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Gifts of the Grape

Submitted by on November 28, 2008 – 3:54 amNo Comment

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Food & Spirits: When one considers gifts of elegance and distinction, wine and related accessories are indelibly high atop the list. Indeed, for the wine enthusiast, nothing endears quite like a gift of the grape – especially when that gift is particularly noteworthy and innovative. And, in the vast world of wine, innovation is the name of the game on all fronts, be it cultivating grapes, refining and perfecting the manufacturing process, or developing related goods and services that equally enthrall.

With this in mind, here’s one stellar selection of wine-related gifts sure to deliver a fine finish:


Wine Vivabox ($145)
By far one of the coolest gifts I’ve received this year is a wine Vivabox, a brilliant experiential gift nothing short of perfect for the wine lover in your life – especially when you’re unsure what to purchase amid a seemingly endless field of choices. Now you can remove the guesswork completely and nail it every time!

Quite brilliantly, albeit simply, the handsome wine Vivabox arrives with two gifts in one: included in the actual package is Wine Spectator’s information-packed Essentials of Wine to ensure the recipient is well versed in the vine. The box also contains a gift card with instructions directing the recipient to log onto the Vivabox Web site and select one of seven available 6-bottle wine collections from My Wines Direct. Options include “big, bold reds,” “delightful whites,” and “mixed medley,” among others. Once selected, the collection of choice will be shipped directly to the Vivabox gift recipient’s home. A twelve-issue subscription to Wine Spectator is included as an added bonus with six of the seven available wine packages. The online selection process was remarkably streamlined, quick and easy.

With a total of eight Vivabox themes to choose from including gourmet food, barbeque, coffee, tea, spa and fragrance, it’s clear the company realizes the value and importance of empowering consumers. Kudos Vivabox. (

2005 Lust Zinfandel ($59)
Sin has never tasted so good as with Michael~David Winery’s Lust Zinfandel. Aged in American Oak barrels for a full 24 months and “kissed” with a touch of Petite Sirah, Lust Zinfandel boasts flavors of cassis, vanilla and caramel tempered with notes of red currants, which flow into the delightful finish of oak, mocha and cigar smoke. This decadent and delectable wine, which is produced in Lori, California, is sure to have you longing for more.(

2000 Mumm Napa DVX ($55)
Combining the exacting French Méthod Champenoise with the extraordinary fruit of Napa Valley, Mumm Napa Winery creates world-class sparkling wines that rival fine Champagnes. Its prestige DVX cuvée, named in honor of founder Guy Devaux, is most definitely an exemplary achievement. Aged nearly six years, this rich and multifaceted wine blend represents supreme Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lots, resulting in an expression of the best the Napa Valley has to offer. With a brilliant golden-yellow hue infused with streams of delicate bubbles, the 2000 DVX imparts rich and complex aromas of wild strawberry, red apple, dried apricot, jasmine and acacia blossoms harmoniously married with spicy tones of roasted nuts and white chocolate. The palate offers flavors of white fruit and red cherries, followed by a long, lingering, lovely finish. (


Metrokane’s Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew ($60)
No matter how skilled a wine opener you may be, we’ve all struggled with our share of stubborn and fragile corks. This is why I’m particularly excited about Metrokane’s Vertical Rabbit corkscrew, which makes opening any bottle of wine a breeze! The company has re-engineered its ever-popular Rabbit corkscrew with a new design which, of course, features the same wonderful cork pulling efficiency, but now also with a sleek new design that conveniently fits on top of any wine bottle. Still easy to use, just place the Vertical Rabbit over the neck of a corked wine bottle, gently pull the lever, and the nifty device pulls and automatically ejects even the most unruly cork in three seconds flat. Packaged in a hinged Lucite storage case, the Vertical Rabbit has a die-cast metal lever handle with rubber grips and comes complete with a foil cutter. It is available in Black Velvet and two high-sheen finishes: Gun-Metal and Candy-Apple Red. Metrokane also offers a VIP Special Edition of the Rabbit for $125, which makes a great gift given the elegant leather and chrome gift case that may be monogrammed. (

CellarDine’s Rouge O2 Electronic Wine Breather ($49.99)
Everyone wants to enjoy their red wine at its peak flavor and bouquet, but all too often we don’t have the time to allow a newly opened bottle to properly aerate. So, what do we do? We drink it and, gasp, serve it to others anyway, and forego the true taste and aroma the winemaker intended. With CellarDine’s stainless steel Rouge O2 Wine Breather, you can enjoy your favorite Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and other reds within just one – yes one – minute of opening the bottle! This ingenious invention, for which I’m entirely thankful, works by gently bubbling air through the wine to release its full bouquet and flavor profile. The Rouge O2 requires only one-button operation, has an innovative automatic mechanism to ensure the correct breathing times, and can aerate over 230 bottles using just a single pair of AAA batteries. (

Vinturi Wine Aerator ($39.95)
It’s a simple fact: wine that has been allowed to breathe tastes better. Vinturi’s Essential Wine Aerator is another fantastic expediter, employing a patent-pending design allowing it to instantaneously develop the aroma and flavors in a single glass or an entire bottle of wine. Pack that decanter away – who has the time? With Vinturi’s breathing accelerator, wine lovers may enjoy the genuine flavor of wine in just the time it takes to pour a glass. And, using Vinturi couldn’t be easier – simply hold it over a glass and pour your favorite wine through. That’s it. Carefully designed to blend beautiful form with function, Vinturi draws in and mixes the proper amount of air with the wine for the perfect amount of time, allowing it to breathe at once. You’ll immediately notice an enhanced bouquet, richer flavors and smoother velvety finish. But, be careful. Vinturi can turn the casual wine drinker into a full fledged Oenophile. Welcome to the club. (

Preservino Professional Wine Preserving Kit ($69.95)
Desperately want that glass of wine but don’t want to open a new bottle just for yourself? Worry no more that your pre-opened wine will lose its will fresh flavor and bouquet days or even weeks later, as Preservino’s Professional Wine Preserving Kit has you covered. Preservino Professional not only preserves wine in open bottles for up to two full weeks, it can also sustain the crispness and flavor of an open bottle of Champagne or sparking wine to keep the bubbles flowing all night long. Using 100 percent high purity Argon gas, the technology winemakers actually use during production, Preservino Professional keeps wine and Champagne at the peak of freshness. The device is also extremely user friendly. Simply insert the injection nozzle into the custom stopper, inject the Argon gas, and voila – you may store your wine with complete confidence. The Preservino Professional comes in an elegant rosewood gift box containing two chrome professional stoppers with a “Click & Pour” feature, which allows you to pour without removing the stopper or losing Argon gas, along with one Argon gas cartridge and the compact handheld injector. (

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s)
detailed above were provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions
expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any
way as per the disclosure policy on our “Legal” page***


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