Infographic sourced from Wine Folly
“I need to buy a bottle of wine for ___INSERT NAME___ but I don’t really know what they drink, what should I get??”
This is something I am asked so often by family, friends and lovely wine lovers through my social media accounts and I absolutely love to help share my wine wisdom. However I have to admit buying the perfect bottle as a gift when you don’t know the person & their drinking habits can be tricky. Especially when it comes to a price point!
I can’t guarantee my wine buying suggestions will satisfy the lucky person receiving the gift but I can help guide you along the right path. So I’ve racked my brain, whilst downing a few glasses of vino and these are the 5 wine buying tips I have come up with..
#1 – Mr. Popular Vino
The easiest hint you can get when buying wine as a gift is if you know whether they drink red, white, bubbles or fortified. At least that narrows your search down a bit and then if you have a budget in mind that makes the decision a whole lot easier. But my tip here is to bug the sales attendant, get their opinion! But don’t ask about what the wines taste like, ask what’s popular, what is literally walking out the door. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find that if a wine is being bought by a lot of people then it must be half decent.
#2 – Mr. Quirky Vino
If you’re worried about how much $$$ to spend and you’re worried the receiver of the gift will know exactly how much you’ve spent on that bottle of Jacobs Creek then ditch the big names! Ask the sales attendant for something from a small winery, something that’s not easy to find. It’ll give the wine an air of exclusivity.
Look for those small batch wines, wines from a different country, wines made from crazy sounding grapes. This tip is all about being bold and brave. The crazier you are about the wine choice, the higher your present receivers eyebrows will go. They may just think you’re plan crazy or they may think you are a secret wine connoisseur who knows about these out-of-the-box wines!
#3 – Mr. It’s All About The Looks Vino
I hate to say it but packaging is always a winner. If it has a lovely label, is presented in an awesome box or is a HUGE bottle. You’re winning. Sometimes a wine label can tell an awesome story, or could simply have a funny label which will give that special someone a good giggle.
As they say in some circles, bigger is better. Grab a magnum, or a double magnum and I am sure you’ll have a new fan!
#4 – Mr. There’s No Place Like Home Vino
Buy a wine based on the speciality of the region. Some wine grapes thrive in certain areas or particular regions tend to create an amazing style of wine and are known for it. To give you an idea:
- Margaret River, Western Australia – Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon
- Marlborough, New Zealand – Sauvignon Blanc
- Central Otago, New Zealand – Pinot Noir
- Champagne, France – Champagne of course :)
- Burgundy, France – Chardonnay & Pinot Noir
- Rioja, Spain – Tempranillo
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ask the sales consultant at the store or feel free to ask me further tips by commenting below. If you know someone has Spanish heritage or is in love with all things French, then you have the perfect inspiration for your wine buying shopping trip.
#5 – Mr. Social Media Addict Vino
As you all know, I love social media and to be honest with you I turn to it before Google at times to answer my questions. I love getting answers from real people and experts on topics without having to trawl through various pages of unrelated Google search results.
Through my Travelling Corkscrew twitter account I am regularly asking; what wine to buy to match my dinner, or where can I find a certain wine. People love to help and the thing is that the wine world is so BIG, no one knows absolutely everything about wine, so twitter is an awesome way to get many opinions in a matter of minutes.
That’s the best bit as by the time I’ve parked up at the booze shop car park, sent a tweet for a recommendation and made it into the store the tips are flowing through. You just need to direct your tweet to the right people.
When I ask such a question, I normally tag a few people or companies which I know can help. Here are some of my favourites to reach out to in my time of wine need:
- The Perth Champagne Club – @PerthChampagne
- Perth Wine Enthusiast - @PerthWineEn
- Wine Wankers – @WineWankers
- Fabulous Ladies Wine Society - @FabLadiesWine
- Aaron Davis - @nessaussie
- Dave Newman - @Davenew80
So I hope that helps somewhat when you next find yourself buying wine as a gift for someone. As I have mentioned feel free to ask me all your wine buying questions by leaving a comment below or asking via one of my social media channels (links at the top of the menu bar to the left).
You can also check out my 2014 tasting notes for ideas.