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Stocking Stuffers


Looking for last minute Christmas gift ideas? You can find any number of great stocking stuffers for the wine lover on your list all priced under 10 bucks a pop. A waiter's corkscrew always comes in handy. Pick one with a double boot where the lever that fits against the bottle is stepped, allowing the cork to be pulled out in increments. Makes for an easy extraction without breaking the cork. Throw in a foil cutter from Screwpull, as well. They seem a little silly at first--after all, most corkscrews come with a blade just for that purpose. But once you've used one, you'll never go back to the knife.

If the person you're shopping for likes sparkling wine, buy him or her a champagne stopper. It clamps onto the lip of the bottle to hold the fizz in without it popping off. And while this doesn't happen often at my house, I understand that not everyone finishes off a complete bottle. Wine is fragile stuff and can loose a lot of freshness and flavor even overnight. The solution is Private Reserve Wine Preserver, a canister filled with three heavier-than-air gases. Two short sprays lay down a protective blanket over the wine, blocking out harmful oxygen. Even though it feels empty, one can is good for 120 uses.

If you do any entertaining at all, wine charms are a great way to identify your glass in a crowd. They come in any number of themes and styles, including those especially appropriate for holiday entertaining. For those inevitable wine spills, two words: Wine Away. This remarkable red wine stain remover really works. It's made from fruit and vegetable extract, leaves a nice, fresh citrus smell, and a 12-ounce bottle retails for less than $10.

One of my favorite must-have gadgets is the Wine Chill Bottle Cooler. It's a smartly designed gel pack that wraps around most 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 nicely in about five to 10 minutes. And if you're still stumped, why not put the real deal in your wine lover's stocking. You can buy a 187-milliliter bottle of true Champagne for under 10 bucks--that's just enough for two flutes of the good stuff. Duval-Leroy and Laurent-Perrier are two of my favorites. Or if the person you're buying for has a weakness for the sweet, how about a bottle of port? Graham's Six Grape vintage character ruby port comes in a 187 and is priced well under $10. Hey, since it's Christmas, why not give a bottle of both?