For many, a bottle of wine will be seen as the go-to gift for friends and family on birthdays and Christmas, as well as for hosts of dinner parties and other events. While it is easy for you to simply grab the best looking bottle on special offer from the shelf, many people struggle to select the right wine to give as a gift. To help make wine gifting a little easier, we take a look at some of the common mistakes made when buying wine and how to avoid them!
Selecting Famous Names
Sometimes, people shopping for wine will be biased by the brand or grape type, selecting those they have heard to be the best, such as Bordeaux or Burgundy, over an alternative grape type. While wines from these French regions are undoubtedly supreme, you will typically be paying premium prices for them, when you could be getting an equally good, but lesser known wine for far less. For example, a Merlot from Chile will be a great alternative to Bordeaux, while a New Zealand Pinot Noir could be chosen in place of a Burgundy.
Choosing a Bottle For Its Appearance
While you will, of course, want to choose a bottle that looks nice, selecting your wine gift solely based on what it looks like is never a good idea. Yes, the imagery might be nice, but this is likely to tell us nothing about the actual wine contained inside the bottle, which is the part that really counts! This doesn’t mean you should avoid a well-designed bottle, but rather that you must read the information given on the bottle regarding what to expect from the wine before you decide to buy it.
Many gift-buyers will quickly nip into a shop looking for a bottle of wine and feel overwhelmed by the selection on offer as they are not prepared enough to choose. With so many online resources and reviewing sites available for free online, it is not difficult to quickly find some highly-rated wines in your price range to look out for when you go shopping. If you’re shopping for a real wine lover, then you can check vintage guides to see what is good for drinking now, or which bottles would work well for cellaring.
Choosing Based on Price
We all love a bargain, but seeing a bottle on special offer does not necessarily mean that it’s a steal. Bright signs announcing a discount or special offer may be placed by certain bottles in shops, and often these will catch your eye. However, while some may be a good deal, typically this is just a way for shops to quickly move stock they no longer want, and so you may want to question why! Don’t just automatically go for the best deal, be sure to browse the wine offerings fully to find the right bottle for the right price.
Likewise, the best bottle within your allocated budget might not be the one that reaches the upper limit of your price range. Many factors come into the pricing of wine, including production style, bottling processes, taxes and demand for that type of wine, so there will be some variation between prices of similar wines. Therefore, price does not always correlate with quality, and so, if you select a bottle from a unique region or variety, you may be able to find a wine that is better value for money!
Not Taking Advice
If there is a shop assistant offering to help you select the right bottle, then don’t send them away! In wine shops and some supermarkets, the sales assistants will be highly educated on wine types, so will be able to make great recommendations to you based on what you are looking for.
Forgetting to Consider Food
Often, people will enjoy a glass of wine alongside a nice meal, so take this into consideration when buying a loved one a bottle of wine for a special occasion. Think about their favourite dish or ingredient and select a bottle based on this. Check out our food and wine pairing guide to discover which wines work best with which food types. Alternatively, you could do some of the pairing work yourself, buying a bottle to accompany a foodie gift, such as cheese.
Getting Overwhelmed By Options
When we see a massive wall of bottles in a wine shop, it can be a little daunting for those who do not know enough about wine to make a quick decision. Instead of getting overwhelmed and selecting a bottle at random, why not take a different approach and choose an accessory for your wine-loving friend, such as a Chateau Laguiole corkscrew instead.
Do you have any tips for buying wine as a gift that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know by leaving a comment below or by getting in touch via our social media channels.