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  • Writer's pictureMelissa L. Smith

Last Minute Wine Gifts 2023

It’s been another fantastic year in the wine industry. When I wasn't in cellars, in front of cameras, or in a courtroom (here's to more expert witness work!), I was fortunate enough to spend time in the wine regions of Anderson Valley, Sicily, Tunisia, and even explored the sparkling wines of England!


So what do you get for your favorite wine enthusiast besides wine? This is my annual roundup of things that have brought me joy in the world of wine (and wine travel). The last two I am particularly proud of.


Books



There have been so many great wine books to come out this year, these are my favorites. Because some of these weigh a ton (quality and quantity), I decided to pick up a Paperweight Kindle for my summer travel. While I use the app on my phone regularly, the glare outside and the tendency to overheat has made it a less than ideal experience for reading on the go. I highly recommend this version, and this case. It provided a welcome reading experience propped up on a table while reading during solo meals or seaside while sipping Aperol Spritz on vacation. 


Reading by the sea in Giardini Naxos on Sicily below Taormina with strawberry granita and a mojito

On Champagne: A tapestry of tales to celebrate the greatest sparkling wine of all by Susan Keevil

A multi-layered look at this essential wine, beautifully designed to bring the region to life on the page. Contributions from top champagne writers: Tom Stevenson, Essi Avelan MW, Serena Sutcliffe MW, Peter Liem, Tyson Stelzer and Robert Walters, and champagne's modern era is welcomed in by Evelyn Waugh. The fascinating history and Champagne's place in the world today, and its aspirations for the future. Full of stories about the innovators and characters


Italian Wine: The History, Regions, and Grapes of an Iconic Wine Country 

 by Shelley Lindgren and Kate Leahy

Journey through all twenty regions of Italy to discover the grapes, terrain, and historical techniques that have influenced modern Italian winemaking in this accessible and stunning guide to Italian wines.


With Food and Wine wine editor Ray Isle at the Commonwealth Club talk about his book The World in a Wineglass in San Francisco

The World in a Wineglass: The Insider's Guide to Artisanal, Sustainable, Extraordinary Wines to Drink Now by Ray Isle

Food & Wine editor Ray Isle does for wine what Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma did for food—showing readers how to choose more delicious, interesting, and environmentally friendly wines without breaking the bank.


Tools



This tool is the greatest invention for wine enthusiasts with a collection of older wines. It allows you to easily remove the cork in tact like nothing else. (They also cost about half what they did when they first came out.)


I’ve talked about them in Forbes and mention them any chance that I can get. These are fantastic glasses that serve all of your needs from Champagne (pros don’t drink out of flutes) to Cabernet. I have converted my home set to entirely Gabriel Glas. They also come in 6 packs


For the traveler



I’ve learned so much from traveling the last two years that I feel like I’ve gotten it down to a science. I have a full blog post here that should be updated before next summer, that is filled with my travel recommendations that will make your journey so much more enjoyable. These are my top necessities that would make great stocking stuffers. 


No-Jet-Lag tablets. I’ve been using these for about a decade and they totally work! A homeopathic miracle, the tablets taste like sugar pills that dissolve in your mouth upon takeoff, landing, and every 2 hours in the air. I had zero jet lag on either end of my trip…but my husband forgot to take them and had about a week of jet lag to contend with. When a good friend that is also a travel writer asked me how I was looking so good and rested when I posted a photo from a client’s cellar the day after I landed, I told her about these and she immediately let me know that they worked for her! Give them a shot. I set my alarm for every 2 hours on my watch and keep them within reach.

Noise canceling Airpod Pros. #1 thing to improve my entire traveling experience. Blocks out screaming children and engine noise, and roosters. I’ve discovered that children and roosters can ruin any setting no matter how perfect. 

Sleep mask. The days are L O N G during the summer, and these are a sanity saver when you are trying to catch up on sleep. I’ve gotten these for home and travel and I can’t live without them. 


For the collector that has everything



It's taken over a decade of experience with hundreds of cellars to develop these next two offerings. Thanks to a new feature, they are now available to give as a gift through the platform! 


The Master Inventory Spreadsheet Outline Give the gift of organization. This spreadsheet and mini course is based on the proprietary software created to inventory hundreds of wine collections and tens of millions of dollars worth of wine collections for Enotrias. It also was designed to work with Cellar Tracker to give the end user the most capabilities. 


The Wine Collecting Master Class The ultimate gift for those looking at getting into wine collecting, or already have a wine collection and want to make the most of it. This online course is a deepdive into everything that they need to know to avoid common mistakes, how to organize and stay on top of a wine collection, how to value a wine collection, and how to maximize the enjoyment of collecting wine. It is loaded with bonuses and tips.


Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and time to sit in a cozy spot with a bottle of transcendent wine and time to enjoy a good book. Thank you for joining me on these journeys.








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