Gifts that will bring cheer to wine-lovers

WHAT to buy for the wine-lover who has everything? A bottle of something special, unique or off-beat is always a great idea, but here are some other non-liquid options:

In the book department, Platter’s South African Wine Guide is always welcome and the 2014 edition has re-introduced brandy and sherry ratings too.

For the gourmet braai nut, Braai Masters of the Cape Winelands is a journey through 30-odd wine estates with interesting and unusual recipes, braai secrets and wine pairing suggestions from the likes of Jan “Boland” Coetzee and Schalk Burger.

Foodies will also enjoy The Food & Wine Pairing Guide which is exactly that – a handy, accessible, South African directory of dishes with wine recommendations, notes on cooking with wine, and explanations of wine styles and grape varieties and why certain wines are good matches for specific foods.

A wine aerator is a great gift for the budding connoisseur. Introducing air to wine, especially a young red, softens the tannins and mimics the aging process. Those in the know say aerators enhance the bouquet and flavours of wine and help it to a smooth finish. They can be as simple as a pourer-type gadget that fits to the top of the bottle or incorporated into a beautiful decanter.

Other handy gadgets include champagne stoppers, wine glass markers for those who forget which glass is theirs, wine thermometers and designer corkscrews.

For the DIY enthusiast, how about something completely different? Garagiste winemaking – that is home-based production of wine from 20kg to a ton or two of grapes – is a growing trend around the world and in South Africa.

Sign your wine-lover up for the next garagiste wine-making course (R3200) presented by Stellenbosch University from February 7 to 9 2014 and look forward to enjoying some home brew.

This is the last Vine Time for the year, and so time to wish all readers a relaxed and happy festive season accompanied, of course, by the fruits of the vine. Be safe out there – don’t drink and drive, and remember, life’s too short to drink bad wine!

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