Author Topic: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift  (Read 8497 times)

OSUBearCub

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Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« on: December 04, 2014, 02:39:26 PM »
I've been invited to three holiday parties and expect two more invitations to roll in before the season is done. 

- I don't show up to parties empty-handed because I think it's a bit rude
- Cookies and hand-made gifts are out
- Wine is the traditional hostess gift to bring in my circles
- None of the hosts is any sort of collector or true connoisseur of wine
- These gifts were planned and budgeted into my holiday gift budget
- The hosts of each event will probably spend about $20 per guest

Prior to getting serious about my early retirement goals, I'd spend $25 on a bottle to give to the host.  Now I'm looking more in the $10 rage.  My grocery store has an awesome wine section with a dedicated buyer who knows her stuff and hand-selects the specials.  There's a pretty good wine on sale for $8 right now.  Is $8 for a decent, very drinkable wine suitable as a hostess gift? 

Fodder

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 03:02:00 PM »
Personally, I think it's a bit on the cheap side, but it does depend on your financial situation.  If a struggling student brought an $8 wine, that would be very generous of them.  But if a software engineer making $100k+/year brings one, when someone is spending quite a bit of time, energy and money to host them....I'm not saying it's terrible by any means....but there's that line between frugal and cheap and this is cutting a bit close.  I don't know your situation, so I don't know where you fall on this.  :D

I'd look at the $15ish bottles.....very nice ones to be had in that range.

Mind you, keep in mind that I'm in Canada, and the absolutely cheapest bottle of wine sold in my liquor store is $8.

CommonCents

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 03:09:20 PM »
Drinkable is a very relative term.  I have friends that wouldn't notice a $10 from $50 bottle of wine.  I have friends who would.  You may have that similar spread, even if they aren't a collector or true connoisseur of wine. 

If you buy a bottle of wine from a big producer, they'll know roughly what you spent.  Does this bother you?  If so, try for a small winery.

What is the original price of the wine?  Is it red (tends to be more expensive, so a cheaper bottle may not taste as good as a similary priced white) or white?  Me, I'd probably try to get a $15 bottle of wine on sale for $10-12 as a gift rather than a $10 one for $8.  I personally tend to think there is often a taste distinction between those price levels.  (I drink cheaper wine than I share with others usually though.)  That said...

If this is the traditional gift, they may not register what you gave versus someone else.  (As a side note, would this bother you?  If so, bring something else.  Try flowers, potted or cut.  Few people bring them, but they are always welcome.  Or bring something like cheese or a box of chocolates.  Good prices on those things at Trader Joe's often.)

Villanelle

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 03:19:40 PM »
I think it depends on how into wine the person is.  Personally, I'd go to the grocery store and buy whatever they have on super discount special that week, getting a $15 for $8 or $10.  This shouldn't be too hard to find, especially if you aren't looking for a specific varietal. 

gimp

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2014, 03:26:02 PM »
If you know what you're looking for, $15 is plenty. If you don't, $25 is more likely to get a good bottle. I don't like to be cheap on stuff like this (but then, I usually hang out with friends and bring cheap stuff because there's no need to impress and I know their tastes.)

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2014, 03:29:25 PM »
Totally depends on your social circle and if the person is super into wine or not. For pretty much all of my friends, an inexpensive but tasty bottle would be perfectly welcome (although several of them would prefer a bomber of fancy beer, LOL). Personally I would have no idea how to look at a bottle of wine and know if it cost $8 or $25.

Guses

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 03:33:45 PM »
Price and quality is very very very poorly correlated in wine. I have tasted 5$ that was great and 25$ that I was not able to finish a glass (and it was not corked).

I would second the idea to go with a good but inexpensive bottle form a local or smaller winery. Of course, taste test it first!

OSUBearCub

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 03:45:54 PM »
Some updates:

1. Orlando, Florida has a dismal local wine scene - boutique options don't exist ha ha
2. The wine in question is one I've enjoyed but as CommonCents noted, I too drink cheaper wine at home - my pallet might be a little warped

The grocery (Winn-Dixie) gives a 10% discount on all bottles when you purchase 4.  I'm leaning toward snapping up the bargain wine for myself and then trying to get a little creative in the $15 category (before discount).  I'm sure I can find an interesting Chilean rioja or maybe a prosecco.  That nicely splits the difference in price points at $13.50 a bottle and widens the options.

Alenzia

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 04:27:48 PM »
I'm sure people who know about wine will disagree with me, but for a <$10 bottle, I like the Rex Goliath brand quite a bit - we even blind tested it with people and they couldn't tell the difference in quality between that and the $20-30 bottles. But again, it depends on how much your hostess cares about that stuff.

tracylayton

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 04:38:19 PM »
I think $8 to $10 for a bottle that comes well recommended is fine...go for it!

fartface

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 05:08:37 PM »
Menage a Trois red wine is my absolute FAVORITE.

Sells at my local Costco for $8/bottle and I prefer it over most brands. It's around $10/bottle at Target.




