Choosing Wine for a Hostess Gift

Beverages, Drink, Learn, Tips & Techniques, Wine

This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma associate Steven Lauer.


During my college days, there were times when I felt compelled to make up for a mediocre writing project by putting it in one of those elaborate plastic folders with the clear front. The hope was that I would dazzle the professor with my panache and attention to detail, and that this $5 investment would move my C paper to a B+ or beyond! Alas, this strategy didn’t work very often.


And overdone presentations of wine gifts don’t work either! Don’t give a so-so wine to your host or hostess in a fancy velvet bag with a gold drawstring. Much better to show up with a delicious, drinkable wine.



Remember: A hostess gift is just that – a gift for the hostess (or host). Don’t assume that the wine you bring will be served. If you’re going to a dinner party and want to bring wine, spend your time and treasures focusing on the type of wine the host/hostess likes. Or better yet, focus on what type of food will be served and pair your wine gift accordingly.


So, what makes for some good wine-giving guidelines, and what wine makes for a good gift?



Don’t spend to impress.

Anyone with the means can go to a wine store and pick up an expensive bottle. Most folks think just because a wine is over $100, it MUST be fabulous, but so many better wines can be had for a fraction of the price. If your host/hostess is a red wine drinker and is hosting a dinner party that screams for red wine, try going with Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel. Seghesio’s Zinfandels pair well with a variety of meats, barbecue and spicy cuisine, and they’re widely available at most wine shops and even your local grocer.



Think about the occasion.

Is it a themed celebration? For example, if the theme of the dinner is Spanish tapas, you may want to opt for one of the many fine Spanish wines offered through Williams-Sonoma’s Wine Club. The Vall Sanzo Tempranillo works very well with paella a la valenciana or grilled meats.


Consider the tastes of your host/hostess.

Are they wine lovers or do they drink beer? If they do not drink alcohol at all, bring a dessert or flowers instead. If you know they like wine, but don’t know if they prefer red or white, get one of each, and make it more interesting by selecting a white and a red from the same winery. Or, take note of where they have traveled recently – or where they want to go – and mention to your local wine merchant that you’d like one or two examples of that region’s varietals.


If you do decide on a white or sparkling wine, you may want to consider chilling it before arriving at the event. That way, you give your host/hostess the flexibility of serving it or saving it for later.


Whatever you do, save the money you’d spend on a fancy bag and put that $5 to $10 toward a better bottle!


Do you have other suggestions for great hostess/host wine gifts? Please let us know in the comments!


About the author: Steven works in Williams-Sonoma’s corporate training department. He is a self-described refugee of the American Midwest who came to the Bay Area for work and has since fallen in love with the hearty red wines of Sonoma Valley. Steven balances his wine vices with mountain biking and running in California’s Marin County.

5 comments about “Choosing Wine for a Hostess Gift

  1. Dee

    Hands down, the wine I have given that gets the most appreciation is Layer Cake Shiraz.

  2. Dee

    Also, Bookwalter Subplot is one of my favorite all-purpose reds. And if they are not red wine folks (and especially in the summer) a Chateau Ste-Michele Reisling is never a bad bet, in my humble opinion.

  3. Kitty

    Trefethen Double T is a solid, reasonable priced wine, about $25. For a more expensive onem try any of the Nickel & Nickel single varietal wine. They are all amazing!

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