Wine is the perfect gift for almost any occasion. Going to a party? Wine. Best friend’s birthday? Wine. Gift exchange? Wine. Father-in-law? Wine. Need I go on?

The problem is, giving wine can be stressful if you’re not 100% sure of the recipient’s preferences. Some people will only drink Chardonnay, while others refuse to go near anything other than Malbec. The thing is, when gifted with a bottle, most people are more willing to try something new than when they’re buying the wine themselves. So it’s not the end of the world if you get them something they don’t normally drink. And if they really won’t drink anything new, they can always save the bottle for when they have guests. Is that ideal? No, but they will still appreciate the effort you put into selecting the bottle for them and it will be enjoyed.

No Fail Options

While not everyone loves everything, there are several options that are highly popular and are more likely to get people excited.

  • Chablis- White wines from Chablis are made from Chardonnay. Unlike many American Chardonnays, Chablis is rarely aged in oak, which helps it maintain its crisp, light-bodied style. The fruit and minerality really shine in this style.
  • Riesling- A dry or off-dry Riesling is a great gift option. Not only is it great on its own, Riesling is also a very food-friendly wine. It pairs with a wide variety of cuisines, from American to Italian to Thai, and more.
  • Burgundy- Red Burgundy is made primarily from Pinot Noir and tends to be elegant and complex. They are often a little earthier than Oregon or California Pinot Noirs, and rich with good acidity.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon- One of the most popular red wines is Cabernet Sauvignon. While it can be made in a range of styles depending on where it’s from, California Cabs are often fruit-forward with lots of dark fruit and high tannins. They make a great gift because they’re so often paired with steak and special occasions.
  • Sparkling wine- When in doubt, choose bubbly. Sparkling wine is festive, fun, and it makes everyone feel special. Champagne is never a bad idea, but if you’re on a budget, go with a French cremant. These wines are made in the traditional champagne style with the same grapes, but they’re from outside Champagne and you can get an excellent bottle for about half the price.

Make it Special

Another way you can make your gift bottle special is to give a bottle with significance to the recipient. You can get a bottle from an important year in the recipient’s life. It could be the year you met, the year they turned 21, or the year their first child was born. You could also find a bottle with their name in it or one from their favorite place. The bottle might have a really unique label or be their favorite color, or even be related to their job or a hobby.

You can also make it special with the presentation. Wrap it in a pretty scarf, a pair of socks, or a tea towel. You can also pair it with a set of wine glasses or snacks that pair well with the varietal. Little touches make the gift remarkable.

My last piece of advice is this: When in doubt, ask for help at your local wine store. The employees are there to help you pick the perfect bottle and will be sure to have lots of ideas to help you gift the perfect bottle.