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Holiday Gift Guide 2014 and 2015

About the time I started middle school, my parents decided to stop exchanging gifts on Christmas. Yep, no Christmas gifts kiddies. The rational for this, as it was explained to us, was that the Three winesmen Wines Kings in the Bible visited the baby Jesus on the 6th of January and gave him gifts. This is known as the day of Epiphany and "Three Kings Day."

So, growing up we exchanged gifts not on December 25th, but 12 days later on the 6th of January. We were not a particularly religious family, but this aspect of the Bible was observed at our home. Yes, with grumbling. Grandmother though, she always gave us gifts on Christmas!

Sharing this story with you is about letting you know that it's okay if you don't give me a Christmas gift this year. You can always give me a gift on January 6th. That's a joke.

I started this list a month ago. And I'm late posting it. That's what I'm sharing today. Keep in mind you can give the gift of wine or wine related accessories any time you want. The following gift suggestions would be wonderful to receive on Christmas, for Epiphany, on a Birthday, or just because someone knows how wonderful you are.

*Note: When you gift on Epiphany, you get to take advantage of all those after Christmas sales as stores try to liquidate inventory.

May your end of year celebrations be festive and full of joy. And wine, good wine, great wine, wine with bubbles and friends. Be safe out there.



Gift Guide 2014 and 2015

1. Wine

Wine makes a wonderful gift and is always my first impulse. I cannot tell you which wine to give as a gift. You know the gift receiver best. You have to find out what kind of wine they appreciate. If you don't know, then give them a wine you appreciate and help them drink it!

Browse this blog for ideas and also visit my Top 10 Under $20 page.

2. Books

This year I've enjoyed several wine and wine themed books. I still read paper books and I also read e-books. If the gift receiver is lacking room for a physical book, then gift them a gift card so they can buy e-books. If they don't have an e-reader, they can easily and for free, download an e-reader program for their cell phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Or buy them a Kindle. Problem solved.

Books about Wine

  • Walla Walla, Washington
    Anyone who has visited Walla Walla or is contemplating a visit to Walla Walla wine country needs to read "Wines of Walla Walla Valley: A Deep-Rooted History (American Palate) " by Catie McIntyre Walker, 2014. This book is available in paperback or Kindle format.

    Catie grew up in Walla Walla, and is one of the original Washington Wine Bloggers. She chronicles the history of Walla Walla, the establishment of the town and its growth, from frontier days to the modern heady days of wine. Learn about Walla Walla's historical and modern French influence and the people, especially the people, who have brought the community to where it is today. There are special qualities to the Walla Walla AVA. Katie has shown how much she cares for Walla Walla and the people who live and work there today. A good read. Strongly Recommended.

  • Washington Wine
    This book sits next to my bed. If you know little about Washington wine, "Washington Wines and Wineries: The Essential Guide" by Paul Gregutt, 2011, 2nd edition, is a must read. Available in paperback, hardcover and Kindle.

    This book is by the well known wine expert Paul Gregutt. It is an essential guide to Washington State vineyards, regions and wineries. With over 700 wineries in Washington, this guide is sure to be a hit with your wine friends. It is the best book I know of for getting a grasp on what Washington winemakers are doing. You will also get a feel for Paul's wine palate. Recommended.
  • California Wine
    An extremely engaging book. This is a must read book, "The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste" by John Bonne, 2014. Available in hardcover and Kindle.

    I was impressed by the writing style of the author. He opened my eyes and redefined for me what California wine is and is becoming. This book will make you want to visit California wine country. Well done. Strongly Recommended.

  • Oregon Wine - Fiction
    I love a good murder mystery. At home we watch a lot of BBC mysteries. It was my great pleasure to read a couple of books by Portland native, Judy Nedry. My personal sentiment is that they could be adapted for TV or Netflix. Hint, hint.

    "An Unholy Alliance: Emma Golden Mysteries Book 1" by Judy Nedry, 2009. The story takes place in the Willamette Valley, the heart of Oregon wine country. Yes, there's a murder and the protagonist Emma Golden is determined to find out who did it. If she can stay alive. A fun romp through wine country, anyone who has visited this part of Oregon will recognize many of the settings and some of the names. Available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle. Recommended.

    "The Difficult Sister: Emma Golden Mysteries Book 2" by Judy Nedry, 2013. I did not find a link to this book. My copy is in paperback. Contact your local book seller for availability. You'll want this book after reading the first one.

Rex Pickettt.
  • Rex Pickett Books
    After engaging with the author of Sideways, Vertical and Sideways 3 Chile on our #Winemuse podcast, I had to mention his books. Last month he released his newest book of the Sideways trilogy, "Sideways 3 Chile " by Rex Picket, 2014. Available in Kindle Edition only. And a man of his word. Listen to the author here while you shop.

