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Nine Mistakes People Make When Choosing Wine as a Gift

The common pitfalls people fall into when buying wine for a friend or loved one.
Karen James Sep 17, 2019

What to Avoid

A bottle of wine is the go-to gift for many wine lovers, and on the face of it, it may seem like a simple decision, but if you’re not a wine lover per se, then different logos, labels and wine regions may be confusing. In this story, we’ve mapped out 9 of the biggest mistakes to avoid.

#1: Not Doing Research

There are countless websites, blogs and specialists who regularly offer fantastic advice. If you’re feeling lost, then you ignore these at your peril. Vintage guides and regional wines will tell you what is currently drinking well and what will make an excellent addition to someone’s collection.

#2: Bias on Brands

It may be very tempting to lean on the brands you know well, but that could mean you’re paying over the odds. Find something a little more unique. A Pinot Noir from New Zealand is an excellent alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends from Chile are another beautiful option.

#3: Judging a Book by Its Cover

Wine companies spend millions on creating in-depth advertising campaigns, and fancy labels are just a part of that process – that’s all very well and good, but it will tell you little about the wine behind the name. Inspect the back label, and it should offer information on everything from food pairings and what you can expect when you pop the cork.

#4: Not Asking for Advice

Asking for help from someone in the shop is a smart decision. If you go to the right places, it’s highly likely that these people will be passionate and knowledgeable. Of course, they want to make the sale, but they will ensure that you’re satisfied with your purchase and this is more important to them than how much you spend.

#5: Forgetting Who You’re Buying for

When consumed in the wine buying process, it can be easy to forget that you’re buying for someone else’s tastes. Perhaps you could select something produced in their favourite holiday spot, or somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit, whatever you do it’s good to make it personal.

#6: Searching for Cheap Bottles

Supermarkets are well adept at capturing your attention with bargains and bright colours, which they use to get wine flying off the shelf. Sure, you can undoubtedly pick up some decent wine, but you’re not buying for yourself. Don’t get caught up in the special offers and take the time to explore the shelves.

#7: Choosing by Price

The best wine in your budget might not always be the most expensive available. Production, bottling, tax and demand all sway the price of wine, so the price is not always an indicator of quality. Lesser-known regions or grape varieties can really offer a fantastic bang for your buck.

#8: Forgetting Food Pairings

As any serious wine lover knows, good wine and good food go hand in hand. So, why not consider gifting something that pairs with their favourite food? Classic pairings go well too, like a Cabernet Sauvignon with rich tomato dishes or a Sauvignon Blanc with a light summer salad. Food pairings are definitely an area where research is crucial.

#9: Assuming Wine Itself is the Only Option

Sometimes, the sheer amount of variety can be simply too much, and if this is the case, then don’t give up. Why not select a wine accessory, like a white wine fridge, a wine rack or even vouchers to a tasting event?