It's the season of socializing as much as it is of giving, and we've collected a shortlist of holiday gifts that will aid and enhance any gathering of wine lovers. From new Riedel wineglasses that are sure to spark a conversation to a stylish set of flutes and an ice bucket to match, these can't-miss wine accoutrements will brighten any table.
For those who love to indulge in a bit of cheese with their wine, the Cheese Grotto "wine cellar for cheese," is now available in a range of prices, and cheese guru and entertaining expert Janet Fletcher published a new book this year, which we were happy to review. And for even more great gift ideas, check out our Dec. 15 issue lineup of wine, cheese, chocolate and coffee gifts!
Riedel Performance Tasting Set ($118, set of 4), riedel.com
One of the newest lines from esteemed Austrian glassmaker Riedel, the Performance series is the first ever collaboration between Georg Riedel and his son, Max, who now serves as the company's CEO. And, as might be expected from a Wine Spectator Distinguished Service Award winner, the Performance series, well, performs splendidly. Like with all of Riedel's wineglasses, they're carefully designed with particular varietals in mind, highlighting the best of each grape. (For a complete guide to selecting the proper stemware for any wine, see "How to Choose the Right Wineglass.") And new for Riedel, the Performance series stemware features a slight optical effect that curves up the side of the bowl, creating a visual accent for the table and the wine.—P.L.
Eparé Double-Walled Champagne Glasses ($18 per pair), epare.com
The convenience of stemless wineglasses is unfortunately offset by the warming effects of holding onto the bowl of the glass itself, or at least it had been. Eparé's hand-blown stemless flutes are double-walled, creating an additional insulating space between the wine and your hand and allowing chilled bubbly to remain chilled longer (it also eliminates condensation from forming on the surface of the glass). On top of all that, they're dishwasher safe!—P.L.
Pedra Ceramic Ice Bucket ($50), crateandbarrel.com
There are as many opinions and preferences on the right temperature for a glass of wine as there are wines (and in the end, the temperature you prefer is the right one). Check out our "3 Tips to Achieve the Perfect Serving Temperature" if you're looking for guidance, but if you need to chill down a bottle faster than popping it into the fridge—or keep it cool on the table or in the backyard—nothing beats a good old-fashioned ice bucket loaded up with ice and water. This sharp and sturdy ceramic version, made in Portugal, is sized to comfortably hold a sparkling wine bottle and has the personality to complement any decor.—P.L.
Cheese Grotto Mezzo ($125), cheesegrotto.com
When we tested out the original $350 Cheese Grotto back in 2017, we were impressed—it's a better option for storing your fine cheeses than the refrigerator, which can dry them out prematurely, and it doesn't require the cheeses to be wrapped in plastic wrap or tossed in a Ziploc bag. (Use cheese paper if you're storing cheese in the fridge!) This year the Grotto, which inventor and cheese expert Jessica Sennett calls "the wine cellar for cheese," received the World Dairy Innovation Award for Best Equipment Innovation. And it also now comes in a range of more affordable models, including the Fresco ($250, fits 6 pounds of cheese), Mezzo ($125, 2 pounds) and Piatto ($85, 1 pound). And if you're looking for something to put in your Grotto, check out our Cheese Talk series for recs from the pros!—R.T.
Jordan Garden Plate by NBC Pottery ($100), jordanwinery.com
Wine country terroir isn’t just great for growing grapes. At Jordan winery in California’s Napa Valley, they’ve “harvested” a crop of clay from their estate gardens and, in collaboration with Napa’s NBC Pottery, created the Jordan Garden Plate. These stylish handcrafted dishes are available in a limited number this holiday season.—R.T.
Wine Country Table: With Recipes that Celebrate California's Sustainable Harvest, by Janet Fletcher (Rizzoli New York, 352 pages, $45), janetfletcher.com
More than a cookbook, Wine Country Table, by acclaimed food writer Janet Fletcher, blends in travel inspiration, education for the burgeoning cook, spotlights on California's key wine regions and the stories of farmers committed to environmentally friendly ways of growing their crops. Packed with Robert Holmes and Sara Remington's gorgeous photography of lush vineyards, soothing winery settings, tantalizing fruits and vegetables and colorful plates of food, the book entices readers to imagine themselves in another lifestyle, or at least to plan their next vacation to live it for a week or two.
Immersed in the world of Wine Country Table, readers can be the sort of people who live on a bucolic mountainside, know their local growers like they're a second family and drive an electric vehicle to the local farmstands and tasting rooms with reusable bags in hand to pick up whatever is in season, along with the newest wine releases. Then head on home to whip up a mixed citrus salad with fennel and dates, pizza with artichokes and arugula pesto, grilled pork loin with fig skewers or nectarines in raspberry wine sauce with toasted almond biscotti.
Divided into sections by five über-regions—the foggy North Coast, the rocky Sierra Foothills, the warm Inland Valleys, the "salad bowl" of the Central Coast and sunny Southern California—Wine Country Table, which was created in conjunction with the Wine Institute, tours key California appellations' grape varieties and other specialties. Along the way, Fletcher stops to chat with 15 vintners and eight fruit and vegetable farmers, including a mix of familiar names like Turley and Cakebread and those that may be new to readers. In their mini-histories, the families also talk about how they give back to the community, encourage biodiversity on their properties, keep their soils healthy and reduce their energy and water usage.
Interspersed are tips on the local produce (from pears, salad greens and figs to almonds and olive oils)—when certain varieties are in season, how to select and store them, top picks for different cooking and baking uses, and creative ways to incorporate them into your dishes. With more than 50 recipes that look elegant but are achievable, most accompanied by wine-pairing suggestions, readers will be inspired to eat and drink better—and more sustainably—all year long.—D.N.
Of course, you can't go wrong with the gift of wine, either. Be sure to watch our video for tips on how to personalize a gift bottle with all kinds of fancy gift-wrapping ideas!