Giving anything but grapes would just be completely un-grapefriendy or friend-y at all pretty much. {}
  1. Reds aren’t always easy to do on the cheap, but Italians are a great way to go. The Alanera Rosso Veronese ($20) is an absolutely delicious blend. Alanera means “black wing” and is a nod to the Corvina grape which has shiny black skin. Everyone I shared it with loved it – and one girl even said the birds would make a great tattoo.
  2. I LOVE a light red that can be served with a little chill on it – perfection with charcuterie. You can’t really go too wrong with Schiava, but two bottles I really like are Alois Lageder Schiava ($15) which is a super old Alto Adige producer and 2014 Nals Margreid Galea Schiava ($24) which was one of my favorites when I was there last year.
  3. For the adventurous: India has been bubbling up on the radar as an up and coming wine region. Sula Vineyards ($12) is one of the largest producers there and their Shiraz is really spicy and delicious – big hit with everyone who tried it, and probably the best value on this list.
  4. Got some dog people in your life? Of course you do! Hand over some Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2013 ($21) – a red blend dedicated to their old vineyard dog, this Bordeaux blend has blackberry, chocolate and earth
  5. Pomerol is usually way more expensive, but Château Bourgneuf Pomerol 2009 is only $50. A great way to show your knowledge of an incredible region without emptying your wallet.
  6. GAJA Sito Moresco ($55) is named for the family who farmed this 25-acre estate in Barbaresco before its purchase by the awesome winemaking Gaja family. A blend of Nebbiolo, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s big but balanced. Pheasants live in the forests next to GAJA’s vineyards so they made it onto the label – so pretty.
  7. As for spirits, Amador Whiskey Co. Double Barrel Bourbon ($40) is a Kentucky Bourbon aged in the usual new American oak barrels, but then aged another six months in Napa barrels
  8. And the G.E. Massenez Poire Prisonniere ($50) is so freaking cool because it has a pear inside the bottle! The bottle is attached to the pear tree branch before the fruit has started growing, and then the fruit grows right inside the bottle. They pluck it off once it’s fully grown and then make the clear eau de vie. Delicious!!!