The holidays are upon us, faster than we expected despite our perfectly rational ability to look at a calendar. And so, it is time to face the second autumnal dilemma that confronts wine lovers every year (after what to pair with Thanksgiving turkey): What gift should we give to our wine-fiend friends this holiday season? Could the answer be … wait for it … (drum roll, please) … wine?

Of course, but not just any wine. Make it personal. Even if you are sending a gift to someone who is really knowledgeable about wine and tends to lord that knowledge over you, just be creative. We wine nerds may be skeptical of your vinous abilities, but we love being surprised. The growth of the direct-to-consumer shipping channel makes it easier to give wine to friends across the country.

The holiday season is a great time to promote your local wines to out-of-town friends. California wine lovers may appreciate Virginia’s Bordeaux-style reds, and many probably have never tasted petit manseng, rapidly becoming Virginia’s signature white. Ankida Ridge, Hazy Mountain and Ox-Eye Vineyards in Virginia make pinot noir that may open a few eyes among burghounds. Lightwell Survey will delight fans of natural wines. You could showcase some of Maryland’s best with award winners from Port of Leonardtown Winery, Big Cork Vineyards or Boordy Vineyards. Someone who loves riesling from the Finger Lakes might relish one from Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula. Or send your favorite from a winery you visited this year. That personal touch is all it takes to make your gift of wine special.

Still stumped? The wine app Sippd has introduced a new feature called “combine taste match,” which suggests wines based on your ratings and your friend’s. It’s kind of like asking your retailer, but you don’t have to go to the store, because you can buy the wine through the app and have it delivered.

You can also give an experience without financing a luxurious trip. The pandemic and modern technology have revolutionized wine travel — meaning we don’t actually travel. For the wine neophyte on your list, consider a tasting with, a new online wine education platform that promotes wineries practicing organic and biodynamic viticulture. Your gift recipient can join a live or on-demand class with a tasting kit that includes six wines in 6-ounce vials (enough for two people to sample) from a French wine region. Tasting kits cost about $60. The classes I listened to had some production issues: Music and sound effects tend to drown out the instructors, and U.S. presenters should work on their French pronunciation to be credible. But the presentations are informative and fun, with interactive quizzes to keep your attention focused. There’s also cheese. And wine-themed music playlists.

If price is no object — I’m talking to the 1 percent here — the new glittery object in wine this year is the Coravin Sparkling preservation system. Coravin delighted wine collectors and sommeliers a decade ago with its contraption that extracts wine through a cork and inserts argon gas to preserve the remainder. It allows us to sample a rare or expensive wine without committing to the entire bottle. The Coravin Sparkling aims to do the same for your tete de cuvee vintage champagne in regular bottles or magnums. It’s actually easier to use than the original Coravin, as there’s no needle that can break. You pop the cork, pour a glass, then place a specially designed cap on the bottle and use the main device to insert carbon dioxide, the same gas that gives the wine its fizz. It should keep your wine fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. That’s more effective than a sparkling wine stopper or the old trick of putting a spoon in the bottle’s neck. Of course, for the $400 this will set you back, you could buy a lot of spoons. And I know what you’re thinking: Who ever has trouble finishing a bottle of good sparkling wine? High-end restaurants will want this device, but I can see it being irresistible to collectors as well.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out for the most invaluable gizmo for wine collectors: the Durand cork puller. This two-part device combines a traditional spiral corkscrew with a dual-pronged ah-so cork remover. At $125, it’s not cheap, but it is foolproof for extracting fragile corks from older bottles of wine. I bought myself one for Christmas a couple years ago and use it on wines 10 or more years old to avoid having the cork crumble into my wine.

If these prices bust your gift budget, don’t worry. I’ll have the year’s best wine books to recommend next week.

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