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Christmas Gift Ideas in 2003

It’s time for the annual Wino Wally Christmas gift list.  I’ll keep the list short and sweet (and factually accurate).  If anyone else has an idea that they’d like to add to the list, just email me at 'Stuff.

1)      The Full-Bottle Wine Glass – If you drink as much wine as my buddies, WJ and WB, you need to disguise that fact from your friends and business associates (‘cause your relatives KNOW that you have a problem).  Friends, the Full-Bottle Wine Glass is just the thing.  It can hold two liters of liquid and allow you to say, “I just had one glass, officer.”  Available at Hammacher Schlemmer for $19.95 (product number 70375J, call -1-800-543-3366, I could not find this online at  Price compares favorably to the Wine Enthusiast and IWA who have similar products priced from $59.95 to $99.95.

2)      A gift subscription to the Robert Mondavi Ensemble Wine Club – The Ensemble club has three levels of membership.  Discovery members receive 5 shipments of wine per year and pay between $25 and $40 per shipment.  Signature members receive 4 shipments of wine per year and pay between $75 and $100 per shipment (higher grade wines in the shipment).  Rare Reds members receive periodic shipments of wines and pay between $125 and $175 per shipment (note:  there is a waiting list for the Rare Red membership; I just received a 1994 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and can purchase a bottle of the 1997 Cab Reserve for a great price).  Ensemble will take your credit card and bill you for an entire year of either category if you like (or you can tell them how much you’re willing to pay for).

3)      A gift subscription to  For $99 for a year, you get access to the best of Robert Parker.  Naturally, all of Parker’s tasting notes are available and I can attest, he gets to drink some fine wine (which would be nice if WinoStuff staff could achieve similar status through WB’s sophisticated palate).  My favorite section is the Hedonists’ Gazette which is a rambling similar to Wino Bob’s but not subject to as much incoherency.

4)       Any of the Wine Spectator’s Wine Experience Events – This year’s was in New York and sold out quickly.  Only 7,000 people were allowed to attend the event which featured 240 wines that could be tasted (if you had the ability to do so).  Four people were named Wine Warriors for the 200 wines that they sampled.  In 2004 this event is in Chicago and will feature California wines.  Take a trip to the Windy City and enjoy the company (sorry, but I couldn’t find a price for the Chicago event).

5)      A sampler case of wine from your favorite retailer – I enjoy putting these gifts together for a few special people.  You can usually put together a nice case for $120 and for the ones you really want to impress, $400 might be a reasonable budget (note:  the only time I spend that kind of money for a case of wine is when it’s for me.  Once in a while, I might share a bottle of that special case with WJ if he ever shows up for a visit again).

6)      A set of Riedel specialty red glasses – Treat yourself to a set of three red wine glasses made by Riedel.  The reds are priced around $64.95 each unless you buy more than three (in which case they’re about $57.95 each).  You can find them cheaper when they’re on sale.  I bought mine at The Wine Enthusiast (  If you don’t need the hand-blown Sommelier line, buy the less expensive Wine Line stems.

7)      The bronze Estate Wine Opener – Available for approximately $99.95, this classic opener is a must if you have the counter space.  I’ve had one for 14 years and have only needed to replace the corkscrew once (figuring that it opens at least 300 bottles per year, that ain’t bad).  You can also upgrade to the Limited Edition Silver opener for $199.95.  The bronze works just as well.  It makes a great house-warming gift for that difficult to buy for person.

8)      A Guy Buffet design, Rapid Ice chiller – This space age wrap will chill a bottle of wine in 10 minutes (5 according to the catalog, but I like 10).  Available for $10.95 per wrap (528 21 02 at

9)      Wino Stuff’s Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir – available for $5.95, this compares favorably against the Wine Away product available for $14.95.  I’ve tried it and it works.  It also removes some stains created by three year olds.

10)  A night at Bacchus with Wino Bob – Priceless – Literally, we can’t tell you how much it would cost to spend a night at Bacchus with WB.  However, you’re better off if you get Wino John to buy him a few drinks before hand so he doesn’t buy the more expensive stuff.  WB knows everyone (and we mean, everyone) and his wine tasting acumen is, well, it’s amazing!  Contact if you’re interested in purchasing this gift for your loved one.

Wino Wally
Baltimore, MD
December 10, 2003 


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