can make a good gift for a newly married couple as a housewarming gift, the hostess of a dinner party, or your boss. However, if you don't know much about wine, picking one out can be pretty daunting. It's important to think about the person and the occasion, as well as how you'll present the wine.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Picking Out a Bottle

  1. It's tempting to buy a cheap wine to give as a gift, particularly if you don't know much about wines. However, cheap wine will taste cheap. That's not to say that you can't get a decent wine for a reasonable price. You just don't want to pick the cheapest wine, especially if you've never tasted it yourself.[1]
    • Also, consider who you're buying the wine for. Buying a very cheap bottle of wine for your boss won't endear you to them. Similarly, you may not want to buy the cheapest bottle you can find for a close friend (unless you have a habit of drinking cheap wine together).
    • In addition, if you're known as someone who appreciates wine, buying a cheap bottle for someone else can come off as you underestimating their taste or simply not appreciating them as much.[2]
    • Also, how much you spend can depend on the wine. For instance, you can get a very tasty Cotes du Rhône (pronounce it "Coats Do Roan") for about $15. However, with a Burgundy, you'll need to spend more to get a better wine, usually upwards of $50. Another relatively cheap option is a Cabernet Sauvignon, as even cheap versions of this wine are fairly decent. For Pinot noir, go for at least a $20 bottle, as anything less won't be very good.[3]
  2. If you don't know where to start, picking wines by the season is a good bet. You don't necessarily want the same wines in the summer that you do in the winter. In the summer, you want something lighter, for instance, than you do in winter.[4]
    • White wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling are good summer choices. Rose and Merlot are also a good bet. These wines are a bit lighter.
    • For fall, you want fuller bodied whites, such as oaked Chardonnay or Viognier. You still want a somewhat lighter red wine, so stick with Pinot noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or a sparkling variety.
    • During the winter, you can go with heavier wines since you'll have heavier dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux blend, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Malbec are fine in the reds. For whites, choose oaked Chardonnay. You can also go for a sparkly wine.
    • In the spring, you want lighter, fruitier wines, such as Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Unoaked Chardonnay, or Rose. You can also choose Riesling, Moscato, or Pinot noir.
    Samuel Bogue

    Samuel Bogue

    Certified Sommelier
    Samuel Bogue is a sommelier based in San Francisco, California. He is the Wine Director of the renouned Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and a wine consultant for other top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, and since then has been recognized as a Zagat "30 Under 30" award winner and a Star Chefs Rising Star.
    Samuel Bogue
    Samuel Bogue
    Certified Sommelier

    Pay attention to when a certain grape is harvested. Sam Bogue, a sommelier, says: "Rosé is a classic choice for springtime. You harvest those grapes in the fall, and then they have to go through the fermenting, aging, and production process, and the wine is ready to be released in the spring."

  3. If you're not a wine connoisseur yourself, gazing at a liquor store's collection of wines can be quite daunting, as you may be faced with hundreds of different bottles of wines. If you're a bit lost, don't be afraid to ask the person in charge of wines for advice. Many will work within your price range to help you find a good, drinkable wine, especially if you can specify a few parameters, such as whether you want a sweet or dry wine.[5]
  4. If you know your wines, a unique wine is a good choice because you can introduce your friend or friends to something new. However, don't pick something so obscure that they won't be able to find it again. You don't want to whet their appetite for a wine they can't buy.[6]
  5. If you're buying wine as a gift, it's best to know what the person likes to drink. Most wine drinkers have particular tastes, whether they like a dry white wine or a fun and fruity sparkling rose. Consider what you've seen the person drink in the past, and then go for something the same or similar.[7]
    • If you're not sure what the person drinks, consider their general tastes. If they have a sweet tooth, they might prefer a sweeter wine, while if they like to avoid sugar for the most part, they may prefer something drier.
    • If you're still not sure, ask someone at the store to recommend a reasonably priced popular wine.
  6. Of course, you don't want to pick a wine solely on what the label looks like. However, when you're giving a wine, the packaging matters. A pretty, well-designed label will be more appreciated than a subdued, boring label, especially since many people will associate the latter with cheaper wine.[8]
  7. If you're looking for a substantial gift for someone, think about buying the person a subscription to a wine delivery service. Usually, you pay one price (or a monthly price) for the service to deliver wine for a specified period of time.[9]
    • Some just send a curated selection, while others base the delivery on the person's preferences.
    • Some also include food with the subscription that pairs with the wine.
    • Check to make sure wine can be delivered in the state where the person resides, as some states don't allow alcohol to be shipped to people's homes.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Buying Wine for Parties and Dinners

