Wine Gift Baskets
Wine Gift Baskets are an excellent way to present a loved one or a friend with an original and lasting gift. Wine has a long history, stretching back for millenniums. The most common method of making wine is through the fermentation of grapes, although wine can be made from numerous ingredients, raging form apples, cherries, plums, any sort of berry and even some flowers.
However, white and red wines made from grapes are by far the most common wines available. The process for making wine varies by region, but the common denominator is the fermentation of grapes. White and red wines are gaining in popularity, and wine gift baskets can be an original gift for a wine lover.
Starting a wine gift basket can be a hard task. The first step is to determine what type of wine the individual receiving their gift prefers. Generally, the focus of the wine gift basket will either be a red or a white wine variety. A wine gift basket should be based around only one brand of wine, and one type of wine because this will make it easier to find the right complimentary gifts to fill up the basket.
First, lets start with red wine. This is the most consumed type of wine, and is sure to popular with almost anyone. The key here is to select one type of red wine, such as a Shiraz, Merlot or Pinot Noir. These are my personal favourites as well. White wines are also a good choice, but they are lighter and more suited for an experienced wine drinker.
With wine, terroir (the unique aspects common to a certain area) determines the quality of a wine. For example, Champagne is made in the French region of the same name, with the unique "terroir" of the region giving Champagne its distinctive flavor. As such, local wines are better suited for they will incorporate local terroir and in most cases will be superior to imported wine. A good wine gift basket will also feature complimentary gifts such as cheeses, chocolate and meats. By sourcing all of these products locally, there is a better chance of them matching each other's flavor, enhancing the wine gift basket.
Complimenting The Wine Gift Basket
Once you've selected the wine to form the basis of your wine gift basket, the hard part begins. To form a nice wine gift basket, you have to compliment the wine inside with a bevy of non-perishable goods that match your selection. Because each wine is unique and different, there is no set standard for creating a wine gift basket. It all depends on the wine you have selected. However, there are four general categories.
Acidity- The acidity of a wine and its food pairing can have a significant impact on on overall taste in the pairing. Acidity is a component of any proper and enjoyable tasting, for its stimulates salivation which stimulates appetite. With acidity, it is important to balance the amount of acid in the wine with the amount prevalent in the food. This will serve to bring out the deeper flavor inherent to the wine and food accompanying it.
Sweetness- Wine contains sugar that is left over from the natural fermentation process. This amount of sugar determines the sweetness of the end product. Sweetness in a wine can balance out sour and spicy flavors. Good combinations for sweet wines can be spicier dried meats and cheeses.
Bitterness- The bitterness in wine comes from the tannins that are present in the product. Tannins in wine react negatively to sweet and spicy foods. The more bitter the wine, the less it will mesh with sweet or spicy foods. However, bitter wines with a lot of tannins go well with meats, especially grilled meats.
Alcohol- Finally, the alcohol content of wine needs to be considered when choosing the perfect wine for your wine gift basket. Alcohol content usually has little effect on the wine's taste, unless it is a fortified wine. However, it is important to match the alcohol content to the person drinking the wine. Basically, don't give a lightweight a wine that will put them under for 3 days.
So, now that we know these four factors, we can begin to pick the proper accompanying gifts to fill the wine gift basket. Generally, for edible products, the best ones are cheese, smoked/dried meats, chocolate, fruits and homemade jams/jellies combined with home-made breads. For the best varieties, you can visit your local farmers market, if one exists. Most farmers make their own products, allowing you to find a home-made version of whatever, complementing items you want to include in your wine gift basket.
Alternatively you can create the complementary products yourself at home. There are many websites and articles out there that can advise you on how to create the best accompaniments for the perfect wine gift basket. However, if you create or buy anything to complement your wine gift basket, you should always taste it and the wine itself to ensure that the products in your wine gift baskets match in flavor and character.
The key is to match the product with the characteristics of the wine. For the most part, if you are buying wine from a reputable store, the attendants would be able to tell you what matches with the wine you are purchasing. And with the magic of modern manufacturing, most wines will give at least some semblance of what should be paired with it.
Finalizing The Wine Gift Basket
Once you have everything gathered, it is only a matter of putting together your perfect wine gift basket. Once the wine and the accompaniments are in the basket, you could put in a card or flowers to enhance its appeal. You can also consult a local florist or gift shop, who could professionally package your wine gift basket for you. You can add special touches like ribbons, buttons, stickers (keep it stylish and fancy, stay away from the kids craft box) to complement the wine gift basket and make it more appealing to the eyes.
A wine gift basket can be the perfect gift for almost any occasion, ranging from birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or even dinner parties. If properly done, a wine gift basket will impress just about any connoisseur.