Alenzia

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 05:16:58 PM »
Menage a Trois red wine is my absolute FAVORITE.

Sells at my local Costco for $8/bottle and I prefer it over most brands. It's around $10/bottle at Target.

I'll second that recommendation!

TN_Steve

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2014, 05:26:59 PM »
...

The grocery (Winn-Dixie) gives a 10% discount on all bottles when you purchase 4.  I'm leaning toward snapping up the bargain wine for myself and then trying to get a little creative in the $15 category (before discount).  I'm sure I can find an interesting Chilean rioja or maybe a prosecco.  That nicely splits the difference in price points at $13.50 a bottle and widens the options.

Wines are our extreme exception to frugal living.  That being said, Argentine wines (reds in particular) present some outstanding bang for your buck.  Maybe the best around.  You are looking in the right place--and not many people are familiar with these wines, so the gift is even nicer.  If they have it in stock at your price point (it teeters on the edge), take a look at Clos de los Siete from any year. 

EDIT:  Brain Cramp originally had "Chilean Wines" rather than Argentine.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 06:51:36 PM by TN_Steve »

midweststache

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2014, 06:28:31 AM »
Some stores do mass alcohol purchases with a percentage off. For instance, the Dominick's in our area gives you a 10% discount if you buy six (6) bottles of wine/liquor. If you happen to end up with a sixth invite, this could be a good idea (or use the sixth one as a gift for a family member/friend). Of course, if you only NEED to buy five bottles the discount doesn't really help...

I will second the South American wines suggestion--good quality at reasonable prices. When we drank wine on the regular (pre-MMM) our table wine was Alamos Malbec, which ran about $12.99 at our local grocery store. I still think it's the perfect sub-$20 red.

boarder42

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2014, 06:40:17 AM »
so brain games did a study on this.  They had people who thought they were wine "Experts" Drooling over Franzia they put in an expensive bottle and appalled by the 100 dollar wine they put in a cheap looking bottle.  Wine is a head game.  a drinkable 8 dollar wine is good IMO

Goldielocks

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2014, 07:22:36 AM »
I've been invited to three holiday parties and expect two more invitations to roll in before the season is done. 

- I don't show up to parties empty-handed because I think it's a bit rude
- Cookies and hand-made gifts are out
- Wine is the traditional hostess gift to bring in my circles
- None of the hosts is any sort of collector or true connoisseur of wine
- These gifts were planned and budgeted into my holiday gift budget
- The hosts of each event will probably spend about $20 per guest

Prior to getting serious about my early retirement goals, I'd spend $25 on a bottle to give to the host.  Now I'm looking more in the $10 rage.  My grocery store has an awesome wine section with a dedicated buyer who knows her stuff and hand-selects the specials.  There's a pretty good wine on sale for $8 right now.  Is $8 for a decent, very drinkable wine suitable as a hostess gift?

Absolutely/!  That $8 bottle is a $15 bottle here.
Many parties they just go into a large pile for the host.  This is not about how much they spent on you.. If it is an uncommon label they won't know the price anyway.

Don't give homemade wine, some people have an aversion, because some homemade wine us not very good and it looks cheap.

I have a non drinking friend that gives a pretty box or basket of oranges. 
I have given houseplants too.

Guses

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2014, 10:14:52 AM »
Don't give homemade wine, some people have an aversion, because some homemade wine us not very good and it looks cheap.

Don't give store bought wine, some people have an aversion, because some store bought wine is not very good and it looks snobbish.

Seriously, you can make some pretty awesome wine at home because, you know, you can follow the exact same process that a winery does without the incentive to turn a profit at a bottom price point (i.e., taking shortcuts).

Do you also insist on your host providing you with store bought food because homemade is sometimes not good and looks cheap?

CommonCents

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2014, 10:29:50 AM »
Don't give homemade wine, some people have an aversion, because some homemade wine us not very good and it looks cheap.

Don't give store bought wine, some people have an aversion, because some store bought wine is not very good and it looks snobbish.

Seriously, you can make some pretty awesome wine at home because, you know, you can follow the exact same process that a winery does without the incentive to turn a profit at a bottom price point (i.e., taking shortcuts).

Do you also insist on your host providing you with store bought food because homemade is sometimes not good and looks cheap?

I think more the issue with homemade wine might be a skepticism that the maker followed strict sanitary guidelines.  (I say this as I'm in the process of making my first batch - with a "recovering scientist" who is pretty paranoid about sterilizing so I let him do all of it!)

That said, I think one shouldn't turn up one's nose at any gift - but sadly, people do.

TerriM

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2014, 10:33:05 AM »
I second the chocolate suggestion.  You can buy high quality chocolate(s) and just get less to meet your budget.  Wine is one of those things where people tend to judge by the label and price just as much as the actual taste.  Chocolate is less so, and fewer people are chocolate snobs. 

Tea or coffee is another option.

