Hey, Big Spender...

Giving the gift of wine this holiday season? Who isn’t?! It’s the perfect present to bring to any party or place under the tree. We’re sharing 3 simple tricks that will make you look like a big spender – but it will be our little secret that you spent under $20!

  • DO NOT buy Meomi or Santa Margarita...
  • Everyone knows how much you paid, and BO-RING! Instead, seek out brands no one knows. They'll have to open the wine, and judge for themselves if it's a good wine. Isn’t that more fun? Now, all you have to do is pick a GREAT wine... Don’t worry - I got you - keep reading.

  • Head to the wine section where values abound...
  • Seems like the Holy Grail, right? I promise, this area is not hidden in the back, accessible only by a secret password. Certain regions, on the whole, create better values than others. If land and labor are cheap, like in Chile, but the talent is just as good, you are going to get a much better deal from Chile than, say, Napa Valley, where an acre can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    My favorite regions for values are Spain, Portugal, Chile and Washington State. The climates are perfect for growing intense, fruity grapes which translate into crowd-pleasing wines.

  • Choose a seriously delicious wine...
  • Uh, duh. Thanks Captain Obvious, you say. But, in all seriousness, this isn't as elusive as you might think. You have two resources. Use them.

    1) Ask the staff for help.

    2) Read the signs. Literally. They're called shelf-talkers.

    Here’s the thing, you're not the first person that wondered whether this wine was good enough to buy. If it’s on the shelf someone tasted it to bring it into the country or your state. Then, another person had to taste it to bring it into the store. At least two people, usually people who try a whole lot of wine, thought it was a pretty good wine.

    That means finding the right store is often more important than finding the right wine. A helpful, interested and passionate staff will narrow down the expansive world’s selection of wine to a worthy offering, and be available to opine on wines they have actually tried, or create helpful shelf talkers to assist you.

    Once you find your wine, buy it… and then OWN it!

    The funnest part of wine is sharing: sharing your anticipation of tasting it, sharing your love of the label or of that region, etc.. Whatever it is, let the recipient(s) know why you choose that wine. We typically remember wine for its story. Part of a wine’s story can be how it came into your hands, subsequently into theirs, and ultimately, the experience you all share over that bottle. That, my friends, is how an anonymous, unknown, and inexpensive wine becomes a special & memorable one. The wine may not be the best they’ve ever had, but it may become their favorite.

    Here are 3 wines I purchased for the holidays after doing a store demo for our togo wine glasses, HaloVino, at Total Wine & More. Having lived in Spain for two years, these wines hold sentimental value. I also choose grapes most people don’t know. It creates a sense of exploration and discovery. Finally, truth be told, they all have pretty cool labels.

    2014 Gabo Xil, Godello, Valdeorras, Spain $13.99

    Anyone who likes Chardonnay will enjoy this wine from the Godello grape. Valdeorras, an up-and-coming region, is located near Galicia where they source some of the best seafood in the world! Hint, hint: start shucking some oysters!

    2014 Can Blau, Montsant, Spain $15.49

    This wine is a BIG RED (big taste, big body, big alcohol) which often translates into a BIG CROWD PLEASER. As much as this is not my preferred style, this wine is always a hit because it’s grape varietals, Mazuelo, Syrah and Grenache, produce full-bodied, high-alcohol, intense and ripe wines.

    2015 Herdade do Peso, Colheita, Alentejo, Portugal $19.99

    Most people know Portugal for their sweet reds, but they should start paying attention to their dry reds, like this one. This one drinks like a big, tannic Cab with dark fruit and dry tannins. It can even stand to age another 5-7 years.

    We also love pairing our stackable wine glasses, HaloVino, when gifting these wines! These portable wine glasses are the perfect pairing for a unique gift to go alongside your unique wine that cost less than $20 but feels like a million bucks. Happy Holidays, Big Spender!

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