SAVEUR Gift Guides: What Wine Lovers Really Want

Sommelier Mia Van de Water's recommendations for wine tools you'll really use

Mia Van de Water started selling wine in college. She trained to be an actor, and moved to New York to pursue an acting career, but when she started working at Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe, she quickly realized wine was more than a beverage. "I love how wine is communal," she says, "and how there's always a story in every bottle."

Smitten, Van de Water explored the historical and cultural implications of wine, fell deeper in love with it, and "realized I was having far more fun working the floor than I was working in entertainment." So, she dove in full-time. Now, with the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Exam under her belt, she's the wine director at North End Grill, another one of Meyer's restaurants in New York. She's seen and played with just about every wine-related gadget there is, and this is her list of must-haves for anyone from the aficionado to the casual wine drinker.

Allavino Wine Refrigerator

Allavino Wine Refrigerator
"Allavino makes great, versatile wine fridges ranging from eight to 300 bottles in storage capacity, and unless you’re shopping for someone with seriously limited space, 36-48 bottle capacity is a great place to start. I like the Cascina series because it has sliding wooden shelves, which makes it easier to appraise your options." Allavino Cascina Series 48 Bottle Wine Refrigerator, $370 from Beverage FactoryBeverage Factory

Ghidini Champagne Stopper

Ghidini Champagne Stopper
"Champagne storage is no joke. That bottle of bubbly can die overnight if not tightly corked. It may seem like a small thing, but keeping last night’s bubbles perfect for breakfast is priceless." Ghidini Champagne Stopper, around $13 from AmazonAmazon

Code38 Wine Key

Code38 Wine Key
"Code38 makes the first wine key specifically created to address the rigors of service in a restaurant setting. It's perfectly balanced, durable, and comes covered with a lifetime warranty. It is not inexpensive, but worth every penny for the wine professional in your life." Code38 Elite Series Titanium Wine Key, $625 from Code38Code38

Durand Wine Key

Durand Wine Key
"When it comes to opening older bottles, the Durand is hands-down the most valuable wine tool on the market. The screw drives into the cork like any other wine key, but the two prongs cleanly separate the cork from the glass while you twist. It's a must-have for any collector of old wines." The Durand Wine Key, $125 from The DurandThe Durand

Zalto Universal Glass

Zalto Universal Glass
"These glasses are darlings of sommeliers everywhere and truly worth the hype. They're competitively priced and nearly weightless to hold. If you get one wine glass for someone this holiday season, this should be it." Zalto Hand-Blown Universal Glass, $59 from aha lifeaha life

Picnic Cooler for Two

Picnic Cooler for Two
"For your friends who love to picnic in the park. Picnic at Ascot makes these fabulous all-in-one sets. They include everything you need from glassware (well, acrylic-ware) to plateware and napkins. All you need to do is pack the hamper with food and wine and you’re good to go." Picnic at Ascot Hamptons Picnic Cooler for Two, around $80 from AmazonAmazon

Polishing Cloth

Polishing Cloth
"If you’re getting glassware, it’s a nice touch to add in some polishing cloths. After all, those glasses don’t look nearly as sexy with water spots! I use Riedel’s large microfiber cloth, but any microfiber will do (and can be found in cute vintage patterns as well, if that suits your giftee!)." Riedel Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, $16 from [Amazon(https://amzn.to/2P9YF7A){rel=nofollow}Riedel

Decanting Cradle

Decanting Cradle
"Sometimes you have a special bottle that is old enough to throw sediment, but fragile enough that it won’t bear decanting. The wine cradle allows you to keep the bottle horizontal (or nearly) and pour off the sediment without agitating it. It can also be used for its original, intended use, which is to keep an older bottle horizontal and stable while you open it before pouring it off into a decanter." Peugeot Universal Decanting Cradle, $55 from HouzzHouzz

Decanter

Decanter
"You should always have a decanter on hand. The Riedel Merlot decanter is a great value and perfect for everyday use." Riedel Merlot Decanter, $39 from RiedelRiedel

Wine Tote

Wine Tote
"A classy wine tote is a great gift for anyone with a wine collection. This one is insulated and has a beautiful black leatherette finish and a little corkscrew pocket so you always have the right tool at hand." Picnic Time Adagio Wine Case, $95 from NordstromNordstrom

Wine Wars Board Game

Wine Wars Board Game
"An excellent option for the competitive wine geek. This is a board game best played with good friends over a bottle (or few) of wine." Wine Wars, $13 from AmazonAmazon