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Holiday gifts for wine lovers

Wine Wednesday is here to help with another perennial source of holiday stress: what to give that notoriously hard-to-buy-for friend or relative. If that person enjoys wine, cast your eyes below and take heart.

For the reader on your list: “Literary Libations” by Ashland writer Amira Makansi (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2018). This delightful hard-cover volume is light as the bubbles in Crémant de Bourgogne, bright with a wordsmith’s insights and generously flavored with humor. One-page descriptions of what wine, brew or cocktail goes best with a renowned book (they range from “Heart of Darkness”/Petite Syrah to “A Confederacy of Dunces”/Budweiser) are as un-put-downable as potato chips.

For the practical type: a variety of tools to lubricate the nuts and bolts of the wine experience. The Joseph Joseph Brush-up is a wine-glass brush with a suction cup that anchors it to the bottom of the sink, making it easy to clean wine glasses — even the pesky dimple at the bottom. Also handy, the Corkpops opener, advertised as the fastest, laziest way to open a bottle of wine, works pneumatically to eliminate cork issues.

For those on the go: the True Dine Out grab-and-go insulated bottle carrier. A canvas sleeve that keeps wine cool and protected for travel, it comes with a corkscrew. Bottle Bubble Freeze is a plastic sheath (it looks like bubble-wrap) that you freeze before use to keep wine cool on the way to your destination.

For those who like to picnic in style: a boxed pair of Endurance stainless metal wine glasses that combine unbreakable safety with the appeal of elegant stemware. Or there’s the whole kit and caboodle in the Wine Ready Picnic tote, a backpack style carrier with space for two wine bottles, plastic glasses, cutting board, plates and utensils. Everything’s included except the wine.

For those who love the decorative beauty of vineyard scenes: Magicslice nonslip cutting boards come with a variety of wine-themed illustrations. True Vintage Sandstone coasters decorated with bunches of grapes will artfully protect your furniture.

For those who need a laugh (and these days who doesn’t?): Consider placards with pithy phrases suitable for hanging over your wine rack: “The Serwinety Prayer: Give me coffee to change the things I can & wine to accept the things I cannot;” “Yoga class? I thought you said pour a glass;” or “I’m outdoorsy — I drink my wine on the patio.” Cocktail napkins printed with funny notions such as, “Wine, a vacation in a bottle” will give you a chuckle while you shop.

For those who love gifts that come in small boxes: You’ll make a hit with Branch+Barrel jewelry. Handmade earrings and pendants feature segments of reclaimed oak wine barrel staves accented with hand-forged precious metals. Wine staining accentuates the natural wood grain of each unique piece. Wow!

And, of course, the obvious choice for all of the above is wine itself. Choose a fine bottle of something Rogue Valley and present it in a suitably festive gift bag with your personal holiday wishes inscribed on the bottle itself with a True Shimmer Metallic bottle pen. They come in gold and silver, and the ink wipes off with a damp cloth if you make a mistake.

These are only a few of the many wine-centric gifts I spotted on a recent visit to Jacksonville’s WillowCreek, The Pot Rack and The Jacksonville Inn Wine & Gift Shop. All three stores are within a stone’s throw of each other on California Street. I was even able to talk my husband into coming along with the promise of frequent breaks for wine tasting.

What’s your take? Email MJ Daspit at mjdaspitwinot@gmail.com. For more on this topic, check out her Backstory Blog at mjdaspit.com.

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