Christmas is the time of giving. The time of get togethers and the time when everyone says “we must get a drink”. So with that in mind, I’ve put together a Christmas Gift Guide which includes some wonderful picks for those who enjoy clinking a glass.
Top of my list is the Wine Explorers Club from Wines Direct. I’ve been studying my WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits and joined the club back in September. Set up is simple. Go to the website here and choose your preferred style, red, white or mixed and the subscription level that best fits your pocket. They offer three tiers which are €69, €89 and €109 per month. The Wines Direct team will then pick six bottles and send them direct to your door, delivery included. What’s more, with your first delivery you will get your Wine Explorers Club binder and tasting notes for every wine. You can opt in our out anytime. Now who doesn’t want wine delivered to their door as a Christmas present?
Ps they have a wine bar open in Arnotts for the festive period with glass from €4.
Sticking with wine next up I have Premier Wine Training. Run by Maureen O’Hara (not The Quiet Man one), it’s the finest of wine training services. Whether you want to go in-depth with a full WSET program or simply dip your toe in the water with a food and wine pairing class, Maureen has you covered. The costs of course vary but gift vouchers are available in varying amounts to put towards a course. Now that’s a stocking filler I’d be happy to have. I should say I have completed by level two WSET with Maureen and thoroughly enjoyed it. My eyes are firmly set on level three now.
I spotted the World of Wine Game on Twitter during the week. The wonderful Gaby who writes for The Taste highlighted it. The clue is of course in the name, it’s a game all about wine. Test you knowledge, further your knowledge or use it to discover new wines before a trip to the off licence. It’s available for in and around €70 (plus shipping) depending on exchange rates. I’m totally standing by calling this an educational tool which you can play with a glass of wine.
Now every wine drinker worth their salt knows that the folks at Ely have an impressive range of wines by the bottle, by the glass, and for Christmas, by the hamper. They also have an incredibly knowledgeable and charismatic sommelier called Ian Brosnan on site to guide your taste buds. Ely is a firm favourite of mine I must admit. To focus on the gift selection for a moment, I can confirm prices kick off at €29 so there is something for every pocket. Outside of that they have numerous wine tasting courses/classes throughout the year as well as the Ely Big Tasting and of course they will also feed you. Gift vouchers are of course available if you are struggling to choose what to get that special someone. The gift selection can be found here.
Yes there is clearly a wine theme running through this guide. Now with so many wine related gift options to choose from, it would be remiss of me not to include something to drink from. The esteemed gentleman of wine, Liam Campbell has teamed up with Tipperary Crystal this year for an exciting collaboration. Liam is wine writer, member of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers and an approved WSET educator. Together the duo have created the Connoisseur Crystal Glassware Collection. It’s every wine lovers dream and prices start at €20. You can buy direct from Tipperary Crystal and also from Arnotts in Dublin and O’Briens off-licences.
Now, not everyone is home for Christmas. I’ll be spending it in the sun in Lanzarote for a 4th year running. I just love a bit of winter sun on my bones and of course an annoying selfie by the pool. There will however be plenty of people flying in and out of the country over the festive period and these two Irish favourites are available in The Loop Duty Free. So whether its last-minute shopping or bagging a bargain at the airport the folks at The Loop can help you out.
This Guinness limited edition 1798 double extra stout comes in a 75cl bottle for €20. It pays tribute to the original Old Vat House built-in 1798. Its gift boxed and is bound to please any recipient whether they live at home or abroad.
Exclusively available at The Loop this Glendalough porter barrel 10-year-old Irish Whiskey will be yours for €46 (duty-free) or €58 (duty paid). This is certainly one to share around the fire with the family.
If you are in the airport, which I will be quite soon, pop along to The Wine Goose Chase. A specifically curated wine selection, all of which have a link back to Irish Immigrants who have influenced wineries across the world. The engaging part tasting, part theatre that is the Wine Goose Chase Show is also run by the wonderful Susan Boyle and well worth checking out.
Remember there are of course restrictions on what you can buy, and the prices you can avail of depending on where you are flying. You will find all you need to know in advance right here.