Gift guide 2023

jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon glassware with red wine being swirled in it.

What do you get the wine lover who already has more wine than they can drink? Our experts offer options.

While we wish everyone might give the gift of a membership to, we realise that its often nice to have something that can been wrapped up and held in the hands. Things – actual physical things – can not only be more permanent reminders of your ties to the recipient, but also offer a relieving reprieve from our very online days.

With that in mind, we have a 3.2-kg suggestion: the new, 5th edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine is the most up-to-date and complete wine-reference work on the market, with 4,100 entries that should keep any wine lover informed and amused for years. Wed be happy to send you a signed bookplate to add to the book, or order a copy with a bookplate from Kitchen Arts & Letters in NYC or Books for Cooks in Melbourne.

Bullipedia Wine volumes

Also see the list of books we've reviewed this year, and check out those our trusted contributors have penned: Max recently released Alternative Reality, a fascinating history of the rise of varietal diversity in Australia (find some back story in McLaren Vale’s alternative reality), and the first two volumes of Ferrans massive Bullipedia series on wine (shown above in its entirely) are now available in English.

And what’s a book without a nice glass of wine to curl up with? Jancis’s glasses (shown at top) make an elegant and extremely useful gift.

We also asked our team what’s on their list this year. Many repeated their wishes from last year – a sure sign that the best gifts are perennial favourites – but others offered new options. Read on for ideas.

Jancis can never have enough champagne stoppers (uderstandable given the 148 sparkling wines reviewed last Friday) – ‘preferably the ones sold by The Finest Bubble, online specialists in sparkling wines here in London, which really do retain the fizz much more effectively than any other’, she advises.

Durand corkscrew opening an old bottle of wine

Julia treated herself to a Durand corkscrew last year and hasn’t regretted it for a second, as there’s no cork too fragile for this tool.

Tam, our resident food maven, would really like a few Vinotemp thermoelectric open wine coolers – ‘two two-bottle coolers so I can have the white wines in one and the red wines in the other, and a champagne cooler.’ They’re handy when you’re entertaining and the fridge is overstuffed or you’re feasting outside on a hot day.

A stylized photo of rosé wine bottles

Tara would like to splash all her walls with the art of David Sawyer. A former fashion photographer who worked as sommelier for Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, and Lilia in Brooklyn, NY, Sawyer has turned his camera to food and wine to spectacular effect.

Tim points out that Coravin capsules and replacement needles are a terrific present for anyone with a Coravin; for those who don’t, a Coravin would be a fine gift.

Masnaghetti's Barolo MGM, 3rd ed

Walter promises that Alessandro Masnaghetti’s just-published 3rd and completely revised edition of Barolo MGA Vol 1: The encyclopedia of the great vineyards of Barolo is worth every centesimo, even for those who own the 2018 version. All the maps have been completely overhauled, ‘with a degree of detail I hadn’t considered possible’, Walter says, especially in Bussia, which has been given separate maps of each of its historic plots. ‘The most significant addition, however, is that each map now contains the names of producers, showing a fascinating mosaic of properties and who is neighbour to whom.’ It's available at and in the US through The Rare Wine Co.

Richard proposes a microfibre polishing cloth, but not just any one. As he explains, there are several important factors to consider. Firstly, the sheet must be large enough to cover one hand that holds the outside of the bowl while the other polishes the inside. Secondly, the microfibre itself needs to be particularly fine – in my experience, supermarket versions are rarely up to scratch, so to speak.’ He recommends those at Winerackd as well as Final Touchthe 67 Pall Mall somm-team favourite. 

Brian Hirst glass wine decanter

Max covets the beautifully chunky, one-off, hand-moulded, individually signed decanters from Sydney glass artist Brian Hirst.

Ali told a tragic story last year about ruining a lovely bottle of 1982 Léoville-Barton by pouring it into a bleach-tainted decanter. To save himself and anyone else from such an experience, he suggests gifting bottle-cleaner beads. ‘They are cheap, effective and also look a little bit like tiny little Christmas baubles’, he says. He uses Riedel, but Magic Balls also work well. 

Sams suggestion can also save friends from tragic wine accidents. She can tell you from experience that pulling socks onto bottles of wine, then wrapping them in pants and stuffing them into small plastic trash bags will not keep wine from soaking your luggage should the bottle break in transit. VinGardeValise suitcases are hard-sided and have foam inserts to accommodate a dozen bottles and still meet weight standards.

a hardcover cellarbook in black

Matthew delights in a well-made cellar book, especially one with ‘spaces for with whom the wines were shared. He suggests a leather-bound book from the Stamford Notebook Company, or Smythson's lovely hardcover version. (He remains on the lookout for a Georgian decanting funnel: ‘so soothing watching that juicy goodness flow down the sides of the decanter’.)

Ferran believes that a bottle opened with a Laguiole corkscrew tastes better. ‘Their tools are functional, but they have the aura of a luxury object, of a jewel’, he explains, especially when they’ve been personalised.

Code 38 Titanium corkscrew

Alder covets a Code 38 corkscrew. ‘They are outrageously expensive but, like a Maserati, it’s not really about the price now, is it?’ Made of machined aerospace-grade titanium, a 440 carbon-steel knife blade and powdered PVD titanium coating on the helix, it’s the most highly engineered, precision-made corkscrew available.

Andy credits drip stoppers with maintaining marital harmony in his household, though he allows that a stock of high-quality white tablecloths is also handy in case of wayward red-wine dribbles. If you’d like to get a little fancy, DropStop can personalise their non-drop pourers.

The Zalto Denk'Art 75 is slim enough to fit in the door of the fridge.

James sings the praises of a white-wine decanter narrow enough to fit into the fridge door. He suggests Zalto Denk’Art No 75 (shown above and available here in Europe and here in the US) or Jancis's water carafe.

Tom traded in liquid chalk for wine charms after he achieved his MW and has found them invaluable for keeping track of glasses whenever there are numerous around. They are widely available in a range of designs and some outfits will customise them.

Handle-less French cider bowl from Flotsam and Fork in the US.

Paula likes to introduce people to the ‘no-airs, grounding sensation’ of a handle-less stone Breton bolée for drinking cider – a traditional drink in her home state of New Hampshire. She recommends those at L’Atelier des Créateurs, or, in the US, Flotsam and Fork (shown above).

Nick always appreciates a new red foil-cutter.

And his wish from last December still stands: ‘What I would really, really like is an end to war. Please arrange soonest.’