In keeping with the season of imbibing and gift-giving, I’ve curated a roster of five wine-related gifts. Even if it’s too late to order or give this year, file these goodies away for upcoming celebrations in the New Year.
Leather Wine Caddy, made in Milwaukee
For the bicyclist who enjoys drinking wine on a hamlet overlooking Lake Michigan, this is perfect: a leather wine caddy that straps onto a bicycle. Made by Fyxation Bicycle Company, a local bicycle-design company that also enjoys tinkering to dream up innovative products for cyclists, it’s the ideal hands-free device for wine drinkers.
Photographed: $39.95 for leather wine caddy
Recycled Wine Glasses, made in Weston, Wis.
Spinning new life into reclaimed glass (sourced mostly from regional companies), The Green Glass Company crafts wine glasses – from goblets to tumblers – that are folded into five collections: Evergreen, Topaz, Cyan, Forest and Cobalt. The hues are just like the names they’re given. Locally, they are sold at Embelezar (Third Ward), Fischberger’s (Riverwest) and Frill (Cedarburg), or through its website.
Photographed: $55 for a set of four Cobalt Collection goblets
Wine Cooler, made in Ellison Bay, Wis.
For the person who loves to summer in Door County, what better gift than an artistic piece made by a local artist in that region? Ellison Bay Pottery Studio features one-of-a-kind, hand-thrown coolers – which can double as kitchen-gadget holders – made by potter John T. Dietrich with inspiring glazes and colors.
Photographed: $46 for wine cooler featuring satin matte with Cobalt Blue and Chrome Green glazes
Wine-Sweater Wine-Bottle Holder, made in Madison, Wis.
Gift bags are so been-there-done-that, no? Kick up the style with a wine-bottle gift by stowing it in this adorable, hand-knit holder. Pop onto Etsy.com and order this stylish wine-sweater from laurenlynchdesign for that cool bottle of Chianti you picked out just for a friend’s palate. Come summer, it can be repurposed for Chill on the Hill or a friend’s back-yard BBQ.
Photographed: $20 for hand-knit wine-bottle sweater
Space Guy Wine Cups, made in Milwaukee
For the true geek (of wine and other things) splurge on a duo of these clay stemless wine cups from Jean’s Clay Studio, which is an Etsy shop right here in Milwaukee. Wheel-thrown white stoneware merges with a layer of colored clay, resulting in two different robots and an upside-down astronaut.
Photographed: $38 for set of two stemless clay wine cups
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
It’s a few days before NYE and you’re stumped about what bottle of bubbles to uncork. That’s where Wine Cellar of Wisconsin, in Elm Grove, can help. On Friday, Dec. 27, the wine retailer is hosting a tasting ($10) of sparkling wines from around the world. Starting at 5 p.m., the tasting will wrap around 7 p.m., so get there early and start sipping. In the end, you’re saving some cash because what you ultimately buy won’t be a gamble. Instead, it will have won your palate over already.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
Still struggling about how – and where – to ring in the New Year? Chef Michael Feker is throwing a big bash on Dec. 31 that includes a three-course dinner paired with wines ($89.95). (Naturally, a Champagne toast is included too.) The celebratory event starts at 7 p.m. and will be hosted at Feker’s cooking studio (School of Culinary Magic/Chef’s Counter, ilmitocooking.com), next to Il Mito Tosa along West North Avenue in Wauwatosa. From foie-gras with lemongrass-infused reduction to wild boar osso bucco with sides of lobster smashed potatoes and Wisconsin honey-glazed parsnips, it’s guaranteed to be a scrumptious start to 2014. To RSVP, call 414-443-1414.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Holidays are a fabulous time to pull out the Port. A small pour pairs well with truffles or other red-fruit/chocolate desserts, as well as hard cheeses. Or, sip naked (sans food). W. & J. Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Porto (Porto, Portugal, $22) is consistently decadent year after year. Made from a six-grape blend (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Tinto Cao), it’s as rich as biting into a slice of blackberry pie or flourless chocolate cake with concentrated blackberry notes and toasty-vanilla accents. (grahams-port.com)