Got a wine lover on your gift list but don't want to buy them a bottle of wine? This year, think accessories instead.
One of my must-haves is the Epic Wine Chill Bottle Cooler. It's a smartly designed gel pack that wraps around almost any wine bottle. I always keep one in the freezer, and when I'm in the mood for a bottle of white, the Wine Chill cools it down in fewer than 10 minutes and keeps the bottle cool from first to last pour. They retail for around $8.95 at epicstyle.com and are also available in local wine shops.
Most everyone has a corkscrew in a drawer somewhere, but why not give them the best? Le Creuset makes one of the finest wine openers on the planet. They may not sport polished bone handles or gold trim, but from a practical standpoint, nothing beats them. My favorite is Le Creuset's Screwpull Pocket Model, a compact opener that employs an extended arm for increased leverage, making it easier to spin out the cork. Other than the fluid extracting motion, what really sets them apart is the long, Teflon-coated screw that penetrates the most stubborn corks. This corkscrew is priced around $25 on Amazon.
Instead of tossing the cork when your bottle's empty, put it in a decorative cork cage. These clever wire sculptures (priced around $25 to $30) come in different sizes and shapes, including reindeer, roosters, sleighs, wreaths and even a woody surf wagon. When it's full, you can donate the corks to Corks 4 A Cure, a local organization that recycles corks to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. It's a win-win situation.