Wine-lovers on your gift-buying list might not always get a fair shake. Many think you can pass off any cheap ol’ bottle of wine and call it a day. Why not surprise the wino with a well-thought-out special gift that just suits their joy?
Look ma, no hands!
First off, there’s a handy new little contraption on the market called The Winestrap, that I discovered at the AWGA Wine Festival at the Farm this past month. This handy lanyard-suspended holder accommodates a full glass of wine while the wearer is able to breeze through the buffet line hands-free to make his or her selections. Users can juggle a plate, take a photograph, or even write at the computer without spilling the wine. Price at $10 each or 4 for $35, you can email owner Kirk Hostert at email@example.com, or call him in Carefree, AZ, at 480-595-1729 to place your order.
Danglies sort it all out
Wherever three or more winos gather, it’s easy to mix up glasses, especially if everyone is drinking from the same juice. Voila, enter ‘Danglies’—these custom-made cuties help sort it all out. Danglies are designed and marketed by two local appreciators of fine wines, Janice Ulrich and Nancy Stewart. They come 4-to-a-card and range in price from $8 to $15. Designs vary from wine charms to a wide range of beading patterns and jewels. This is a classy gift for that favorite host, and they make good stocking stuffers too. Danglies available at CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room on North Alvernon Way; look around, other stores carry other variations, but these are made in Tucson.
Waffles and wine…
On the mornings I decide to start with a waffle, I drag out some JJ’s Pantry’s Cabernet jelly—the richest, most wine-tasting jelly concoction on the planet. It’s like having waffles and wines for breakfast (please don’t tell my mom).
Custom-made by local wine aficionado Jennifer Janzen, I must say she really knows how to pick her grapes. JJ’s Pantry also offers a Chardonnay jelly, plus an entire collection of homemade healthy and hearty foods ranging from soups to scones to breads—and home-made dog treats too. Jellies are priced at $4.00, check out Tucson-based JJ’s Pantry now.
Just the right wine
If you must settle on a wine for that special friend (hey, I’d never complain), take a few moments to search out a Tucson-owned wine shop (not those big box warehouses please)—you’ll have the pleasure of talking to a real person about what your friend would really like. Set your budget and with a few hints about your friend, a smart wine store grapista should be able to help you select the perfect wine. Consider buying a wine gift card or certificate if you’re not sure.
I’d be happy to suggest a few extra-delightful value wines I’ve discovered this season that are both palate pleasing and affordable. Consider ALIAS from California (both Cab and Chard), or Alandra from Portugal (red or white blend)—each priced well under the $10/bottle range.
Cheers to your holidays!