With the economy sucking air, finding the perfect gift with limited pennies in your pocket is no easy task. But never fear for your wino friends and family since wine-related paraphernalia from cheap to costly crowds store shelves this year.
INEXPENSIVE Wine Charms Ranging anywhere from $6 to $20 for a set of six, these nifty little aluminum rings fit around the bottom of your glass so you won't confuse it with others. Quite practical for parties. If you're really hurtin' for cash, create your own using wares from a craft store.
Wine Diary For less than $10 at Wal-Mart or — for a fancier version — a Hallmark store, purchase an ordinary diary and make it a wine diary. It makes an excellent gift for the memory-challenged to keep track of favorite wines. Customize it by providing colorful tabs for different grapes and signing and dating the front page.
Vacu Vin Wine Stoppers I could be a spokesperson for Vacu Vin's wine pump system. Using rubber, cork-like stoppers as the sealer, the efficient pump sucks damaging oxygen out of the bottle. It comes with two stoppers and costs about $10 at most kitchen stores or at cooking.com.
Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Chiller This handy frozen girdle fits around a wine bottle and chills it within 20 minutes. Comes in several designs. $11 at wineenthusiast.com or at upscale kitchen stores.
Wine Who doesn't love getting wine? Especially if you're supporting smaller wineries who need the money at the holidays. Great wines under $15 to look for: For the sweeter wine fan, Bonny Doon Framboise, Infusion of Raspberry (Napa). For white, a crisp 2001 Tolloy Alto Adige Pinot Grigio (Italy). For red, introduce fruity Jest Red from Belvedere Winery (California).
Wine Books. One of my first wine books was Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Wine Course. Designed as an intro to wine, the book is so unpretentious it makes the details even fun. The author updated the book this year and the hardcover retails for less than $20 at amazon.com.
Counter Top Wine Racks If someone you respect stores their prized wine in a standing heap, do them a favor and save their collection from spoilage (you should always store corked wine on its side). Wine racks range anywhere from $25 to $150, depending on the size, materials and style. Available at all kitchen stores, Target or online at Yahoo Shopping.
A Decent Wine Opener Give your friend the gift of wine loving: a Screwpull wine opener. No cork breaking, no complicated levers, no hassle. Retails around $30 at wine shops, kitchen stores and wine.com.
Wine $30 and under: white, Cloudy Bay 2001 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand); red, Jean Leon 1998 Merlot (Spain); sweet, St. Supery 2001 Moscato (Napa).
Wine.com Wine Club For those who can throw money around, give the wine gift that keeps on giving — a monthly shipment of boutique wines. Deals start at $20 per month and go up from there.
Multi-Bottle Wine Chiller Made out of temperature-conducting copper, this five-bottle wine chiller is the coolest thing ever. Perfect for the person who entertains a lot. $160 at wineenthusiast.com
Fancy Wine Glasses This category used to be owned by Riedel, but reliable names like Spiegelau and Waterford are arriving on the scene. Prices range anywhere from $6 to $70 per glass at wine shops, kitchen shops and online wine stores.
Wine Under $75: red, Veramonte Primus Alto de Casablanca 1999 (Chile); white, 1999 Mer Soleil Chardonnay (Napa); sweet, Dolce 1998 Napa Valley.
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