A holiday gift guide for the wine lover: Uncork the Forks

A growler of beer also makes a good gift for many wine lovers. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

A growler of beer also makes a good gift for many wine lovers. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

The following are some of the wine-related gifts I’d love to receive this year, but this list isn’t going to do me much good. My wife is done with her shopping. She has been for weeks, maybe months. She’s done buying for my family, her family, our kids and me. I, on the other hand, have barely started shopping for her, but that’s not relevant for a wine column. Besides, that’s what Amazon Prime is for.

Wine. Every year I’m surprised at just how few people buy me wine. I’m a wine lover! Wine lovers, by definition, love wine. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a bottle to get something good. Find a great wine shop or local winery (or even a good one) and talk to the people there. Tell them what you’d like to spend and share any information you about what your recipient likes to drink. Don’t be afraid. Just don’t buy me any oaked chardonnay, thanks.

Decanter. The number of PR pitches I get for wine gadgets seems to grow every year. Most of them are interesting and I’ve even purchased some over the years. Many are shortcut ways to aerate wines as you pour them. I never use them anymore. I’m not even sure where they are, honestly. I just use one of my decanters instead. They are beautiful on the table, you can pour right out of them and they are just classic. I don’t get caught up in the romanticism of wine as much as some, but give me a decanter over a Vinturi or other gadget any day. You can spend as little or as much as you’d like — and I don’t think any wine lover can ever have enough.

Big bottles. We’ve already decided that wine is a great gift for wine lovers, but do you know what we like even more than a bottle of wine? A big bottle of wine. The 1.5- or 3-liter bottles are great for myriad reasons, but my favorite reason is that they are fun. If you’re having dinner with some friends and bring a big ol’ bottle of great wine to the table, it becomes an event. Several of Long Island’s best wineries are bottling age-worthy wines in magnums nowadays. Look to wineries like Paumanok Vineyards, Macari Vineyards and Wölffer Estate for these types of big bottles — with wines inside that you’ll want.

Beer, too. There’s never been as much great beer being made on Long Island as there is now. A growler — maybe even a flip-top one — of a fresh local brew is a great gift. It’s one that wouldn’t last the day at my house. A filled jug won’t cost you more than $25, unless you want to spend more. If you really want to splurge and spoil the beer lover on your list, look no further than Riverhead’s Moustache Brewing Co. and their new Society for Fine Liquid Provisions. For $199, that beer guy or girl in your life gets a growler that he or she gets to fill for free once a month, four bottles of beer available only to members, a VIP package to the brewery’s annual birthday party and much more. Visit moustachebrewing.com/society for details.

Wine club. Most every Long Island winery has some sort of wine club, but why not expand your horizons without leaving New York? Depending on where you shop for wine, you may not have ready access to New York wines from the Finger Lakes, the Niagara region and the Hudson Valley. If that’s you, I have a suggestion if you can forgive a little self-promotion: The New York Cork Club. I’ve partnered with The Cellar d’Or — a great wine and cider shop in Ithaca, N.Y. — to create my own wine club. Every month, I pick two great New York wines and they are delivered to your door. The wine itself never exceeds $50 for those two bottles (shipping costs vary) and by joining, you’ll get everything from classic wines from the top wineries in the state to small-production (as little as 25 cases!) wines that you just won’t get anywhere outside the winery’s tasting room itself. Visit thecellardor.com/new-york-cork-club.html to sign up.

Lenn Thompson