What is a good present to buy for a wine lover?

How to Drink Better: Go for quality rather than quantity, and seek advice from a good wine shop

Q. I want to buy my wine-loving aunt a wine-related gift for Christmas, but I know nothing about it. Help!

A. At this time of year shops are piled high with a huge variety of wine accessories, including all kinds of glassware, openers, preservers, chillers and expensive gadgets that promise to improve the quality of your wine.

However, if your aunt really is a wine lover, it is very likely that she will already have a large collection of glasses and decanters, plenty of corkscrews, and all of the other paraphernalia associated with wine. I know that I do, (although I can never have enough decanters). Wine books are always a good idea although quality is mixed; Irish author Raymond Blake’s most recent work, Wine Talk, is very good.

But there is one thing that a wine lover can never have too much of – wine! I recently received a delicious bottle of wine from generous neighbours. Not only did I think kindly of them as we drank it, but I uncovered an exciting producer that was completely new to me.


I would advise visiting a good independent wine shop, or a branch of O’Briens, where you should get some reliable advice. I know that some people find a visit to a wine shop intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Most shops have enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff who will be delighted to give you a hand, no matter how busy they are in the Christmas period, although it might be better to try to choose a quiet time – possibly soon after they open. Give them your budget and any other useful information; A little bit of detective work never goes amiss. Can you find out anything about your aunt’s likes and dislikes?

Younger Gen X drinkers are more likely to enjoy pet-nat, orange wine and natural wines. Older drinkers tend to be more traditional in their tastes, but all genuine wine afficionados should be open to trying out something new. Areas such as Ribeira Sacra in Spain, the Jura in France, Etna in Sicily and most of Portugal are very on trend, as is South African Chenin Blanc, Chilean Cinsault and New Zealand Pinot Noir.

I would suggest going for one really good bottle rather than three or six bottles of something ordinary. Once you spend more than €20, you should see a happy smile on your aunt’s face come Christmas day.