gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Wine Lovers, According to Sommeliers and Winemakers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Serious wine drinkers tend to be picky, with fierce opinions about the best bottles. So if you’re searching for a gift for such a person, consider something that is wine adjacent. You can veer toward the practical, like a new set of deeply coveted, expert-approved wineglasses. Or maybe something beautiful, like a wine stopper that looks like a piece of art. Or maybe something unexpected, like a salty snack to pair with their favorite bottle. To track down the best gifts for the wine drinkers in your life, we asked nearly two dozen sommeliers, winemakers, and wine bar and wine shop owners to share their go-to ideas. Over the years, we’ve also written about tons of wine tools and accessories, so we combed through those stories and pulled additional items that felt worthy of a spot on this list. If you want to shop by category, you can jump to glassware, decanters, coolers, corkscrews, stoppers, food, books, odds and ends, and wine subscription services.

Glassware

The best glass

Glasvin The Universal
From $79 for 2
From $79 for 2

The super-beloved (but super-expensive) wine glasses from Zalto happen to be sold out everywhere right now. Instead, consider these from Glasvin, which have a slightly lower price tag, but certainly don’t disappoint in terms of their delicate structure. “They’re still handblown,” explains Lily Peachin, owner of Dandelion Wine in Brooklyn, who sells them at her own shop. “They feel good, and a nice stem is crucial for someone who loves wine.”

The best less-expensive glass

$51 for 12

For the friends and family you love — but not quite enough to spend quite so much — there are these budget-friendly, yet elegant glasses from Libbey. Sommelier John Condon of French Louie in Brooklyn says Libbey’s wine goblets are great because “a glass needs to be functional first and everything else next,” adding, “Libbey’s Vina line of wineglasses is very classically shaped and elegant, but also reassuringly sturdy.”

The best Champagne glass

For the wine lover who drinks Champagne year-round (and not just on New Year’s Eve), it might be worth investing in a specialized Champagne glass. “Riedel’s Champagne glass is shaped more like a traditional wineglass, which lets you incorporate more air and smell,” says Grub Street’s diner-at-large Tammie Teclemariam. “It’s better than a stereotypical flute, and it enhances the minerality of all sorts of sparkling wines from Vouvray to Vilmart.”

The best tasting glass

Lauren Friel, owner of Rebel Rebel in Somerville, Massachusetts, suggests gifting tasting glasses, the ones she uses in her own wine bar and the “kind you’ll most commonly find at Paris wine bars, too,” she says. The slightly smaller build gives them an elegance and makes them feel light in your hand — but they’re also very sturdy and can hold a proper pour. “They also have shorter stems which makes them great to store for city-dwellers who might not have a ton of room,” she says.

The best coupe

$45 for 4

If they already own enough classic wine glasses, you can always give a set of wider-rimmed coupes. Lauren Paylor O’Brien, who won the title of Netflix Ultimate Drink Master 2022, particularly likes them for Champagne cocktails, but they make just as elegant of a vessel for any red or white.

The best tumblers

Not all wine drinkers are fans of stemless glassware, but these short, less traditional (and less expensive) glasses from Bormioli give a dinner party a European feel. Hannah and Marian Cheng of Mimi Cheng’s use them while hosting dinner parties because they “remind us of drinking and eating tapas in Madrid. They’re elegant and simple.” Joanna Goddard of the blog Cup of Jo feels similarly: “Whenever my husband and I drink wine from these glasses at home, I feel like we’re transported to a little bar in Barcelona. They’re charming, light, and just feel good in your hand.” Jill Bernheimer, owner of Domaine in Los Angeles, advises that people save them for less-complicated wines, like chilled reds and pet nats — but if you’re gifting them to a wine lover, they probably already know that.

The best stackable tumblers

$50 for 4

Strategist writer Dominique Pariso loves these glasses, which are both stackable and a bit bigger than the tumblers above. “These heavy-bottomed beauties feel wonderfully hefty in your hand, look more expensive than they are, and are great for drinking everything from water to old-fashioneds to wine,” she says. Plus they come in seven other colors and can be purchased in a multicolor sets, too.

Decanters and aerators

The best wine decanter

Roman Roth, winemaker and partner at Wölffer Estate Vineyard recommends gifting a high-quality wine decanter from the centuries-old brand Riedel. “It is a showstopper. Your dinner guests will be in awe. The most elegant decanter in the world,” he says. There’s also the Riedel O decanter, which is a touch less extravagant but equally as effective (and even easier to pour from).

The best less expensive wine decanter

Marissa Copeland, head sommelier at Junoon, suggests a much less expensive decanter, which also happens to be her personal favorite. For those on the hunt for a Riedel dupe, this one costs a fourth of the price of the Riedel O decanter and looks nearly identical.

