What to buy a Wino for Christmas

Do you know a wine snob? I bet he/she has so many hectolitres of wine in various nooks and crannies of their house that they have considered converting their lawn mower to run on ethanol.  Buying them another bottle seems superfluous.  In any case, choosing a wine for a wino is a bit intimidating and a very personal choice, so, in an effort to ease your pains, and maybe bag myself an odd Xmas present, here are a few non-wine items you could consider.

How to Drink at Christmas by Victoria Moore is a book that promises to guide you to beverage Elysium.  What to drink when, and with what, cocktail recipes (including some interesting non-alcoholic ones), which brands of champagnes and spirits you should choose, non-specific anecdotes and advice.  Tory winos will recognise the author as the Daily Telegraph wine critic. The book opens with a chapter on how to stock your drinks cabinet for the festive season. This is the only problem with giving this book as a gift.  By the time the wrapping paper is crumpled on the floor, it is too late to take the otherwise excellent advice.  £9.99 Granta.

Most winos are also foodies. If your wino friend likes Champagne, Muscadet, Picpoul de Pinet or Guinness, there is a better than evens chance they also like oysters. Knowing ones natives from ones rocks is a basic test that even those without testicular cancer will pass. But can they tell you where to eat the best oysters in London? How much of your RDA of B12 or zinc is contained within an oyster serving? Or how, in a suicidal mood, it is possible to simultaneously slash your wrists whilst shucking your molluscs. What about recipes for serving them, or (sacrilegiously) cooking them? Or simply where to buy them. The London Oyster Guide by Colin Pressdee is an invaluable bivalve companion for all shellfish afficionados. I would, however, start from the presumption that some of the restaurant reviews are sponsored. £12.99, Graffeg, or see www.londonoysterguide.com.

Did you know you can give a Wine Society Membership as a gift?  If you can afford to invest £40 of your Xmas budget on your wino friend, then this may well be the best money you ever spent.  Surely they will repay you with an odd bottle, or at least invites to their parties where you should find many a decent wine being served.  No Jacob’s Creek here. £40, The Wine Society.

Glasses are very important indeed. Not just for winos over 40, who need them simply to examine the stuff they are drinking. Georg Riedel has assumed an ethereal reputation for designing the must have wine glasses of my generation.  Riedel Vinum is the BMW of stemware and will have most winos slurping and gurgling happily. UK prices tend to be about £15 per glass which is about the price of a BMW key ring, but much better value. If you are unsure which model to buy, this post will help.

If your budget is at the other end of the scale there are many gadgetty type gifts such as corkscrews, wine thermometers etc.  One super-cheap option that caught my eye is a decanter cleaning pack.  Basically a small box of ball bearings that you swirl around your decanter to remove wine stains etc.  Just go The Wine Society website and search for “Magic Balls” (no, really!). £2.95.

Happy shopping!

One Response to “What to buy a Wino for Christmas”

  1. Craig Norton Says:

    I’m a huge fan of the non-wine gift for the wino myself. Besides the kudos you receive for thinking “outside the box,” you also avoid the eye rolling snobbery of the wino who deigns to try the wine you bought (as a gift) only to have them splash it back, figuratively, in your face.

    Of course, if you REALLY want to get your wino friends going, buying them a box o’ wine is always good for a laugh. “See? I was thinking INSIDE the box this year! Merry Everything!”

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