Graduation time means babies have grown up and are entering adulthood, whether it's from high school or college or some other endeavor. And for young couples with spring or summer weddings this year, babies may not be far down the road.
Choosing to mark those different occasions with wine gifts offers a perfect opportunity to do it right. That is, if your college grad likes wine, here's a chance to reward them with a few wines suited to their tastes, or a wine experience, such as a trip to wine country, that they will appreciate.
Buying birth-year wines for your offspring is tempting for young parents, but it isn't such a great idea.
Let's start with the newborns. Many people cellar birth-year wines for their kids forgetting to realize how most wines will taste in 21 years. I'm not saying don't do it, just think about it. The wines you set aside for a child born in 2011 are likely the wines you like or are the kinds of sure bets that will last two decades. Think Vintage Port or dessert wines, or other wines with a track record for aging well.
The trouble, as I see it (and I speak from experience), is that it's hard to know if and when your children will take an interest wine. And while they may appreciate the gesture of your setting aside a few special bottles to mark a milestone, whatever that is, the odds that they'll like the aged wine are against you. Imagine a father setting aside a favorite sports coat for junior when he reaches adulthood.
It's a better strategy to celebrate an adult event, like college graduation or a new job, with a special case of wine for the simple reason that by then you'll have a better idea of what kind of wine your child likes, or whether they're interested in wine at all.
I bought cases of wines for my two children and neither has shown much interest at all in what I assembled. My son's wines are now getting close to 26 years of age and I shudder to think what they might taste like now. But I know he likes younger wines, so it's easier to shop for him now than it was years ago, when it was a matter of speculation.
Another approach is to buy a birth-year wine at auction when your son or daughter is ready to celebrate. Sure, you'll pay a lot more for a great vintage, but if you choose carefully, and buy a wine that has proven it is aging well, then it's a better bet than laying down cases of wines that may be long gone and not worth drinking, much less enjoying.
My advice. Think about what age you became truly interested in the nuances of wine and apply it to your children. Wait until they're ready. It might be longer than you realize.