In my wee little days I would spend hours carefully turning pages in the newly-arrived Sears catalog toy section. I wanted Santa to know my favorite space ships, games or transport devices.
From this season's catalog collections of glossy photos and prices flooding my mailbox, I randomly chose the Wine Enthusiast Holiday Catalog to hunt for gift ideas for my wine friends.
Thumbing through, I've always liked the heavy bar-mounted bronze corkscrew ($75) that works like a Screwpull. You can yank a cork in record time - perfect for multi-bottle parties, but unfortunately beyond the aptitude of most casual drinkers I've encountered.
The Santas in barrels ($100) or reindeer balancing tilted bottles of wine don't do much for me. Neither do cork wreath or trivet kits. You can take your hot glue gun and make your own for free.
Designer style wine fridges, on the other hand, always make me stop and stare. One model has two temperature zones, where you could load 8 bottles of white wines set to 46 degrees and 16 reds at 63 degrees, ideal serving temps. I shove the credit card back into my wallet when I consider how many bottles of wine I could buy with $300.
The Fusion decanter ($50) has a nice form and can really bring a wine quickly to its full potential with better exposure to air, but I can do the same with a cheap plastic beer pitcher.
I'd avoid giving 3" Diamond Decanter Stoppers ($20), aerators ($20) or Clef du Vin instant wine agers ($100), unless you know your wine geek recipient is the kind of person who will enjoy spending days figuring them out.
A set of 4 nice wine glasses ($50) is always a good idea, especially if you've seen fat-rimmed wide-mouthed glasses in your friend's cabinet. I'd recommend visiting a winery like Lucas and see if they will sell you a set of their Bordeaux-style http://www.spiegelau.com/" target="_blank">Spiegelau stems - a gift that also advertises our home town.
Better yet, why not just head out to one of the many sales going on in Lodi tasting rooms and pick up a mixed case of the real McCoys, tie on bows for 12 of your friends, and let the goodness of Lodi speak for itself!