Gift guide: Something wine lovers will raise a glass for

If you've got a wine lover in your life, lucky you! He or she is probably always popping open something special to drink at home or at parties. 

But, unlucky you if you're intimidated to buy him or her a bottle of wine. What's if it doesn't pass the wine snob test? Worse, what if they think you're cheap? 

Consider buying a gift certificate to their favorite wine shop will let them choose their own bottle. Here are some other anxiety-free surefire gifts. 

Gadgets and accessories

Those same wine shops sell all sorts of high-tech, low-tech and no-tech gifts. The WineSellar & Brasserie, in Sorrento Valley, has one of the widest varieties and is running on sale on most items - 20 percent off for two, 30 percent for three. A sampling, with descriptions from the store:


  • Corkcicle Canteen ($29.99): Keeps an entire bottle of wine chilled for 24-plus  hours (limited supply).

  • Oeno Frio-Pour ($13.99): A pourer, chiller and aerator all in one.

  • Epic Auto Wine Preserver ( $20.50): Keeps unfinished bottles of wine fresh while preserving their taste, color and aroma. Has an LCD screen that displays seal status, wine temperature and storage time.

  • True Lily Stopper & Pourer ($12.99): Features a metal-banded silicone stem for a tight bottleneck fit, two petals for perfect pours, and a stopper in the place of a stamen. Dishwasher safe.

  • Viski Aerating Copper Pour Spout ($13.99): The aerating spout's air-blending helix lets let the vintage breathe as you pour. 

  • Oeno Wine Preserver Vac Pump and Stoppers (Vacu Pump and two stoppers $11.99, replacement  stoppers $5.99): The vacuum helps keep your wine fresh for days by sucking harmful air out o the bottle. Various colors.

  • Oeno Travel Bottle Sleeve ($6.99): The inflatable sleeve provides a protective cushion of air around your wine bottle during travl.

  • Greenophile Wine Passport ($10.99): With a cover made of natural cork, this wine journal includes pages for notes as well as a glossary of relevant wine-tasting terms.

  • Shannon Martin Luggage Tag ($10.59): Hip and sassy leatherette tags are printed full-color and feature Shannon's signature artwork.

  • Oeno Ice Cubes ($15.99): The easiest way to cool a glass of wine without watering it down. Simply freeze and take them out when it's time to chill. Maintains temperature for 45 minutes. Comes in a four-pack.

  • Wine Wipes ($7.99): Perfect for red drinkers, Borracha Wine Wipes wipe-out the purple from your teeth and their orange blossom flavor ensures the next sip won't be ruined. The compact has a mirror on the back.

The WineSellar & Brasserie, 9550 Waples St., Suite 115, Sorrento Valley. (858) 450-9557 or winesellar.com

New Year's must-have: If your wine lover cringes at the thought of opening a potentially explosive bottle of bubbly, here's an elegant gadget to help uncork the festivities in style. Rabbit's Velvet Champagne Set has specially-designed pliers to give you leverage and help twist a cork loose with minimal effort - and without any Champagne-wasting spills. A bottle sealer helps keep any leftover bubbly fresh for a few days. Both are solid zinc with a - what else? - champagne finish. $30 at rabbitwine.com

The book on San Diego

Here's a gift for someone who loves to find wine right in their backyard. And San Diego County is a big backyard. With 115 wineries spanning from Fallbrook to Ramona, Solana Beach to Barrio Logan and Campo, the area's potential as a wine-growing region is growing like grapes on a vine. 

A just-released book will help natives and tourists alike navigate this burgeoning business. Called the "San Diego Winery Guide: The Ultimate Resource on every Winery, Vineyard, and Tasting Room in San Diego County," it's 224 pages of detailed information.

You'll find if a winery is open to the public, hours, address, types of varietals made, whether it's pet- or kid-friendly, has a view or patio, serves food,  or even is on a vineyard. Suggested itineraries can aid visitors who want to make a day of it.

Put out by San Diego's noted craft-beer book publisher, Georgian Bay Books, the "San Diego Winery Guide," was compiled mostly by the late John Alongé, a beloved figure in the local wine scene who died in 2015. 

The guide can be found at various county tasting rooms or at georgianbaybooks.com (where it's currently on sale for $26.36, from $32.95).

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