Wine Gifting Etiquette: 3 Dos And 3 Don’ts

Conversation often flows much more smoothly with a glass of wine or two. That’s what makes it one of the best gifts among adults. Whether it’s a housewarming gift, for a party, or to celebrate with friends, giving someone a bottle of wine is an excellent way to show appreciation. 

Although many people see it otherwise on the surface, considering how ‘impersonal’ it is to the untrained eye. But, don’t be discouraged. Even a ‘simple’ bottle of wine can turn into a meaningful gift. All you have to do is be mindful of the etiquette behind gifting wine.

A bottle of wine and a gift box for the holiday

The DOs

Many of those who enjoy wine aren’t aware of how intricate wine-gifting is as a practice. Because of this, what’s supposed to be a thoughtful gift might be taken the wrong way. Here are some things you must take note of before you go ahead and give someone a bottle: 

Think About The Person

Considering it’s a gift, always bear in mind the person you’ll give it to. Naturally, personalized wine bottles are the most straightforward approach for expressing your thoughts about the person since you can make a request for your message to be engraved onto the bottle. But, aside from that, there are more ways your thoughtfulness can shine through.

Firstly, ensure that the person drinks wine. If they drink alcohol, but prefer cold beer more, giving them a bottle of wine is tactless. Think about what they like. Considering wine has a long list of options, you’re bound to choose the wrong one if you don’t consider their preferences. Aside from that, consider the person’s status as well. If it’s your boss you’re giving it to, pick something appropriate, like something as rich as a Cabernet.

Ask For Advice

Your observation skills are put to the test when remembering what your recipient likes and dislikes. Sadly, not everyone is perceptive enough to pull it off. If you don’t trust your observations too much, consider asking a shop assistant for help. Considering they’ve been educated to handle wine of all kinds, they might be just the key to giving the person the right bottle for the occasion.

But, be that as it may, that doesn’t make them a magician. Divulge any information about the recipient related to what’s written on the wine label. For example, tell them if you’re giving the person a gift during a dinner party or if there’s a special occasion. 

Dinner parties are often an impersonal affair where people are invited to come. Hence, they might also bring bottles of wine. In that case, there’s nothing wrong with buying them a bottle from the supermarket (or a non-vintage). But, if it’s a special occasion wherein you and other close friends are invited, splurge a little and go with a vintage.

Remember Its Pairings

Just like any beverage, a specific bottle of wine complements certain foods. After all, each brand has unique flavors that can either enhance the taste of food or ruin it. Therefore, if you know their favorite dish, work with that information.

The DON’Ts

More often than not, those who use wine as a gift overlook some key details. Because of this, what’s supposed to be a thoughtful gesture turns tactless. Therefore, here are things you should look out for when giving a bottle of wine:  

Spit On The Classics

With so many wine brands to choose from, wine drinkers have all the freedom to explore and broaden their palates. However, it’s best to do that when it’s only for personal tastes. Naturally, you’re encouraged to discover new flavors. But, if you have no idea how your gift tastes, it either gets a resounding applause or a thumbs-down from the recipient.

Don’t be afraid to stick with what you’re familiar with. There’s nothing wrong with giving them champagne or pinot noir. After all, they have every reason to be considered ‘the classics’ in any wine drinker’s list. As long as you know how good the classics are, that’s enough testament that your recipient will also enjoy them.  

Disregard Labels

Unknowing wine drinkers often base their decisions around how well a bottle and its label scream ‘luxury.’ After all, an attractive one makes for an excellent main piece at parties or on pictures. But, little did they know that its taste or shelf life might go over their heads until the recipient opens it. Never forget to read the fine print. Otherwise, the gorgeous bottle of wine you brought might turn to waste. 

Forget Seasonality

Like certain desserts, there’s a specific time of year you can drink specific brands of wine. After all, not everyone prefers eating ice cream in the middle of winter. Admittedly, wine can be enjoyed anytime. But, with that logic, coinciding your gift with the season gives it a much stronger impact on the recipient. For example, heartier wines, like a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, would be perfect for the colder months, given their powerful flavor. At the same time, spring and summer are perfect for fruit or lighter wines, such as champagne or chardonnay.


Like any gift, giving wine to someone takes careful thought. Otherwise, its recipient might consider it a waste of a bottle, especially if it’s not to their taste. To avoid that situation, always be mindful of the wine-gifting etiquette.