You know the type: They already have a 1,000-bottle wine cellar, 65 corkscrews and a dozen too-cute wine posters (”Wine a little; you'll feel better”). So what do you get them for Christmas?
I have struggled mightily to put together a list of wine gifts so unusual that most wine lovers don’t have them. Keep in mind I have not tried these products, so it’s buyer beware.
Wine in paper bottles: That’s right. A standard-shape wine bottle of recycled cardboard whose makers say it can stand up to three hours in an ice bucket. They say it will save the planet by weighing 70 percent less than glass for shipping purposes. PaperBoy makes a $14 Mendocino Chardonnay and a $15 red blend from Paso Robles. Order them at paperboywines.com.
Duck Dynasty wines: Down for all things ducky? You can gift your reality-show-loving friends with a three-pack of Duck Dynasty wines. The bearded, rollicking Robertson family has gone in with California’s Trinchero Family Estates – the folks who brought us white zinfandel – to make a red, a rosé and a white. They’re under $10 each at Walmart.
CatSip Feline Wine: Don’t like to drink alone? A Japanese company has come out with Nyan Nyan Nouveau (nyan is Japanese for meow), a wine for cats. No alcohol, but rather cabernet grape juice, catnip and vitamin C. Sadly, you have to go to Japan to buy it, according to greatwinenews.com.
Sonic Foamer: Bummed when the head on your beer dissipates after the first few sips? Sulk no more. Set your glass of beer on a Sonic Foamer, a small plastic platform that sends ultrasonic waves up through the beer, reconstituting the head. It’s $39.99 at sonicfoamer.com.
Wine sentinel: Heading out of town and afraid your under-age son or daughter might raid your wine cellar or liquor cabinet? Install an Elertus Wine Protection System. If the kid opens the door, the system will alert you via your iPhone, iPad or Android. It'll also warn you of changes in light or temperature. It’s $199 at elertus.com/wine.
Reindeer games: If you’re a bit bah, humbug about the holidays, you can buy the Blitzen Gift Set – a reindeer-antler-shaped bottle stopper and a bar towel with a drawing of Santa’s “Blitzen” with eyes Xed out, looking a bit blitzed himself. The set is $23 at corkpops.com.
Davy Jones’ wine locker: Serious wine connoisseurs are picky about the conditions under which their prized bottles mature. So Mira Winery of Napa Valley has aged a few bottles of its 2009 cabernet sauvignon 60 feet under the surface of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina for three months – at ocean temperatures and pressure, in total darkness. You can buy a bottle of the ocean-aged wine, called Aquaoir, and another bottle of the same wine aged on land, for $500 at aquaoir.com.
Cool shades: These sunglasses (the frames, not the lenses) are made of used wine barrels from Robert Mondavi Private Selection. The idea is you wear them while sipping the wines. They’re $120 at woodzee.com.
Beer now! You’ve got to have a beer right now, but all your bottles are warm? Just open one, pop in a Corkcicle Chillsner – an open tube that’s been chilled in your freezer – and you can start sipping cold beer through it immediately. A set of two is $29.95 at corkcicle.com.
Corkscrew no more: Want to try a glass of wine from a bottle but not finish the rest for up to 10 years, allegedly with no loss of quality? Try the Coravin “wine access system” developed by Greg Lambrecht, an MIT-trained nuclear engineer. He inserts a long, thin needle through the cork, draws out some wine and injects inert argon gas without ever pulling the cork. It’s $295, plus $29.99 for a three-pack of argon at coravin.com.
Fred Tasker writes about wine for the McClatchy News Service. Contact him at fredtaskerwinegmail.com.