[Editor’s note: As much as we think that a membership to a wine club is the ultimate wine gift, we realize that sometimes it’s necessary to give something else to your favorite wine lover. We thought we’d help out by publishing a series of posts with other ideas that make great wine gifts. We hope you enjoy this series.]
As the holidays approach you may be starting to ask: “What would be a good gift for the wine lover in my life?” A wine decanter is always appreciated: it can be both functional and beautiful. Wine decanters don’t need to be expensive, though they certainly can be. One can often find a good deal on more expensive decanters if you are willing to spend a little time searching the web for deals.
Why would someone want or need a decanter? There are several answers to this question. First, a decanter can be handy if one is drinking older (and even some younger) wines that have sediment in the bottle. Pouring the wine into a decanter gives you a chance to leave the less-palatable stuff in the bottle instead of ending up with it in your glass. Second, younger wines may taste better when exposed to air. This is true of “age-worthy” wines that are drunk early in their evolution. Pouring the wine into the decanter results in the wine opening up more quickly than it would if just poured into the glass.
Third, wine decanters can be beautiful as well as functional. There is a decanter designed to everyone’s taste: traditional cut-glass; simple and functional; modern and delicate. You can find exactly what you are looking for if you are willing to spend some time searching the web.
We went shopping for wine decanters recently and were amazed both by the variety of products as well as the places
they are sold. We found them in discount stores, upscale department stores, specialty stores and online wine accessory sites. You can find decanters for under $30 (and less) to well over $500 . There is no difference in these products from a practical point of view although you may think the wine is better when poured from a beautiful, cut-crystal work of art.
We did some comparison shopping for two potential gifts: a Sutherton Gorham that retails around $80 and a Riedel Ultra Magnum that retails around $300. There was very little difference in the price charged by the online retailers carrying the Sutherton. Target, Amazon, Lenox, Bed Bath & Beyond and several others all charged within pennies of $79.99 with free shipping included. TheBowlCompany.com charged only $71.96 but you paid $5.99 for shipping so you only saved $2 if you bought from them.
Sometimes the shopping experience can be a little more confusing. At first we thought we had discovered a real bargain on the Riedel Ultra Magnum decanter – several retailers were charging almost $300 while others were charging less than $240! It turns out there are two sizes of this decanter (though retailers don’t differentiate clearly between the two).
Don’t know what kind of wine decanter your wine lover might like? Go to a website like Pronto.com to get a good overview of the various decanters that are available. You’ll see all shape, sizes and price points. The variety is striking.
The bottom line: Once you decide which wine decanter you want to give you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a good deal.