Limited only by your taste, spending limit and what region of California's Viticulture Areas you wish to taste from, creating a wine basket from California wines is an exercise in creativity.

While the famous Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries and their gift box offerings are often the easiest to shop, California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas, also known as AVAs, including California itself.

The plethora of small wineries emerging throughout California brought the competition of entrepreneurial spirit to California wine making. Along with that spirit at the wineries themselves, the cottage industry of gift basket creating was born.

As the expertise of the Wine Master is necessary for the production of a fine cellar, the knowledge of pairings and unique side products such as oils, salts and mustards that off-shoot from wine making, is necessary to the successful gift shop.

Sprung up all over California over the past few decades are now well-known wine gift basket designers.

Located in the heart of the Napa Valley, 'Christie's Gift Baskets' is one of the most well-known. 'California Gourmet Baskets' in Richmond is another respected design team especially noted for their creative and wide ranging sentiments for any occasion. World renowned 'Dean & Deluca' for their fine food pairings and wide variety of wine offerings. Of the top noted wine gift basket design teams 'Wine Country Gift Baskets' located in Fullerton, California is the most versatile with the broadest of price range.

A small basket with a bottle of good quality wine and a snack sampling of foodstuffs and simple décor to the basket averages around $80 to $100. Climbing from there, dependent on your choices and wine selection, all the way up to just under $1,000 on the average.

Free to select your desired type of wine for your basket, one is also free to select from a specific region.

Wine that notes the California AVA on the label is a wine that includes grapes from multiple vineyards. The California Wine label is then a 'general' label. This does not denote the quality of the wine. That is the touch and expertise of the winemaker. This distinction reflects the diversity of where the grapes originate.

The Livermore Valley AVA, Lodi County AVA and the San Francisco Bay AVA are all surrounding the San Francisco area and known as the 'Other California' wine AVAs.

Components of a California wine basket gift

As unique as the recipient or the occasion, limiting your imagination when helping build your wine basket is a waste of energy. From expressions of sympathy, to congratulations for a wedding or new baby arrival; there is no limit to what a custom wine gift basket designer can do to create the perfect gift.

For minimal involvement in creating, choose instead to fill our a simple check list on an internet ordering form or by you in person. Still giving you the ability to interject your personal touch, the process done in this way eliminates the step of a consultation and lowers your cost in. In addition and quite often, the designer's favorite previous creations and themes are also available for sale if you simply wish to shop and grab.

When shopping for a California wine gift basket, think of pairing the recipient with their areas of interest.

For example, if your gift is going to someone who is noted for their strong views on environmental preservation, you could choose a wine from the Tolosa Winery in California. Noted for their solar and sustainable growth policies and cellar standards.

If wishing to make an impression on a significant business client you may wish to consider wine selections from the historic wineries such as Buena Vista in Sonoma and Rubicon Estate in Napa.

Themed and paired foods baskets also require forethought. A gift basket designer can help you choose the best pairings to go with your theme. Chocolates and a desert wine or Port. Mustards, olive oils, rubs and salts paired with the perfect wine to compliment a special meal or gift a recipient who loves to cook.

Customized baskets that include a special gift are a popular choice. As simple as purchasing the gift you have in mind and shipping direct to your design team, they can then incorporate the wine and food selections right into your gift basket along with the complimenting wrappings.

Shipping of some California wine is limited to certain states and is dependent on the wine type.