The best porrón wine pitcher

Zwann Grays, founder of Zwann’s Wine Club, thinks a porrón is a super-fun alternative to a more traditional decanter. It serves a similar function — letting your wine aerate — but the spout gives it a little something different. “It’s just a fun thing to pull out with friends at dinner. There are always people who haven’t seen one before,” she says. “You can pass it around; people can pour the wine straight into their mouths. Just about every wine bar in the city and abroad will have one of these somewhere in their reach.”

The best aerator

For wine drinkers who would rather use a gadget than wait for a decanter to work its magic, this aerator is a favorite of wine professionals. “This is an award-winning aerator for a reason. You can taste the difference immediately after aerating with it,” says Sarita Cheaves, wine-media producer and co-host of the podcast Swirl Suite.

Coolers

The best insulated wine bottle

$75

Sommelier Cha McCoy says if you’re sneaking an entire bottle of wine onto a beach or just want to pour ice-cold white wine in the park, look no further than the BrüMate. “My outdoor meetups have increased due to quarantine and the BrüMate keeps the wine cool for up to 24 hours and holds up to one full bottle,” she says. “There are tons of insulators on the market, but I became a believer in the BrüMate after a friend brought it with her to the beach and I was able to witness its magic.”

The best wine cooler backpack

Yeti Hopper M20 Soft Backpack Cooler
From $260
From $260

“I was astonished at how cold this cooler keeps things,” Friel says, echoing many other beverage pros who have recommended Yeti products in the past. It has enough room to fit six bottles (and a picnic lunch), making it the perfect companion for any outdoor excursion (or if your recipient is actually in the wine business and constantly has to schlep bottles around). “It’s totally comfortable to have on,” Friel says. “You don’t feel like you’re carrying a cooler on your back. I don’t know how they do it.”

The best wine-cooler sleeve

If your wine enthusiast is more of a picnicking type, this Le Creuset wine-cooler sleeve uses two removable gel packs to chill a bottle of wine in 30 minutes — and keep it cold for another 90 minutes.

The best wine bucket

While quick-cooling gadgets are good on the go, if you’re at home, says Lydia Richards, sommelier and founder of Vino Concierge, try ice water. “I love having (and gifting) a nice-looking bucket,” she says, adding that “ice water is the safest way to chill your wine.” It’s quicker than the fridge or freezer, too, she notes. This bucket is made from polished stainless steel, so it’s leakproof, and according to one reviewer, it “has capacity to hold lots of ice and many bottles of wine, Champagne, water, and vodka.”

The best wine fridge

If you want to splurge on a gift for the serious wine collector in your life, consider a wine fridge. This one from Wine Enthusiast took the top spot in our roundup because it offers dual temperature zones, so you can properly store your whites along with your reds at optimum temperature, which is especially great for people who enjoy entertaining. “The Wine Enthusiast fridges are incredibly reliable and hold temperature incredibly well,” says Chris Leon, owner of Leon & Son in Brooklyn. “My old one saw many moves before finally dying after six years. Worth every penny.”

Corkscrews

The best corkscrew

Copeland is a forever fan of the humble but effective waiter’s corkscrew, which she calls “simple and direct.” This set of four would make a wonderful gift for wine lovers who tend to lose their corkscrews or those who like to keep one on hand at all times.

The best electric corkscrew

T-Pain recently told us about his favorite opener, which he found roaming the aisles of Target. As someone who is “so bad at getting cork out of wine,” he appreciates that this one actually works. It opens the bottle super-quickly and doesn’t leave behind any material from the seal breaking apart.

The best stylish corkscrew

$60

Originally brought to our attention by Strategist contributor Chris Black, this “cult-classic” decorative corkscrew would make a perfect gift. It was created by Italian designer Alessandro Mendini for Alessi in 1994 and remains just as clever and stylish to this day.

The best corkscrew for vintage wines

If your wine enthusiast has an extensive collection of older bottles, surprise them with a Durand corkscrew. It’s “the best corkscrew in the world to open even the most mature bottle of wine safely,” Roth says. As Morgan Harris, head sommelier at Aureole, explains, “the Durand basically combines the classic waiter’s corkscrew with horizontal compression from a forked Ah-so-style wine opener. This way, you can’t rip the middles out of your corks if they happen to be crumbly, nor can you accidentally push the cork into the bottle if they happen to be a little loose.”

Wine stoppers

The best long-term wine stopper

$10 for 4

Most of the wine stoppers on this list will keep your wine fresh for days, but Desiree Harrison-Brown, founder of the Wino Shop, says these will keep a bottle fresh for up to two months because they continually remove oxygen from the bottle to stop degradation. “These are perfect for the wine drinker that never finishes the bottle or likes to open more than one bottle at a time,” she says. This pack comes with four stoppers, allowing you to taste multiple bottles without worrying about wasting them.