  1. A magnum is a double bottle of wine or champagne. One reason it works well for a party is it's fairly impressive to look at. Plus, because it's double the size, it will last much longer than a single bottle of wine. Your host will appreciate your thoughtfulness.[10]
    • When choosing a wine for a party, sparkling is usually a good option.
    • If you insist on bringing a standard bottle of wine to a party, give it to the hosts before the party, and let them decide whether they want to serve it at the party or not.
  2. On the other hand, when you've been invited for dinner to a small gathering, such as a dinner for about four people, a regular bottle is appropriate. A regular bottle will provide enough wine for each person at the dinner, which is why it's appropriate.[11]
    • Ask the hosts ahead of time what they will be serving. Then you can get a wine that matches the dinner, such as a white wine for fish. If you're not sure what goes with what type of food, ask at the store.
  3. When it comes to weddings or other big special occasions, such as birthdays or Christmas dinner, plan to spend a bit more on the bottle. Weddings especially call for a more expensive bottle. If you don't want to spend that much, skip the wine. You'll be safer buying something off their registry.[12]
  4. That is, you don't want to buy wine if the host doesn't drink wine. For instance, maybe the host enjoys alcohol, but they don't like wine. Another situation you may run into is the host may not drink at all, due to personal choice, health reasons, or religious reasons. If you're not sure, ask.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Presenting the Wine

  1. That is, a wine doesn't necessarily need to be wrapped or put in a bag or box. If the bottle is pretty enough, adding a bow or ribbon is pretty much all you need to do. Besides, most wine packaging doesn't actually hide the fact that you're giving a bottle of wine, which defeats the purpose.[13]
    • In addition, putting wine in boxes can heat them, which can be a problem for more expensive wines. It's much better to try to keep the wine cool. If it's a particularly expensive wine that should be kept in a cellar, consider holding it in a cooler until you give it to your friend.
  2. If you want the gift to be extra special, include a gift that goes with the wine. You could pick a funky and fun corkscrew or carafe, for instance. You could also choose a wine thermometer, so the person can serve the wine at the proper temperature. Other options include fancy or unique wine glasses or a wall rack.[14]
  3. If you and your friend are both wine connoisseurs, pick a moment when you can tell the person a little about the wine. Of course, you don't want to bore someone who's not interested in all the details about the wine, but if you know the person will be interested, wait until they aren't busy doing something else.[15]
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Community Q&A

  • Question
    What is a good red wine to give your boss?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Well, the easiest answer to find out what your boss like to drink. If you don't know, go to a wine shop and request an employee's help. Tell him/her the situation and your budget, and he/she will help you make a good choice.
  • Question
    What’s the best tasting fruity type wine?
    Adele Orr
    Adele Orr
    Top Answerer
    There is no one wine that is considered 'best', because everyone's tastes differ. Try going to your local wine store and asking them for a fruity wine. They will have many recommendations for you.

About This Article

Samuel Bogue
Co-authored by:
Certified Sommelier
This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue. Samuel Bogue is a sommelier based in San Francisco, California. He is the Wine Director of the renouned Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and a wine consultant for other top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, and since then has been recognized as a Zagat "30 Under 30" award winner and a Star Chefs Rising Star. This article has been viewed 187,721 times.
7 votes - 86%
Co-authors: 23
Updated: November 17, 2023
Views: 187,721
Article SummaryX

If you want to buy wine as a gift, choose a bottle that’s mid-range to high end so you don’t end up gifting something that tastes cheap and makes you look bad. Remember, the more special the occasion, the more expensive the bottle should be! Since choosing a wine based on the season is always a safe bet, go for white wines in the summer, fuller bodied whites or light reds in the fall, heavy reds in the winter, and fruitier wines in spring. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of wines for sale, and if you’re stumped, don’t hesitate to ask the person in charge of wine at the store for their advice. For more tips from our Wine co-author, including how to buy wine for a party or dinner, keep reading!

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