    I have not read book 3 as of this post. Downloading it today.

  • Boo Walker Books
    I've read two of Boo Walkers books in Kindle format. "Lowcountry Punch" and "Turn or Burn". Boo works for Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain. I've casually met him a couple of times at the winery. He's originally from Charleston, SC and that's the setting for the first book. The second book I read starts at Red Mountain then travels to Seattle. These are gritty books about tough men who also have an appreciation for Washington wine. They are fun, quick reads. I could tell just from these two books how Mr. Walker is developing his writing style. The second book, "Turn or Burn" was a lot more graphic and intense. Recommended.

  • The Tipsy Sensei & Other Stories
    For anyone who loves short stories about food and drink, this is the Kindle e-book for you. "The Tipsy Sensei & Others " by Richard Aufrey, 2013. Thoroughly enjoyed his story telling. I've met Richard a couple of times and participated on one of his #winechat twitter Sake tastings. He goes deep. Strongly Recommended.

3. Stemware

As I've advised others for many years, the shape of the wine glass matters to the appreciation and enjoyment of wine. Wine glasses make wonderful gifts for new and experienced wine drinkers. An especially delicate subject, I've broken a couple of my Riedel glasses at home and need to replace them. The wine glass does matter. Last year, I proved to myself how critical is the wine glass, "The Importance of Shape to Wine Appreciation" and strongly encourage you to do the same.

Wine Glasses

  • Pinot Noir
    Ah, I've had some remarkable Pinot Noir wine tastings this year. Truly special wines. Pinot Noir can be a remarkable wine, deserving of contemplation. Pinot Noir, especially Pinot Noir, deserves the finest stemware you can find. At home I use a Riedel XL Pinot Noir glass. This glass has a large bulb, perfect for swirling and releasing Pinot Noir aromas and flavors, it then tapers to focus those aromas and flavors, with a lip that gracefully curves outward. I swear I have felt the aromas of the wine pour out of this glass. I'm not trying to be a wine snob. This glass works. Strongly Recommended.

  • Red Wine
    I believe everyone needs an every day, go to, red wine glass. It should be balanced and not feel like it is about to tip over. It should be light and somewhat delicate. It requires a bulb for swirling and a tapered body to the lip. Which is why I use the Riedel Overture Red Wine glass. For me it works and is not horribly expensive to replace when broken. I've broken two of these this year! They lasted five years and provided a huge amount of satisfaction and wine enjoyment. Strongly Recommended.

  • White Wine
    Honestly, I can't find the white wine glass I use. I received it as a sample and love it. But no one is selling it. It's called a "Chardonnay Swirl" and works well for me. Hunting around, I found something similar with good reviews. It's the Stolzle Revolution Classic White Wine glass. A set of 6 at a good price. And they look sharp too. If you drink white wine I'd give these a swirl. Or just drink your white wine out of your Red Wine Glass! I won't tell.

 4. Stocking Stuffers

One of the cool things I like about wine are all the wine related accessories.

  • Corkscrew
    My wine blogger friends, like me, love pulling corks from the bottle. Seriously. There's a deep pleasure going through the ritual of opening a bottle of wine with a trusty, quality corkscrew. And they make for a good stocking stuffer. Also referred to as a waiters key, you'll want to select my favorite double-hinged corkscrew. They are inexpensive and make the process of pulling a cork out of the bottle a non-issue. A gift that will be used many times. Strongly Recommended.

  • Aerator
    I have a couple of different wine aerators I use at home. They assist in opening up the flavors of a wine, especially big reds. When I am short on time and want to show off a favorite red wine, I use my wine aerator. I've found that the Vinturi Wine Aerator does a very good job at aerating wine. Sized proper for a stocking stuffer. Recommended.

  • Infrared Thermometer
    Temperature, the proper temperature, is important to the appreciation of wine. Often, white wines are served too cold and red wines poured too hot. When I review wine at home I careful to pour at proper temperatures. And never, never pour sparkling wine must be cold. I have my eyes on a no-contact Infrared Thermometer. It's a point and shoot device which gives you the accurate temperature of the surface of where you point. I have no actual experience with this device, but want one.

Well that's my contribution for Christmas and Epiphany gift ideas. When in doubt, gift a bottle of wine. I'm going to quote myself from December 2010.

"Let's not forget, one of the best wine gifts is a gift of wine, one you personally enjoy. My first impulse is to gift someone a bottle of wine for their birthday, anniversary or house warming...If you have time to browse this site, then you should be able to find something you or your friends will enjoy."

Good luck, Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings and most of all Cheers!

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