Wine of the Week: Annual holiday gift-giving guide for wine lovers

WASHINGTON — Giving wine as a gift to a wine lover can be a tricky proposition since most people have particular tastes or favor a specific type of wine. In addition, wines themselves may be difficult to return or exchange. However, fear not. There is a huge assortment of wine accessories to suit every wine lover’s interest and buyer’s pocketbook.

Here is a list of wine gadgets that every wine enthusiast will love — including me! If you are looking to give something special to the wine lover on your holiday gift list, these suggestions are sure to please any oenophile.

I love books. And I love Champagne! Fortunately, local wine blogger-turned-author David White scratches both itches with his clever and informative book, But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World’s Favorite Wine. In his book, White details Champagne’s history along with that of its wines, explains how and why the market is changing and profiles the region’s leading producers.

“It is essential reading for wine enthusiasts, adventurous drinkers, foodies, sommeliers and drinks professionals. With a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the region, its history, and its leading producers, But First, Champagne will demystify Champagne for all.” $22

My “go to” book — one that I consider to be my personal Wine Bible — is literally The Wine Bible by one of the foremost wine experts in the United States, Karen MacNeil.

MacNeil is the only American wine expert to have won every major wine award given in the English Language. This second printing is a completely revised and updated edition of her original best-selling tome and is praised by many in the wine and food industry as “The most informative and entertaining book I’ve ever seen on the subject” (Danny Meyer), and “A guide that has all the answers” (Bobby Flay). MacNeil is an expert teacher. She has a style that provides the reader with the fundamentals, while layering on informative asides, tips, amusing anecdotes, definitions, glossaries, photos, maps, labels and recommended bottles. MacNeil’s information comes directly through primary research; for this second edition she has tasted more than 10,000 wines. All this knowledge is at your fingertips for $15.

The perfect stocking stuffer for impatient wine connoisseurs who can’t wait to let the wine breathe in a decanter can let the Vinturi Wine Aerator speed up the process. Just pop this nifty gizmo into the wine bottle, and then pour the wine through the Vinturi into a glass. The nifty design draws in and mixes the proper amount of air for the right amount of time, allowing the wine to breathe instantly. You’ll notice a better bouquet, enhanced flavors and smoother finish. About $30 at most wine shops — and it really does fit in the average stocking!

Another stocking stuffer that’s perfect for the consumer who doesn’t feel compelled to drink a whole bottle of wine at one time is the Vac-u-Vin wine saver system. It is one of the most economical ways to store left over wines. Simply put the rubber stopper in the neck of the bottle and then use the hand pump to remove the air out and create a vacuum seal. The Vac-u-Vin reduces oxidation and keeps an open bottle of wine fresh for two or three days. It’s widely available at most wine shops. $10

A gadget that caught my eye this season is a new wine opener that was created specifically to deal with the issues of removing corks from older bottles of wine. The Durand™ is a fully patented, two-part device that enables the user to successfully remove older and fragile wine corks whole and intact. The Durand was invented by wine collector Mark Taylor who had struggled with challenging corks when opening older fine wines. Using The Durand for compromised corks or exceptionally long corks eliminates the unwanted outcomes of broken corks, corks pushed into bottles or corks partially removed leaving pieces floating in the wine. The Durand removes the cork whole and undamaged. It’s a little pricey for a wine opener, but when you’re opening an older, expensive bottle, you’ll be glad that someone splurged for you! $125 (mail order only online)

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