The gift giving season is upon us and although the wine lover in your life might be happy with a bottle there are many other ways to give the gift of wine.
Give a great wine book
For the novice wine lover, two great introductory wine books are Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible and Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeleine Puckette and Justin Hammack. The Wine Bible is a tour of the world, covering the fundamentals of wine and wine regions along with amusing anecdotes, tips for buying and beautiful photos. Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine is a very practical guide to wine including how to taste, how to handle and store wine and how to pair wine with food. Both books contain great information for someone new to wine, each presented in an easy-to-read and approachable way.
If you are shopping for a wine lover who also loves to cook, a perfect gift is What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Not only a comprehensive guide to wine and food pairing, this book also includes information on how to pair food with spirits, beer, coffee and tea, with expert advice and stories from some of the top chefs and sommeliers in the US.
Give a wine experience
Events offered through the LCBO’s Vintages program make great gifts and offer opportunities to explore different wines, meet and learn from winemakers and buy wines that are often not for sale in store. The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is the next big event coming up on January 22 at the Royal Ontario Museum. This is the perfect opportunity to give the wine lover on your list access to the already acclaimed 2016 vintage of Bordeaux wines – a tasting and shopping experience to remember. More information and tickets here: http://www.vintages.com/events.shtml?topnav
Give wine education
There are many ways to learn about wine without committing to a sommelier program. George Brown College offers a number of wine courses starting with Wine for Beginners, a six-week course that covers wine basics with lots of tasting in a casual classroom atmosphere:
For the more serious student of wine, the Wine Specialist Certificate offers eight courses that cover the major wine regions and wine styles of the world with a focus on developing your palate:
The Independent Wine Education Guild (IWEG) is another organization offering a wide range of master classes taught by experts in the field – from in-depth explorations of wine regions (including Ontario!) to wine business and wine and cheese pairing. If you can’t decide what to give, they offer gift certificates: https://www.iweg.org/organizations/3
Enjoy giving the gift of wine this season. Happy Holidays!
Anjana Viswanatha is the sommelier at Bacchanal in Toronto, the founder of Wednesday Night Wine (www.wednesdaynightwine.ca) and a wine educator at George Brown College. Get in touch with Anjana: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @wednesdaynightwine.