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Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2006 10:00 pm

With Lodi being the Central Valley's wine center, Santa can visit some local wineries, pick up some unusual items and slide down the chimney with them at your friends' and love ones' homes.

At least two Lodi-area wineries allow you to have a wine label with your own personal stamp on it.

At d'Art Winery on Curry Avenue, you can take an empty bottle, fill it with Clarksburg Petite Sirah, use a machine to insert a cork into it and put d'Art's wine label on it. The catch is that you can write or sign your own name on the bottle to impress your friends and family.

Vino Con Brio on Harney Lane does the work for you, but it has a little more personal stamp. You can select your own holiday greeting and even give the winery staff a photo of yourself to actually scan onto the bottle.

The personal photo and inscription is popular among businesses sending gifts out of state, said Wendy Kurimoto, a tasting room helper at Vino Con Brio.

"I've been wanting to do this for family and friends," Modesto resident Heather Klynstra said as she and her husband, Larry Vieira, bought a case of 12 bottles of wine and two personally labeled bottles of olive oil at d'Art Winery.

Former Lodi resident Lisa Teresi-Burcham, who now lives in Woodbridge, Va., was amazed how her old hometown has blossomed in the wine industry since she moved away in the late 1980s.

"Lodi has gotten awfully cosmopolitan," Teresi-Burcham said as she put her personal stamp on her wine label of Petite Sirah at d'Art. "I can see people actually come here to go wine tasting."

Other gifts available at local wineries include napkins with the inscription, "Forgive me, for I have zinned" and "I love to cook with wine. Sometimes I'll even put it in the food."

D'Art also has an apron with the inscription, "I'm not getting older. I'm just becoming more complex."

Vino Con Brio has bibs for babies that say "Mommy needs wine" and "Daddy needs wine." The winery also has "mystery bags" for $8.

Another east Lodi winery, Harmony Wynelands, offers a package of a dessert wine called "Zinsation," wine-lovers' chocolate and a candle with a wine fragrance. Another unusual gift idea there is a cork opener with a carbon dioxide cartridge that requires none of the usual pulling, twisting or pumping.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

Wine-related gifts

You can also get unusual gifts online for the wine lover on your Christmas list. Among them:
• A card game called VitiVini, which educates you on wine regions, history, how to make wine and how to pair a particular wine with food.
The catch is, the only stores in which the game is available are in New York City and Raleigh, N.C. A better bet might be online, at http://www.vitivini.com.
• Oak Barrel Winecraft, for those who want to try their hand at winemaking. This Web site has the equipment you need to make wine, such as stainless tanks to grape crushers and something to remove stems. The store is at 1443 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, or online at http://www.oakbarrel.com.
• For the person on your list who needs an extravagant cork screw, try The Versailles Collection, with handcrafted oak from France that is 324 years old. The tree that generated the cork screw handle was planted by the gardener for King Louis XIV. Other cork screws from the Versailles Collection are available. For information, go to http://www.customcurling.com.
• A method to carefully peel off the wine label from the bottom. For more information, go to http://www.wineenthusiast.com.
Source: News-Sentinel staff

First published: Monday, December 11, 2006

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