The best non-vacuum wine stopper

If your favorite wine lover has limited mobility or strength, or simply doesn’t feel like vacuum-pumping a bottle of wine to keep it fresh, sommelier André Hueston Mack highly recommends Pulltex, which creates an airtight seal, keeps wine fresh for up to ten days, and features a day indicator so you can easily remember when it was first opened. “And it works unbelievably well for sparkling wine,” Mack says.

The best basic wine stoppers

Rabbit Wine Bottle Stoppers
$7 for 4
$7 for 4

These are nothing fancy — but they work very well, come in nice colors, are easy to clean with just a quick rinse, and come in a pack of four for the person in your life who has multiple bottles open at a time.

The best wine server and saver set

A Vacu Vin sealer is a sommelier-approved wine stopper that’ll preserve an already-open bottle of wine. “The Vacu Vin system has been around forever for a reason,” says Eric Tschudi, sommelier and head bartender at Shuko in NYC. “While I wouldn’t recommend it for sparkling wines, the included pump gets the wine-killing oxygen out of the bottle and helps keep still wines fresh for days.”

The best Champagne stopper

$11

The Fante’s Champagne stopper will make sure no bottle of Champagne (or other sparkling wine) goes to waste. “This stopper is my favorite because it holds the carbonation very well and is easy to use,” says Joshua MacGregor, former sommelier at DB Bistro Moderne by Daniel Boulud. “I ultimately favor it over other stopper styles because the rubber stopper mimics the pressure the original cork had on the wine the best, and the hinge clasp makes it very hard to accidentally slip off and lose the carbonation of the wine.”

The best wine stopper that makes a statement

Leon loves these gorgeous wine stoppers. They don’t necessarily do anything fancy, but they look so good. If you know the person you’re gifting to already has the gadgets to preserve open bottles (or rarely saves wine for more than a day or so), consider these beauties. “They add a little drama without being too much,” Leon says. He also endorses the company’s bottle openers, which work for beer, of course, but also for wines with that similar style of lid. We think one of each would make a beautiful present.

Food

The best popcorn

Our experts mentioned a bunch of delicious and giftable food pairings for red, white, and bubbly wines, including good salumi, paté, terrines, and Marcona almonds. But two experts independently told us that freshly popped popcorn with salt and real butter is a perfect match for crisp white and sparkling wines. This crimson variety (which pops to white) is especially nutty and delicious. And while you might think it’s a funny gift on its own, they’ll certainly appreciate it alongside an actual bottle (or two).

The best chips

Richards swears by these chips. “I came across these amazing chips while I worked with a wide range of Spanish wine producers and attended multiple events focused on Spanish gastronomy,” she says. “It was truly life changing. The range of flavors (from foie gras to black truffle to jamón ibérico) are so delicious and one of a kind. In my mind, they are built to pair with wine, as flavors are elevated and amplified during the pairing experience. It is the perfect gift for the wine lovers and foodies in your life.”

The best charcuterie

Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng is a fan of this jamón ibérico, which she describes as “the hammiest jamón I’ve ever had.” She says it has pronounced floral and nutty notes and that the fat has a real melty quality. This, too, would be a thoughtful accompaniment to an actual bottle.

The best cheese

We’ve mentioned that Murray’s Cheese baskets make great gifts before — and this one, specifically meant to pair with red wine, is no exception. It comes with four different types of cheeses, plus flatbread and olives for all the snacking they could possibly do over their favorite Pinot Noir or Lambrusco.

The best peanuts

Yet another snack idea (are you sensing a pattern here?) are these in-shell peanuts that Helena Barquet and Fabiana Faria, owners of New York City’s beloved design shop Coming Soon, love to put out when friends come over. “They taste like really good peanut butter,” Faria says.

The best tinned fish

Try this trio from Fishwife, beloved by Strategist writers and actor Kiernan Shipka alike, which includes smoked rainbow trout from Idaho, smoked albacore tuna from off the Pacific coast, and smoked Atlantic salmon from Norway.

The best olive oil made by wine producers

Turns out, winemakers often produce really good olive oil, too. It makes sense, if you think about it. “Typically, the top producers are overall incredible farmers,” Leon says. “They live off the land and work with it organically and biodynamically. If you ever visit a vineyard, you can see the polyculture, the multiple things they have growing at all times.” Bernheimer agrees. “The same way you get a sense of terroir from a glass of wine, you do from olive oil.” Both experts shared several producers they love that make olive oil — Occhipinti, Giuseppe Quintarelli, La Coste — but there are many, many more. Bottles tend to go in and out of stock, but keep your eye out and you’ll be sure to land on something.

The best pasta sauce

Teclemariam first had pistachio pesto while on a wine press trip to Italy — and it was so good, she didn’t stop thinking about it for months after she returned home. Eventually, she found this jarred version at Eataly and was able to re-create the dish. We think any wine-loving cook in your life would be thrilled to add such a delicious and convenient condiment to their pantry.

