‘Tis the season and time for holiday gift recommendations. What to get the wine lover in your life? Not the same old same old. I’ve been looking all year for the coolest, most unique – and yes, stylish presents for you to give — and a few you might want to keep for yourself! Cheers and happy holidays.
Chill Out. Forget chilling a whole bottle of wine, go by the glass. Keep the Napa Wine Chiller, a shiny silver sphere, aka “balls of steel” in the freezer until you’re ready to pour a glass or two of wine. Takes about 2 minutes or so to completely chill one glass of wine, and it works for at least two glasses.
Does not hit your mouth when you sip. When you’re done, rinse, dry and refreeze. Tip: really only works with wide mouth glasses and bigger glasses that allow you to swirl even with the chiller in it. Bonus: 15% of proceeds are donated towards research on testicular cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. $30.
Art from the Vineyard. San Francisco-based sculpture artist Agelio Batle takes his cues from nature and his handcrafted sculptures are a fusion of form and function. In a collaboration with Robert Mondavi Winery, Batle created the limited edition “To Kalon Vine in Graphite,” inspired by one of the most famous vineyards in Napa Valley, the To Kalon Vineyard.
In fact, a bit of To Kalon is within the vine sculpture — Batle took ashes from discarded vines found in the vineyard and mixed that into the graphite material. To Kalon is carved into the top, making this a one of a kind sculptural object that you can display (think paperweight) or use to write with. Write with? Yes, that’s right, you can actually write with this art piece thanks to the graphite composition. $38.
Wine Bottle Jewelry. I’ve seen lots of jewelry made from wine bottles, but the pieces from reVetro are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and I am picky when it comes to jewelry. Kelly and Leslie Tiano, a daughter and mother-in-law team from San Diego are creating eco-friendly baubles combining metal and recycled glass that you’ll want to collect.
There’s a gorgeous lariat with three glass rings, matte and polished green Champagne bottle bangles, rings, earrings and a very cool wrap cuff.
For the stocking stuffers there are also Christmas tree ornaments. Or you can splurge on the wind chime made of wine bottle glass rings. You can find a lot to choose from in the price range of $9 to $30, with other items costing a bit more.
For the Food and Wine Lover. One of the most gorgeous cookbooks out this year comes from Stone Edge Farm, which is in Sonoma Valley. Stone Edge is more than a farm — it’s also a vineyard with a wine label and home chef John McReynolds, who helmed the kitchen at the acclaimed Cafe La Haye in Sonoma.
Now he’s the culinary director at Stone Farm and also teaches, writes and forages. He works with an impressive team to bring you a visually stunning cookbook with mouthwatering recipes you’ll want to cook right away.
The Cellar Collection Gift Box $125 makes a nice set – with the Stone Edge Farm Cookbook and a bottle of 2010 Stone Edge Vineyard “Surround” Bordeaux blend made by winemaker Jeff Baker, with 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 1% Malbec. It is rich and full-bodied with black fruits, baking spices, black tea and leather notes. A great wine to sip while cooking one of McReynold’s dishes. You can also splurge a bit on the Connoisseur’s Collection Gift Box with a bottle of the 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for $175.
Stocking Stuffer. There are all sorts of fancy bottle stoppers out there, but I found the coolest one this year. Designed to look like a cork bung (the rubber stopper on a barrel of wine), Capabunga reusable bottle caps are a sleek, easy way to seal an opened bottle of wine.
Bonus – the bottle doesn’t leak if you lay it on its side in the fridge or in a wine rack. And they even make Capabunga Bubbles to fit over sparkling wine bottles. Affordable enough to buy multiples. Two packs start at $7.95.
For Animal Lovers. Instead of a boring wine aerator, Menagerie makes a collection of animal wine pourers that are as fun as they are functional. Choose from every type of animal from cats and dogs of course to alligators and sharks. Made from stainless steel with silicon rubber fitting. $29 each.
Wearable Barrel Art. Olive and Poppy is the brainchild of Napa residents and friends Anne Siegel and Nicole Hughes, who have found a new and stylish way to repurpose oak wine barrels. They create beautiful bangles using French oak from barrels that have aged Napa Valley Cabernet. Talk about terroir. The bangles are hexagon-shaped and pieces of oak staves alternate with white, pink or green lucite.
The oak has a beautiful wine colored stain. You’ll also find other wine inspired pieces, including the Terroir necklace, with an oval pendant with wine appellation maps, a Cheers pendant necklace, oak barrel stud earrings and oak barrel shirt cuffs. Look for tote bags and scarves coming soon.
The Shirt on Your Back. Here’s another way to wear wine (without spilling it on yourself). Crawford Denim, a Los Angeles-based small batch denim brand teamed up with Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines to craft a truly unique denim shirt – the Vintner Shirt. Red wine from bottles of Robert Mondavi Private Selection Heritage Red blend are used to dye the bandana print on sleeve cuffs, inside the collar and under pocket flaps.
The denim shirts also feature pearl snaps and peaking out the top of the left pocket there’s an oak washer accent made from the inside of the barrels that age the Heritage Red blend. Shirts also come with a separate wine-dyed bandana in same print. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, $135 each. Shop now and you’ll get a 20% discount.
Wine School at Home. Renowned wine expert Kevin Zraly’s book Windows on the World Complete Wine Course has sold more than three million copies since it was first released in 1985, making it the best selling wine guide ever. In the 30th edition Zraly updated his course to encompass the ever growing and changing wine world. He also offer his personal memories of Windows on the World, where he was cellar master from 1976 to September 11, 2001. Great for beginners and serious oenophiles alike. $27.95.