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Wine-Giving Etiquette

November 17th, 2009

wine gift bagsWrapping gifts typically serves two purposes. You are enhancing the presentation and you are concealing the gift. That’s not the case when wrapping a wine bottle. The occasion and the size and shape of the gift make it fairly obvious that it’s a bottle of wine, so presentation is the main purpose. Our fabric wine gift bags are a great thing to have on hand for when you get a last minute invitation to a dinner party.

I just finished reading a detailed article in the Seattle Times on the topic of how to be a good host and a good guest. According to the author, many of us grew up in an age when people played fast and loose with social etiquette, but things have recently swung back.

Even if you think you know all the rules, it’s probably a good idea to see what the experts are saying. I’ve looked around for some tips related to giving wine as a gift and here is what I found.

  • Harry James Desmet-Bacon is a wine consultant at Beltramo’s Wine and Spirits . He says that a nicely wrapped bottle is code for ‘This is a gift, save it for later.’
  • Peter Post, the director of the Emily Post Institute in Vermont, says that a thank-you note is appropriate if the wine is unwrapped outside the presence of the person who gave it. A more casual verbal thank-you is fine if it is unwrapped at the party.
  • Bill Ward advises that if you bring wine as a host gift, do not expect it to be consumed at the party.
  • Amy Corron Power says that you should NEVER offer or ask for leftover wine to take home.

Our fabric wine gift bags are meant to be ‘re-gifted’ but what about the wine bottles themselves?

Amy cautions that white wines deteriorate over time, especially if they haven’t been stored well. She would only consider re-gifting a wine that has value and character. I think her basic sentiment is that she may know that a unique gift that she has received would have special appeal to someone else.

I am not an expert, but I will offer the suggestion that you look for a wine that is produced in your region of the world. If your host is eco-conscious, they will appreciate the reduced carbon footprint. There are also some good organic wines on the market these days.

Sources:

SFGate

Seattle Times

Another Wine Blog

kat Wine Gift Bags