Buying Wine for Someone Else

Until the day grocery stores provide samples of their wine inventory to customers, buying the right wine will remain a game of chance. Add in the variable that you’re shopping for a gift and it soon takes on more elements of risk. How can you find the right wine to please a host or that very special someone? Here are a few tips to relieve the stress and increase your success.

  1. Consult the snob.

If you’re lucky, (or not so much,) you have someone within your circle who knows something about wine. Maybe the snob is you. They might have a favorite or brand that they can recommend. Keep in mind that the snob may keep their favorites to themselves. But a good wino will be more than happy to help you pick out the perfect wine.

2. Ask the staff.

There’s a good chance that the staff has favorites, have tried a certain wine off the shelf, or have noticed which wines are best-selling.

3. Consult the board.

Similar to tip #2, the board might include specials, sales, and staff recommendations.

4. Consider price and type.

If you know your host or friend well you may have a clue as to what they already drink. It is also important that you buy something you can afford and feel confident about. Is there a grape variety your friend already enjoys? What amount of money do you feel comfortable spending on a bottle?

5. What’s the occasion?

Examining the occasion can assist you in determining which wine to get. Is it casual? Formal? Will it be paired with a meal or desert? The ability to successfully pair your wine is another art form in itself. If it will be paired and you know with what food, chances are knowledgeable staff will be able to assist you in finding a crowd pleaser.

6. When in doubt, go rose.

In the wine world, rose is the middle ground. It is a wine that can please the heavy dry drinkers and the sweet light folks. Finding a solid, medium body semi, will be the safest wine for any occasion and any host.

I would love to hear about your challenges in buying wine “blind”/ without tasting. Feel free to write to me for advice. Happy drinking.


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