Friends and family members start to wonder how to decipher the secret language of wine and get the perfect gift, while wine lovers brace in anticipation for all the well-meaning but truly awful gifts they will receive. Well let’s put that to rest with an easy to use guide to understanding the wine lover in your life.

1) Avoid Wine Knick-Knacks and Accessories

For the most part it is best for everyone involved if you just avoid these altogether. They are a minefield and with few exceptions are just going to take up space in a drawer somewhere. Some of the most common offenders here are Bottle Stoppers, Fancy pour spouts, Aerators, Corkscrews, Wine Charms and many other similar items. Most of these are accessories that are sold but nobody ever really uses or that are so common a wine lover probably already has several. Corkscrews are a separate entity where there are exceptions but for the most part it’s probably safer to avoid these items altogether.

2) Wine

This would seem like a very logical item, but so many people get it wrong or stress unnecessarily about it. If you are buying wine as a gift for a wine lover don’t just walk in and grab the first bottle that you see or that looks cool in a big display. This is about the equivalent to showing up with a gift card, it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s more that it says “I had no clue and didn’t try.”. Almost every Liquor store or major wine boutique will have knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to help you find something unique. In Ontario the product consultants in the vintages section at the LCBO are always more than happy to help you find something cool and unusual. The step of asking for help makes it much less stressful and can make your gift truly stand out and say “I tried.”. Even if it’s not a wine they’re a huge fan of, the effort will stand out and most will appreciate it.

3) Wine Glasses and Decanters

Good glassware isn’t cheap and cheap glassware isn’t good. In general for wine lovers glassware is a highly personal item that they like to pick out, if it’s for a newer wine lover though or a wine lover who has just never bought themselves decent glassware it can be a great gift if you’re prepared to spend a little more. If you know someone likes a particular type of glass then absolutely go for it. If you want to get them their first set of decent wine glasses go with something relatively plain looking but made from thin, high quality materials. The major producers such as Riedel, Spiegelau, and Schott Zwiesel can often be found on special for decent prices if you look around and are truly great glasses. As for decanters you are best to use your judgement of the person, if they already have a ton, it’s probably best to take a miss, if they don’t have one go for it. Decanters are less specific, they come in all shapes and sizes, but unless the person really likes the style, it’s probably best to choose something not overly ornate.