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Eight Actually Useful Gifts for Wine Drinkers

You can definitely give these with a straight face.

SLIDESHOW

Go Vino reusable glasses.

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Treble Decanter from Wine Enthusiast.

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The Coravin.

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The VinGardeValise.

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The best gift for a wine lover is usually a bottle of good wine. But if you’re a bad guesser—or just want to be more creative this year—what are the options? Take a spin around a kitchen store and you might come out with some useless tchotchke or eye-roll-inducing niche gadget (hey there, corkscrew power tool). But fear not: There are a few things that wine lovers will truly appreciate or (let’s be honest) will at least be proud to regift if they’ve already got one.

Go Vino Glasses (4-pack), $25, or Decanter and Wine Glass Set, $14.95  
These reusable, dishwasher-safe wine glasses from Go Vino are used at just about every daytime winery event in the country. Made of a firm plastic and shaped like a wine glass, with the added convenience of a little thumb indent, these classy cups make drinking wine on the go, in a boat, in a park (or really anywhere) easy. Even people who already have a set of Go Vino glasses will appreciate having more. The decanter is a bit of a silly addition, but we’ve seen them used and they will certainly help a young, tight bottle of red wine loosen up. 

Soiree Travel Wine Aerator, $29.99 
The best way to aerate a wine is actually to pour it in a glass and swirl it around. There are also experts who suggest pouring the wine into a glass and then swirling with a fork until the wine softens. But neither of those options is quick or fun; Soiree makes a hip little hand-blown aerator that happens to be both. Invented by a young Napa Valley entrepreneur, Soiree’s aerator does a great job of softening up a wine. And since wines bought on the go often need some air, this is a cool thing for a wine-lover to keep in the car.  

Soiree Dimple Chilling Wine Glasses, $49.99  
These glasses will keep your wine cool on a hot day without requiring an ice bucket on hand. (And if you’re tempted to just drop an ice cube in your glass, well, you’re going to end up diluting the flavor, cutting the alcohol, and maybe even getting slapped with a white glove by a sommelier.) Soiree’s dimpled stemless wine glass lets you avoid those uncomfortable situations, thanks to an internal ice insert that will keep your beverage cold for about 30 minutes. It also has a built-in coaster and heavy-duty grip, which makes it much stronger than your average glass and less likely to be dropped—or at least less likely to break when you eventually drop it. 

Riedel Veritas Glasses (set of 2), $69, or O Wine Tumblers, $29.50  
There are more expensive, more distinctive glasses on the market, but for the money Riedel is the best. Serious wine drinkers will likely have a few of these, maybe even a cabinet full, but they break often, so ready replacements still make a great gift. Consider the Veritas or O Wine tumblers, which work well with all varieties and styles of wine. Bonus: Riedel is having a special through the holidays, so you can scoop up eight for the price of six ($175). 

Artistic Decanter, $99.95 
Buying someone a decanter can be difficult because few people know when to use them (only use a decanter on young, tight wines that you feel would taste better if softer and smoother). Plus, you only need one, and even wine aficionados will admit that they’re just glorified flower vases. But for the right person, they’re kind of irresistible as objects. If your recipient appreciates antiques, look for an American cut decanter from before 1925, which will have been hand-cut by a craftsperson. If you don’t want to go antiquing, opt for a hip, artistic decanter (Wine Enthusiast has a few options). It’s a good gift because few will buy one for themselves, and it’s fun to bust out at a party. 

12-Bottle Wine Fridge, $149  
A small wine fridge is a great gift even for someone with a large wine fridge or a cellar. These little guys are great because they can be placed in the kitchen or somewhere close and used for wines that are going to be drinking in the near future. They're even useful in an office because people frequently go to dinner straight from work (and storing wine in an office with fluctuating temperatures will kill a bottle quickly). We suggest buying a wine fridge from somewhere like Wine Enthusiast, because they know what they’re doing, or somewhere with a good warranty, as these things tend to die on ya. 

Coravin Wine System Model 1, $199 
The Coravin revolutionized the way the restaurants and consumers can sample and serve expensive wines. The system uses a surgical needle to easily move wine from a bottle into your glass, and replaces the wine with a preservative gas. This process allows you to sample rare and expensive bottles of wine without worrying about spoilage, and it’s been reported that bottles will last weeks and months as you “Coravan them.” Anyone who appreciates wine will appreciate this gift. If you need an ulterior motive, your chances of trying that rare bottle your friend’s been hiding away just got better. 

VinGardeValise, $299
These tough suitcases are for people who travel to wine country frequently and love to tell you stories about their latest adventure to Italy, France, or Napa. The cases aren’t cheap and may even seem overboard, but there is simply no better way to travel with wine. You can fill that sucker with bottles, but it also includes all kinds of convenient inserts for clothing if for some reason you want to take up space that could be used for more wine. We’re embarrassed to admit it, but we want one of these for Christmas. 

 

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