Whether it’s gifting a bottle of wine during the holidays or just a run-of-the-mill social gathering, having the confidence to show up with the right wine can be a stressful situation for us all. The following tips just may make you look like the hero at your next social function or party.
Wines to Bring for Various Celebrations
Celebratory get-togethers usually bring out the same kind of wine across the board, bubbles. I couldn’t agree more here. However, there are different kinds of bubbles to bring for a specific celebration.
Baby & Wedding Showers
Keep these events simple with a bottle of prosecco. Showers generally take place with a late morning brunch or lunch setting. People are always adding orange juice, grapefruit juice, or some sort of fruit juice to the bubbles so there is no need to break open a high-end Champagne when you will just be adding mixers. We’ve got a number of recipe ideas if Champagne cocktails are your thing.
Job Promotions & Good News
Most likely you are celebrating these moments after work with colleagues or at dinner with a significant other. Here’s the time to break out something nice, but not crazy. If you are lucky, good news can come your way quite often. In my world, sometimes just making it to the weekend is good enough news for me to break out the bubbles. This could get costly if you go crazy every time. Stick to quality domestic bubbles from California. Roederer Estate makes a delicious sparkler that won’t break the bank.
Birthday & Anniversary
This is the type of celebration where you will want to splurge on. These events happen once a year and as you get older you start to realize how few you have left. You can’t take it with you, so you might as well share some of the top sparkling wines of the world, which brings us to Champagne. If you’re looking to impress someone stick with the mainstream producers like Dom Perignon and Krug. If you want to have quality just as good at a fraction on the price check out a grower-producer such as Egly–Ouriet. If money is no object, check out the Champs from Jacques Selosse, jaw-dropping good.
I’m going to break this down into two sections. The first one will be at a work function where you are the boss, the second will be when your boss is there.
You’re the Boss
Too many times I’ve done events for companies and the boss says something along the lines of, ‘This is a work thing, it doesn’t matter’ or ‘I’m the boss, they’ll be happy with anything.’ Almost every one of these events never turns out to be an amazing event. If you are going to throw an event or gathering, why not make it the best you can make it? Every detail truly matters, even the wine selection. This is where I recommend talking to the restaurant’s Somm or the wine specialist at the retail shop. Simply tell them your price point and say, “I’d like the best bang for my buck.” Usually, their number one priority should be retaining your business so they have all the interest in the world to make you happy, and in turn, your employees are happy. Happy employees, happy business.
Your Boss is There
This can be tricky and horribly stressful. It is your boss. It needs to be perfect, and I agree. However, there is a strategy to this as well. Assuming you know your boss to some degree, knowing what he/ she usually drinks is key. Don’t bring a bottle of Dom Perignon if you’ve never seen them drink Champagne. If they are always drinking red wine, then bring red wine. If they’re always drinking scotch, bring scotch. But since I’m a wine guy, I’ll stick with wine. Your first intuition is probably to bring them the best bottle you have and/or can afford. This is a mistake. You want to be careful not to bring something too good otherwise the boss will probably question how much they are paying you. You obviously can’t bring something basic either, however, try something that is thoughtful and good. Good, not great.
For example, I once worked for a man with the last name Burgess. I didn’t even know if he liked wine at the time, but I knew of a winery called Burgess Cellars. At the time, they had Cabernet for around $40. I would normally think it wasn’t good enough, but the sentimental value of the name made up for it. The week of Christmas I walked into his office with this gift (there were tons of gifts everywhere- think Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold drops of his gift to his boss who doesn’t even know his name) and before the bottle even left my hands he lit up like a Christmas tree. He told me all about how he’s been there and talked about wine for about 20-minutes. My longest conversation previously with him was about 45-seconds. Note: this was a non-wine-related industry.
So, do some homework before bringing wine in front of the boss. Something thought-provoking is the way to go. Show you care.
Gifting wines these days is becoming very popular. Weddings provide an amazing opportunity to give a gift that can have sustained additional value in the future. Often times in lieu of a check I may gift a bottle of Opus One. I make sure to include a note that says, “Don’t drink until your tenth anniversary, the wine won’t be ready until then anyway.” Over the next ten years, the couple can show off their trophy wine, remembering you and the day they got married. And if the worst happens with a divorce, they can sell the wine for a lot more money and split the profits. But let’s hope they are toasting with it in a decade while remembering what a great friend you are to them.
Your Safety Net
Hopefully, you found the above tips helpful. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty darn simple. When in doubt, bring whatever wine you love to whatever occasion you go to. Your confidence, love, and passion for it will radiate amongst everyone partaking. As long as everyone is happy, that’s all that really matters.
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