When thinking about what to get the wine lover in your life, while a special bottle of wine is nice, quite frankly it's a cop out. It doesn't take a lot of thought or creativity. Especially if your recipient is a wine diva. She'll appreciate your going the extra mile to find something that appeals to her love of sparkle, glamour and, of course, wine. These five gifts are sure to bring holiday cheer to any wine diva.
Big Girl Sippy Cups by Bling it On. I can't help but smile when I see these colorful and sparkly glammed up sippy cups, and that's the reaction co-creators Terri Campa and Anna DePedrini are going for. Besties since their sons were in school and baseball and soccer, they never set out to create what's become all the buzz in their hometown of Manteca, CA and beyond.
Anna DePedrini and Terri Campa
A beach trip with girlfriends inspired the Bling it On Big Girl Sippy Cups. "I thought let's do some hostess gifts," says Anna. "I saw these acrylic sippy cups, I don't know if I really want to admit this, at the Dollar Store." She brought one home and showed it to Anna, whose reaction was less than enthusiastic, until Terri said, "let's put some rhinestones or gems or bling on the lid."
They got started but Anna set hers aside. "It wasn't working for me." Terri pushed her to go on, telling her not to overthink it. "It doesn't have to be symmetrical," Terri said. "Let's put some flair on and make it 3D and it will be fun and really pretty." She was right.
Terri says after that, "we literally could not stop." The tipping point, says Anna, "were the charms and gems and themes we would put on top." Themes like making the lid look like a baseball, other sports like football, ballet, and fashion, from handbags to high heel shoes and even wine themes. The 3D lids on the sippy cups took off; I know I've never seen anything like them. Trust me, you will want one.
The Bling it On gals estimate they've done over 600 cup lids, since launching their business a year ago, selling mostly to customers through their website. They get special requests, like a Tiffany's cup or a Lady Gaga themed cup. "Terri found a neon pink lightening bolt," says Anna. "Then she found a little monsters charm which was perfect because Lady Gaga calls her fans little monsters."
"We take a lot of pride in the fact that each one is handmade, each one is very unique you will never find one that looks exactly the same as another," says Anna. "If we find jewelry, vintage jewelry, modern jewelry it doesn't matter these are unique pieces that have gone on cups and there will never be another one like it."
Why the name Big Girl Sippy Cups? "You can put any kind of big girl beverages in it and no one will know," says Anna. They've seen their cups hold water, juice, wine and sangria. You can get cups in 16 oz and 20 oz sizes. Prices start at $20 per sippy cup.
Beaded Wine Bottle Stoppers by Kari's Kreations. There are hundreds of wine bottle stopper designs out there, but when I saw these bejeweled bottle stoppers, they, well, stopped me in my tracks. I was at the Falls Park Farmers Market in Sioux City, SD this summer for a friend's wedding. We went to the farmers market to get flower for the reception and her bouquet. I noticed these sparkly wine bottle stoppers - and the closer I looked the more I liked them. I had never seen any that had beads and blingy gems on them, attached so there was movement too. I thought what fun! I bought one for the bride-to-be and one to take home.
Kari Elrod of Kari's Kreations is the artist who makes these unique bottle stoppers. She started out making jewelry, and that makes sense because her stoppers make me think of jewelry for your wine bottle.
"I absolutely love beads!" she says. Kari started making beaded jewelry while on a summer vacation with family. A rainy day led to a shopping trip where she and her mother found some beads in a bead store to make bracelets. She's been making jewelry ever since.
Each of her bottle stopper designs is one-of-a-kind; she also does custom orders. The one I bought has turquoise beads on it -- when have you even seen turquoise jewelry on a bottle stopper? Love it!
You can get themed stoppers like the ones Kari has created for the holidays. Mad for the penguin!
Kari sells her wine bottle stoppers, as well as other wine accessories like wine charms and flattened wine bottles (which make great serving platters) on her website. Wine bottle stoppers start at $15.
Duri "Wine Tasting Party" Nail Polishes. Ever wine diva likes to be polished from head to toe, and when it's in wine colors, even better. Duri Cosmetics has a color series called "Wine Tasting Party," with 12 wine inspired colors, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chianti, Cognac and Grape Swirl (my favorite, a glittery silver purple).
In the collection there's also some cocktail inspired colors, from Dragontini to Mud Slide. These make fun stocking stuffers at $6 each.Samples provided by Duri Cosmetics.
The Vino Collection by Anastaio Moda. I first met designer extraordinaire Angelo Anastasio at Wine Women & Shoes event in Napa Valley, where I fell in love with his gorgeous shoes and handbags. Me and my friends (the shoe gals) have been fans ever since.
Angelo now has a very successful line by Anastasio Moda of official NFL team bags, the most glamorous sports-inspired accessories you will find. I'm not a huge football fan, but I wouldn't mind carrying one of Angelo's NFL bags. They don't scream team logos; the design is very sophisticated.
