Wino Wally's 






December 23, 2000

Tis the season to giveÖ

Even if this column reaches your eyes too late for your holiday gifts, you can always archive it for those occasions when you need to find something special for a relative, friend or business associate.

If itís your preference to ship wine to someone, I would recommend  An interesting feature of this site is the initial box on the home page where it requires you to input the destination to which your wine should be shipped.  If you input a state where itís illegal to ship wines, the selector will tell you that and automatically pick the closest geographical state where itís not illegal to ship wines.  Hopefully, your brother-in-law lives there.  If you donít have a brother-in-law who lives there, I would recommend checking out winostuffís retail sites and choose one located in your home state.

Of course, many vineyards sell wine through the internet.  Our wine industry links are among the most extensive on any site and have been coded for sites that have the ability to send wine.  Unfortunately, some vineyards do not ship in less than case lots which discourages beginning winos who are not certain they will enjoy a case of a specific wine (if you have lots of money to throw around, any of the three of us will be glad to try a case first, just contact Wino John for our shipping addresses).  Other wineries will not ship to anyone other than their wine club members.  The good news is that some of the wine clubs receive discounts and also the first right of refusal on new vintages.  One of my favorite clubs is the Robert Mondavi Ensemble club.

Another interesting site is  While this site does not have the wine selection that does, its packaging can be tailored for the occasion (birthday, business, congratulations, wedding, etc.) and everything is upscale.  Wino John would be pleased with the cigars that he could ship through and Wino Bob would be intrigued by the golf outing that he could give through (speaking of which, why donít you guys send me some cigars and a round of golf or two?).

If you really want to make a hit and send some food to accompany the wine, there are some additional sites that work out well.  I found to be an excellent choice for exotic ingredients to accompany some of the heavy duty Rhones recommended by our Rhone Ranger, Wino Bob.  That site has bundled together five holiday gift packages this year including a Thai package for the masters of spice.  Moving down the food chain, has steaks, but also provides lobster tails, salmon steaks, and seafood chowders.  This site will even ship monthly gourmet entrees (another idea for your brother-in-law, Wino John).

Wino John told me that I needed to keep my columns focused on wine and not on other junk that would be more suited to other sites.  So, for those of you who donít want to take your chances on shipping wine illegally or just donít want to pick a wine without an expert opinion (remember, you can email Wino Bob who will always give you an opinion), I recommend  At this site, you can find inexpensive gifts such as corkscrews, wine bottle stoppers, napkins, decorative towels.  You can also purchase premade wine bins, wine racks, and wine shelving.  If youíre daring, you can even order a custom-made redwood wine cellar (I did and Wino John will verify that they do a darned good job).  My favorite all time gift for the hard-to-buy-for person in the $100 category is the Estate Opener (#3146) for $99.95.  It comes in antique bronze, nickel, or pewter finishes and will open and reseal a wine bottle in less time than Wino Bob can rate a Rhone.

If you have favorite wine or gourmet-related sites that you would like us to review, drop me an email.  If I canít include a writeup, weíll research it and add it to our retail or wine industry links. 



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