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How to choose a Wine as a Gift

Whether it be for a dinner with friends, a gift for a colleague or as a token of appreciation to a customer, the right choice of wine can make a wonderful gift and you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a good quality wine that will be a surprise and be something that is remembered. If you want your message to be ‘I saw this wine and thought that you would enjoy it’ then here are some suggestions to assist you.

Show imagination in your choice. Rather than spending all you budget on a single bottle, why not buy two or three different bottles for the same amount of money. Each time the cork is pulled from a new bottle there is a sense of excitement, expectation and gratitude for the gift.

The best known wines with well established reputations are an easy choice. Add some flair to the selection by choosing a wine from off the beaten path. There are so many good wines to choose from. Here is Spain there are many lesser known regions where world class wines are being made, for example from Sierra de Gredos and Sierra de Malaga. Alternatively, choose a wine made from Spanish grapes made in another country, for example Garnacha from the Southern Rhone in France or Australia, Albariño from Portugal or New Zealand.

A sparkling wine can make an ideal gift at any time. If you want to give a sparkling wine don’t just buy a Champagne or Cava, you can get much better value and from a ‘Crémant’, a wine made in the same way as a Champagne but not from the Champagne region. Alternatively, a premium quality Prosecco from northern Italy is a very enjoyable wine to be shared.

Here is a good wine buying tip from a professional buyer: You may decide to choose a wine from a well known prestigious winery. Wineries want their very top wines to be show stoppers that wine awards. However, often they can be too powerful. Instead of buying the ‘top’ wine, I suggest that you buy the second wine. The price will be much lower and the wines tend to be more approachable and enjoyable.

What to avoid? We all like offers and discounts but as the saying goes ‘if something seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Tempting offers with discounts of 50% are mostly fake in the sense that the original price is not the real price. Look a bit harder and find credible offers rather than false prices.

I advise that you seek advice when buying wine. There are so many great wines to choose from, however, often we are put off from choosing a wine because it can be intimidating. There are many knowledgeable and enthusiastic people working in wine shops and online who are there to help. Make it clear that is for a gift and indicate how much you want to pay and that it has to surprise. If you are only offered a Rioja or Ribera, it is an indication that the person assisting you is not that well informed.

Finally, when giving a gift of wine include a personal note saying why you choose these wines. This is what we always do at The Wine Place and suggest that our customers to do so as well.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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