Guses

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2014, 10:36:38 AM »

I think more the issue with homemade wine might be a skepticism that the maker followed strict sanitary guidelines.  (I say this as I'm in the process of making my first batch - with a "recovering scientist" who is pretty paranoid about sterilizing so I let him do all of it!)

That said, I think one shouldn't turn up one's nose at any gift - but sadly, people do.

I get that, but like you say, it is only a perception.

I am sure most people have no qualms about eating whatever the host has prepared without thinking about whether it was prepared sanitarily. The funny thing is that you can't get food poisoning from poorly prepared wine, but you can definitively get it from poorly prepared food.

minimustache1985

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2014, 10:58:41 AM »
I think $8 on sale is fine, it'll likely go into the kitchen with several other bottles your fellow guests bring and not get much attention- as long as it tastes good I don't see a problem with that budget.  Of course, one of my favorite wines is $5 at TJs (a sangiovese with a red label and gold lion on it if you have a TJs) so there's that.

I will third the South American wine rec, Argentina produces some really nice budget reds that your hosts aren't likely to know the label/price of.  I've also enjoyed a number of wines from Washington and Oregon and never come across a bad one, and found anything from the PNW region is a good choice too and generally cheaper than California produced wine.

Goldielocks

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2014, 05:54:53 PM »
Don't give homemade wine, some people have an aversion, because some homemade wine us not very good and it looks cheap.

Don't give store bought wine, some people have an aversion, because some store bought wine is not very good and it looks snobbish.

Seriously, you can make some pretty awesome wine at home because, you know, you can follow the exact same process that a winery does without the incentive to turn a profit at a bottom price point (i.e., taking shortcuts).

Do you also insist on your host providing you with store bought food because homemade is sometimes not good and looks cheap?

Let's just say that I take all the homemade wine my extended family is gifted because they won't drink it.  About one third is good, the rest is OK or a bit yeasty.

At least once they (mil) had an off bottle, eg just bad,  and that put them off forever.  SIL has trouble with yeast.

They do always smile and say nice things, when it is given to them, then we get the wine a few weeks later.  I think this is more common than you think.  Go ahead and serve homemade wine to your guests, that is not what I am referring to, just know it that as a gift, it has a reputation as bad as fruitcake.

With food, we know how to judge it ourselves, look/smell, and unless it is cookies or baked goods, which is pretty hard to mess up, is rarely offered as a gift.  Most of us have had off food.

I do know people that refuse potluck dinners and only bring commercially prepared food to common dinners, too.  The food aversion is much less common than an aversion to homemade wine.

And yes, I make fruitcake too, I just ask if the recipient likes fruitcake,  before I give it as a gift.

Cassie

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2014, 06:03:24 PM »
If you have a
Trader Joes you can usually get a good bottle of wine on sale for around $8.00  They will help you choose a good one too.

Villanelle

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2014, 08:28:44 AM »
I think a homemade gift is fine, as long as it is of decent quality.  Sure, someone might not like it, but that's a risk with any gift one is going to give.  Consider the recipient and as long as you think there's a pretty good chance they aren't anti-homemade, I think it's at least as thoughtful as any other random hostess gift.  I'd be much happier to try someone's homemade wine, even if it wasn't the most amazing drink ever, than I would to get another candle or lotion or many of the other common hostess gifts.  But even when I get another lotion, and I don't like the fragrance so I give it away or donate it, I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of the person who brought me something. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2014, 11:49:02 AM »
Unless you know something specific about their palate, get something YOU enjoy. Price != quality. I've had amazing wines under $10 and abysmal ones which cost over $30. Even harder, what tastes great to some won't to others.

socaso

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2014, 07:59:50 PM »
In our circle of friends we frequently host and I am grateful when any wine/beer is brought at all. In fact I kind of count on it to help with the party since we usually provide all food. I often recognize the wine being brought and I would say the price range is $8-12.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2014, 09:02:43 PM »
If it's a wine people wouldn't recognize as being "a cheap wine"- Franzia, Yellowtail, Barefoot, Charles Shaw, etc. then go for it.

GreenPen

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2014, 10:58:16 PM »
Of course, one of my favorite wines is $5 at TJs (a sangiovese with a red label and gold lion on it if you have a TJs) so there's that.

The wine described here is the Grifone Sangiovese, and it's also my favorite wine under $5. The bottle also has a nice label, so it looks good as a gift. If you are in California, Trader Joe's might carry a Central Coast Chardonnay (on the TJ's label), which is a nice white at about $5.




DCJrMustachian

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2014, 01:02:31 AM »
I like to host and don't drink reds, so usually I use the occasion to re-gift the bottles I end up with.

starbuck

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Re: Holiday Party Season - Wine as a hostess gift
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2014, 06:09:34 AM »
I like to host and don't drink reds, so usually I use the occasion to re-gift the bottles I end up with.

Yup, I re-gift the whites that people bring to my house! I think flowers are also a great idea, and not very common. Trader Joes has a great cut flowers section. Avoid the obvious cheap labels like chucklesmcgee said, and any bottle over 750 ml and I think you're fine.

How about fancy beer instead?