• Shelley Boettcher

5 Awesome gifts for wine lovers

Less than a month until Christmas, and that means it's probably time to shop.

I love buying gifts for wine lovers because, frankly, all you have to do is buy them a bottle of something they love to drink, and you'll make their day. And, best, maybe they'll share.

If you're wanting to go beyond that, however, here are a few suggestions.

1. The re-release of the Salvador Dali book on wine.

Yes, the Surrealist artist once helped create a book about wine, The Wines of Gala, and it's been re-released this year, just in time for Christmas.

Named after his wife and muse, Gala, it was co-written by Max Gerard and contains more than 140 Dali illustrations, and Dali's quirky (really quirky) suggestions on pairing: "wines of light," for instance, or "wines of frivolity."

You can still find the original, printed in 1978, on Amazon for about $300, or track down the new edition, by Taschen, for about $77.

2. A case of Canadian wine is always a welcome treat at our house. Many wineries offer free shipping these days, which is a bonus, too.

Consider, for instance, Liquidity's 12 Days of Christmas, a 12-bottle shipment that includes six different vintages, from 2009 to 2015, of the winery's award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Road 13's popular wine Advent calendar is sold out this year, but there are other options from the beautiful Southern Okanagan winery. The Honest John's Red is $17 a bottle, so a case of 12 will set you back only $208. Give a bottle to your 10 best friends, and keep 2 for yourself. That's a deal worth taking home.

3. If you know someone that travels to the Okanagan Valley a lot, give them a gift certificate for Hester Creek Winery. They can eat at the restaurant, or spend it on wine, or buy nice things in the wine shop. They can even stay at the on-site villa, for a taste of Mediterranean-inspired magic in Canada.

4. Jon Bonne, one of my favourite wine writers, has just released a new wine book, entitled The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know.

The wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonne has been writing about wine as long as I've been drinking it, and he has lots of good advice: drink rose year-round, don't save good bottles for too long. Something for wine lovers to read on Boxing Day, after all the chaos has passed.

5. A beautiful corkscrew. A beautiful corkscrew that works.

I have a drawer full of corkscrews, but I still have many that I've thrown away over the years. Those ones that come in Christmas crackers every year? Waste of time and money.

And my inner wine geek wants to cry every time I have to use the dodgy, bendy plastic two-armed thingy at one friend's house. (You know who you are.)

But this past fall, I worked an Italian wine event with a friend, who brought along her husband's high-end Laguiole opener. It was like a piece of art, and we all fought for the right to use it. Needless to say, she kept her eyes on it, and made sure it was in her bag at the end of the day.

I have a Laguiole, albeit not as large and heavy as hers was. I do love it, though. It's the right weight. The blade is sharp and the parts are strong, and they don't bend when I'm pulling even the most stubborn of corks. It's made in France, and it's a beauty.

I've had mine for years, and I don't even remember who gave it to me, but thank you, whoever you were. Find a a similar model from Trudeau here.

And that gorgeous model, like my friend had? Find a similar one here.

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