Holiday shopping for wine lovers in San Diego

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Unsurprisingly, there are a few wine lovers I need to shop for this holiday season. I also use wine as my go-to white elephant contribution. Plus, I need to keep my own wine rack well stocked if I hope to survive this time of year and make it to 2016.

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[Pictured above (left to right): (back row) R.H. Coutier Brut Grand Cru purchased at Village Vino for about $40, Robert Hall Viognier purchased at Vom Fass for about $17, Gaston Chiquet “Tradition” Dizy purchased at Village Vino for about $40, (front row) Sophora sparkling rose purchased at Vom Fass for about $16, and Montinore Estate Pinot Noir purchased at the winery, however Bine and Vine is carrying this excellent offering by Montinore.]

With all that in mind I share with you a few gift-giving ideas, including lots of local businesses that deserve your shopping support.

Bottle shops

The easiest thing to buy a wine lover is, of course, wine. Here are a few places I love shopping at. They’re small businesses, you can ask questions of the owners/staff and you will walk away with something wonderful for your gift recipient (and maybe yourself).

Bine and Vine (3334 Adams Ave., Normal Heights) : Of course I’m partial to this one because I can walk to it, but there are many other reasons I shop here. Their wine selection is organized by wine region for the most part, so if you want a California Cab head towards the back while you’ll find some excellent French, German, Spanish and other international selections closer to the door. I have rarely been disappointed by anything I’ve gotten at B and V. Recently, I picked up the 2007 Saxon Brown Syrah and it was seriously heavenly – super smooth and rich. I hope there’s more left when I go back. Bine and Vine is well known for its beer selections as well, so you can hit the beer lovers on your list too.

Village Vino (4095 Adams Ave., Kensington): This one is part restaurant/wine bar and part bottle shop. The benefit of this is you can drink something then pick up a bottle to go. Their food – flatbreads, cheese boards, small bites, etc. – are all tasty as well. They also hold regular tastings which offer another great way to shop.

Photo by Kel Casey

Photo by Kel Casey

• Vom Fass (1050 University Ave. E103, Hillcrest): The wine selection here is limited but full of great value. The owners hand select the majority of their offerings, which include everything from locally made wines to high-end Champagne with everything in between. This unique store also sells a variety of oils, vinegars, small-batch bourbons, scotches and liqueurs and more. I recently got to do a tasting tour of the shop – something anyone can do when stopping in – and ended up getting a ton of Christmas gifts checked off my list. Their colorful and flavorful liqueurs (see pic) are great for cocktail making or topping off a sparkling wine. NYE here we come! Note: they also have a great tasting schedule including frequent wine tastings for $5 – $10.

San Diego Wine Company (7080 Miramar Rd #100, ) : Yet another one that offers tastings – who doesn’t want to drink and shop!? I haven’t been here in a while but their selection is always stellar and diverse. The wine program I’m in at SDSU gets most of their wines at SD Wine Company so I’ve recently had some of their tasty offerings including the Justin Cab, Domaine Laroque Cabernet Franc, and Chateau Costis white Bordeaux.

Accessories

If wine shopping sounds intimidating or your wine lover is too picky to pick for another option are some wine-themed items.

IMG_1791Kaliedescope (3030 University Ave., North Park): This store has so many adorable gifts you could spend hours in their relatively small space. For wine peeps there are decorative glasses, wine stoppers and large stainless steel wine chillers (kind of like this). I picked up a pair of stoppers (see pic) that allow you to store wine that’s been opened on its side without getting and spillage. Handy, huh?

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to WineThis book has been one of the best wine-related items I’ve received all year. See my full review here. Wine Folly‘s style makes wine topics easy to understand and uses colorful infographics to highlight various ideas. Check out their site in addition to picking up this great resource.

Amazon.com Once I exhausted my local shopping options I found a few gems over at the ultimate online retailer. A few ideas: Stainless Steel Ice Cubes – Set Of 6 Wine Chillers, Crystal Wine Decanter, and one I personally asked for: so many wine racks to choose from.

Tastings/Experiences

With so much stress and busy-ness associated with the holiday season, another idea is to give the gift on an experience. Whether it’s treating a friend to a casual wine Wednesday, picking up a gift card so they can experience a spot at their leisure or signing up for a tasting or class, here are some ways to wow your wine lover.

• Urban wineries: Have I mentioned that I love the trend of urban wineries? These small local operations put out some very interesting and tasty wines. They’re also starting to pop up in neighborhoods so you don’t have to make much of a trip to check them out. A few of my favorites include: Négociant (read more), Vinavanti (read more), and 2Plank (read more).

• Tastings and tasting classes: For the wine and food lover check out Dallmann Confections and Venissimo Cheese for classes that will marry wine and nibbles. I have taken classes at both and they were educational and delicious. Some wine bars and tasting rooms will also sell advanced tickets for various tastings.

Wine clubs

There are so many of these and many more popping up all the time. I’ve personally only tried Wine Awesomeness. The prices are reasonable but I haven’t been stunned by any of the wines yet (only two shipments in, tried seven wines) but their customer service has been great. Some others are listed to peruse for a loved one or yourself. A gift that really keeps giving 😉

Club W 

Bright Cellars 

The California Wine Club

Have a great wine gift to share? Leave a comment below!

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