We were even more delighted when Angelo debuted his line of wine handbags and wine carrying bags. He calls it La Collezione Cantina, Italian for The Vino Collection. How could you not love them?
"I am passionate about wine," Angelo says. "I was born in Calabria in Italy, where my grandfather and father were home winemakers. It was a labor of love and a passion for wine."
Each wine bag is handcrafted in Italy, in the same factory Angelo has worked with for years. He uses the finest leather and hardware. The Vino Collection bags have a wine motif on them, digitally printed by laser onto waxed canvas (the same technique used by Louis Vuitton). This gives amazing color saturation and high definition detail. Angelo says the print is "a collage of all the wine villages and places I've been over the years - St. Helena, Stag's Leap, Monterey."
While all the bags are great, the "Napa" style, a wine carrier bag, is great for gift giving for the wine diva who has everything.
Now Angelo has created a line of wine charm bracelets, must haves for any wine diva. They are full of fun and bling! His charms are full of colorful Swarovski crystals, inserted into the jewelry with the same techniques a jeweler uses placing diamonds. they are also made in Italy.
Angelo's line of Vino Collection charm bracelets runs $60 - $99; wine handbag and wine carriers are $60 - $390. Contact Anastasio Moda [email@example.com] to order and for more information, including custom orders.
Rewined Root:1 Carmenere Wine Candle. Ok this gift does involve a bottle of wine, but it's because the wine has inspired a wine scented candle. And you must give both together.
Rewined is a candle company devoted to creating wine inspired soy candles that they put in repurposed wine bottles. I wrote about Rewined's candles in my holiday gift guide last year. I'm writing about them again this year because the Root:1 Carmenere candle is inspired by a vineyard that I was actually in this past October in Chile.
Carmenere is the national grape of Chile. At its best it is earthy and spicy and full of red and black fruit. It's a soft wine, with lower tannins than big Cabernets or Bordeaux.
Viña Ventisquero makes the Root:1 wine series that includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are very well made and expressive of the terroir. In the case of the Carmenere, the grapes are grown in the Apalta Valley of the Colchauga Valley, which is a breathtakingly beautiful wine growing region. We were in the steep and rocky Carmenere vineyards at Viña Ventisquero where you get a real appreciation for how the vines have to struggle to survive. They produce the most concentrated aromatic grapes.
Winebow, the import company that developed Root:1 with Viña Ventisquero, approached Rewined about possibly creating a fragrance and doing a co-promotion.
That was inspiration for the Rewined team to visit Viña Ventisquero in Chile during harvest in April 2012. They actually picked grapes and talked with the winemakers and grape growers, getting a real appreciation for the character of Carmenere and a true sense of place. I love this video, which shows the Rewined visit. The video features winemaker Sergio Hormazabal who I met on my trip.
The scent of the Rewined candle is rich and fruity, with spice and chocolate notes, just like Carmenere. Burn it while you try the wine -- yes it is ok and believe it or not, the aroma of the candle will enhance the aromas in your glass. Blackberry? Yes. Black pepper? It's there too. Earthiness? Of course. This is a new way to experience wine, through scent, and believe me, it works.
To purchase the candle ($28) visit Rewined. I recommend giving a bottle of the Root:1 Carmenere wine ($12) along with the Carmenere candle, which you can find at many online wine retailers. Samples provided by Rewined and Winebow.
Chef's Essences and Perfumes by Aftelier Perfumes. Since we're on a scent kick, let's continue with Mandy Aftel's wonderful Chef's Essences. If you're a wine diva like me, you like to cook and have fun doing it. Nothing could be more fun than experimenting with Aftelier Perfume's line of Chef's Essences, which Mandy developed to add pure flavors and aromas to anything you make to eat or drink. They are totally edible, and true to taste.
They come as either essential oils or sprays. Try spraying the Blood Orange essence on chocolate. Divine. Spray Jasmine Absolute on vanilla ice cream. Amazing. Many of the Chef's Essences are flavors you'll find in wine: grapefruit, lime, pear, jasmine, rose, raspberry, peach, apricot, black pepper, vanilla and clove. Try using one or a blend in dishes you create and pair with a certain varietal that has those aromas.
When it comes to perfumes, wine divas love them too, even though we can't always wear them when wine tasting. For all other times, two of Mandy's scents remind me of wine. Her newest fragrance, Cuir Gardenia, is full of buttery white flowers, which make me think of aromatic white wines, like Viognier, Torrentes and Pinot Blanc. Her Fig Eau de Parfum is earthy and sensual and reminds me of rich red wines such as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and earthy, spicy Syrah.
Chef's Essences and Aftelier perfumes are available online. Essences start at $12 and up for oils and $16 and up for sprays; perfumes range from $55-$170 and up.