Wine Savvy on July 22, 2013 4 Comments Everyone loves receiving gifts, especially wine-related gifts! Surprising someone with a wine gift basket is a classy way to express gratitude or celebrate a special occasion. Preparing a wine basket is an enjoyable alternative to buying a premade basket at a store. Here’s a few of our favorite ideas for customizing the perfect wine gift basket for the enthusiast, foodie or wine sophisticate in your life. The Basket The first thing you need to do is select a suitable container for your gift basket. You have many options here, and they will all set the theme for your basket. For example, a wicker basket or picnic basket is the perfect fit of outdoor settings, while a large colander is a clever way to present a housewarming gift. source Whatever type of container you choose, it’s always wise to line the bottom of the basket with paper or cloth to give the wine bottles some cushion. Damage to the contents of your gift is the last thing you want to happen. The Wine The next step is key to preparing a wine basket: selecting your wine. If you know the varieties of wine preferred by your recipient, include one bottle of a favorite wine and a second bottle that is new to him or her. If your recipient is new to wine altogether, it is best to avoid more complex wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Choose a wine with low tannin, the textural element that gives wine its dry taste. A soft Merlot, a refreshing Gewurztraminer or a silky Pinot Noir are “safe” options for beginners. If your giftee loves all types of wines and doesn’t have a clear favorite, then we would suggest giving them a wine that is perfect for the current season. Right now we’re in the heat of summer, so we would include a couple bottles of our favorite summer wines that we think your recipient would like. Cheese, Crackers & Other Foods Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food, so your next step for building a great wine gift basket is to select delectable items and nestle them beside the wine bottles. Cheese is a no-brainer. Choose some non-perishable hard cheeses such as Gouda or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Packages of pasta, crackers, nuts, smoked salmon and jars of olives are other fun and tasty options. If you want to include chocolate, try matching a milk chocolate with a Pinot Noir, Riesling or a light-bodied Merlot. Dark chocolate goes best with robust wines like Cabs and Zinfandels. Wine Accessories Finally, add some wine tools and accessories to personalize and complete your gift basket. There are plenty of accessories that will make a great addition to your gift basket. Wine stoppers, charms, aerators, glasses specific to wine type or even a wine journal are perfect items for wine newbies or new homeowners. A blanket and citronella candles naturally accompany a picnic-themed basket. The Final Touches Before presenting your homemade wine gift basket, ensure that all items are cushioned, secure and look great. The contents of the basket do the decorative work for you. However, a bit of twine tied around the neck of a wine bottle or an embroidered dish towel dangling over the side of the basket are effortless ways to add a personalized flourish. Follow these steps for a creative way to bring sensational and memorable experiences to the lucky gift recipient. What are your favorite wine basket ideas? Share them with everybody in the comments below.