Books

Steve Buechner, co-owner of Light Years Wine in Houston, recommends this title, by Jonathan Nossiter, a filmmaker who was formerly the sommelier at Balthazar in New York City. “He combines an on-the-ground feeling — like what it’s like to talk to regular people — with describing what makes natural wine so special,” Buechner says. “It’s also equally intended for someone who is deeply into wine as much as someone who is just interested in what’s happening in our modern culture. It takes you into the fields, and into the minds of winemakers. It’s really meaningful.”

This isn’t strictly a wine book, but “it teaches you the joys of the table and how wine is a part of the joys of the table,” says James Beard Award–winning sommelier Belinda Chang. “Wine should be a part of food, and I think far too often, wine books or the way we talk about wine become too detached from those experiences.”

While not actually a book, Buechner believes Aaron Ayscough is putting out some of the most important writing on wine right now. “It’s something we encourage all of our staff to read regularly,” he says. “It’s one of the best resources out there. Each post profiles a producer, gives a broad explanation of a particular region, maybe even has a restaurant review. It gives you a really good sense of space.”

In fact, Ayscough just came out with his first book, a “deep dive into the origins of the natural wine movement, with a lot of intimate mini portraits of the producers who have championed it,” Friel says. She praises the author for similar reasons as Buechner, noting that he knows a lot of these makers personally which allows a deeper and more intimate look into this world you’re otherwise hard to come by.

“This book was gifted to me by a dear friend at the start of my wine journey,” Harrison-Brown says. “It’s one that I reference when drinking a glass of wine or when I want to escape reality.” Not only does it teach you about wine, but it covers food, culture, and the author’s personal stories and accounts, which help bring a wine region to life.

Odds and ends

The best shop merch

Or pick up this status-y tote from Brooklyn’s Four Horsemen that Peng spotted no less than three of at last month’s RAW Wine festival. Though it looks like a straightforward carryall, it’s actually a wine bag that has separators inside for up to four bottles, plus an interior pocket for small essentials and a zip top.

The best less-expensive shop merch

This is a particularly cool tote (and we all know you can never have too many) that was designed by Brooklyn artist Garrett Morin, who lives near the Clinton Hill–based wine shop that sells it. But beyond the specific bag, gifting merch from a wine store where you live (or where the person receiving the gift lives) is both thoughtful and a great way to support independent stores that carry delicious wine and employ super-knowledgeable people.

The best thing to set the mood while drinking wine

Another unexpected idea is to give a pack of tapered candles along with a nice bottle of wine (and maybe a set of candle holders, too, if you’re looking to make it particularly special). It’s not the most obvious paring in the world, but if your recipient likes to host, or even just to set their own table nicely when they drink, they’ll surely be happy with this gift.

The best day-after remedy

“This might seem odd, but drinking can definitely take its toll on the body,” Grays says. “And we need to take care of ourselves! These multivitamins are great for liver and kidney support either taken before or after a night of harder drinking. They provide some relief if you’re hung-over (take one before bed and it will help in the morning), but they’re also preventative. The more you take them, the better they work.”

The best wine coaster

A marble wine coaster will keep your recipient’s table, or table linens, protected from drips.

The best wine funnel

Camille Lindsley, co-owner and beverage director of HAGS, recently told us about her favorite wine funnel. She uses it to decant particularly old or young bottles that need to aerate, but also to fish out any bits if a cork breaks while opening. (It happens to everyone, even the pros.)

Wine subscription services

The best wine-subscription service

Photo: Retailer

Okay, okay — we know we said you probably don’t want to buy them a bottle, but this sommelier-approved wine-subscription service is probably a good bet. Each delivery is themed, explains Luke Sullivan, formerly the head sommelier at New York City’s Gran Tivoli, which means one month might bring them wines that highlight a specific growing region while another might include wines that explore a grape variety. Ian Bishop, the portfolio manager at Flavors of Italy, also likes SommSelect, telling us that it consistently delivers.

The best natural wine-subscription service

Photo: retailer

For the natural-wine devotee, Primal Wine Club, which was recommended to us by sommelier Ian Bishop, the portfolio manager at Flavors of Italy, focuses on curating boxes of monthly shipments of 3, 6, or 12 bottles — of white, red, or mixed — starting at $85 per month.

The best wine-subscription service for the food lover in your life

If the person you’re gifting loves to eat out just as much as they love to drink wine, consider the Eater Wine Club from our colleagues at Eater. The team asks their favorite restaurants to curate the selections each month — basically the mail-order version of a trusted restaurant sommelier handing you the wine list on a night out. The bottles generally come from smaller producers, and the subscription also includes newsletters that provide more information about the wines you receive and invite you to virtual wine parties with experts.

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48 Gifts for Wine Lovers That They’ll Actually Want