few left? Or do you pass on something fruity like that Raspberry Dragonfruit you just bottled last month? How about something softer and crisper like a Verdicchio?


Next, the person . . . do they like big bold aged Chardonnays or softer fruitier Beaujolais? Do they drink the wine with a meal or after as a way to relax at the end of a long work day?


My personal tips are to keep it simple. When we design up our holiday baskets, we try to include at least a bottle from each category, But truth be told, substitutions are in order depending on what we think someone will like and what we want to keep in our collection. We tend to go soft and crisp with a slight bit of fruit like a Pinot Grigio, Chablis, or Riesling. For red we stay fresh and light and search out our Pinot Noirs, or low tannin wines like the Beaujolais or Valpolicella. That is unless the person is especially special to us, then we bring out that well rounded Amarone, or Shiraz that we have been saving.


Next up, the “Dollar Store, Canadian Tire & Michaels.” By now we have usually raided these places and picked up some nice looking inexpensive gift baskets, Christmas napkins and towels, clear wrap, ribbons, flavoured tea bags, wine charms, wine corkscrews, small books, movie tickets, chocolate, wine and cheese cutting boards, famous cheeses, anything will do. Heck we even have friends that we include lotto tickets (tip here, never give the winning million ticket, you will feel like quite the bag). Other items such as colouring books and crayons (if they have kids), custom jewelry or sewing projects (if you are a hobbyist) or home made Christmas cookies are also great ideas.


It is important to have a holiday gift basket that will reflect the preference and taste of your recipient. For instance, if you intend to give it to someone who likes to cook, you can put cooking or baking items in your basket. In the end though it really does not matter what you put it, you can fill a basket with some careful planning and not break the bank to do it.


Lastly, is the theme. When you choose a theme about breakfast, you can use a breakfast tray, or you can use a big serving dish when your theme is Italian. You can also get a pizza pan, fishing tackle box, wine cooler, baby bath and sewing basket. Anything you throw in the pot will be fine and in the end just wrap it all up and seal with a ribbon, and it will look like a million dollars.


In assembling your basket, you can place some filler at the bottom of it so that the content will raise and the container will have a finished look. Our favourites are inexpensive Christmas towels, place mats or tablecloths for fillers. When arranging the items, you should have one item that will be placed at the center, here giant boxes of crackers or cookies work well.  Next just place the bottles leaning inward, we like 3-4 depending on the friend, and finally throw in all those personal nick knacks to keep them guessing. Any theme will do . . . any style will do. Just have fun arranging the items and then wrap the gift basket using cellophane and tie it with a big ribbon. Done and fun!! Don’t be afraid to explore with your creativity, there are no rules.


Besides being such a personal gift that is unique, it keeps me away from the hustle and bustle of the malls, and nine times out of ten we get invited in for a short stay and get to enjoy the very wine we gave and a little time out with our close family and friends! Cheers over the holidays!