Over the past year, we’ve been sending wine as gifts on behalf of customers across the UK. We’ve learned a few things along the way, and want to share some practical tips for those who are planning to gift wine. Find out which wine is best to choose as a gift, how to send a wine gift by post and – most importantly – how to package it for safe delivery.
- How to choose wine for a gift
- How much to spend on a wine gift
- Can I send wine as a gift by post
- How to package a wine gift for sending by post
How to choose wine for a gift
If your special someone has been dropping hints about which wine they want, or won’t stop talking about their favourite grapes and regions, it’s easy to choose the best wine gift. But what if you don’t know for sure? Or if you’re personally not really into wine and feel overwhelmed by all the different options? Don’t worry. With our tips, you’ll be able to safely choose a high-quality wine that they’ll adore.
Wine gift tip: Valuable wines are the safest gifts. Their brands and names are universally known, so even if the person is not a wine lover they will recognise and appreciate the prestige. In essence, these wines are perfect gifts when you want to impress someone.
In terms of Italian wine, the big names are Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone, and Brunello di Montalcino. If you send someone any of those wines, they’re likely to recognise the name and therefore appreciate it as a great gift. Such high-end wines are pretty much guaranteed to give them an enjoyable in-glass experience, too. Here’s a few suggestions:
Premium wine gifts for Christmas
If you’re wondering how to pick a Christmas present that will stand out, our list of Twelve Premium Italian Wines to Gift this Christmas this Christmas is packed with inspiration.
Wine gifts for under £25 per bottle
Is it possible to find delicious wine gifts for your loved ones and not break the bank? Luckily, the answer is “yes”! We’re happy to recommend a selection of award-winning Italian wines for under £25 that will make their day truly special.
There are rich, powerful reds and light, aromatic whites – all sourced from award-winning boutique Italian wineries. Here’s another bragging point: all the wines are exclusively sold by us in the UK, so your gift will be truly one-of-a-kind. Here’s a few suggestions:
How much to spend on a wine gift?
If you are buying a single bottle, you can definitely get a decent award-winning wine that will make a memorable gift for £30-60.
The price for a bottle of good Barolo ranges from £35-50. A really great Amarone will cost £40-60, and Brunello di Montalcino starts from around £50. If you’re looking for a bargain, you can find superb Barbaresco for about £30.
Or, if you’re not keen to go over £25, why not grab a bottle of rich and powerful Cannonau di Sardegna red with a deep taste of black plums, bramble fruits, blackberries, cinnamon and chocolate? Or an award-winning Pinot Noir wine with aromas of raspberry, blueberry muffin and dried cranberry? Or if you’re looking for an aromatic white, a Gewurztraminer from Unterland in Südtirol is an excellent choice with flavours of guava, lychee and passion fruit.
Wine gift tip: If you’re thinking about gifting a whole case of wine, it’s a good idea to mix and match. Why not order a couple of expensive bottles like Barolo or Amarone, alongside a few less expensive (but still premium-class) wines like Chianti Classico Riserva, or Valpolicella Classico Superiore?
Can I send wine as a gift by post?
Yes – as long as both you and your recipient are in the UK. Royal Mail accepts packages up to 2kg, and a full bottle of wine weighs 1.25kg. With wrapping and packaging, it may come to about 1.5-1.7kg.
To send a whole case of wine, you’d need to use Parcel Force or a courier like FedEx or UPS.
Wine gift tip: If you buy wine as a gift from Independent Wine, you can have it delivered straight to the recipient’s home (or office) address. We’ll handle all the logistics of delivery so you don’t have to.
We can also gift wrap the bottles for free – just mention that you want this in your order notes. Here’s how it looks:
We typically use couriers like DHL. You, as “sender”, will get an email and text with a tracking number and will be notified when the gift has been delivered.
Can I send wine as a gift to another country?
Possibly, but the short answer is that it’s difficult. Couriers like UPS or FedEx tend to accept parcels, but whether they can deliver them is another matter.
Sending wine to Europe: Post-Brexit, sending wine gifts from the UK to private persons in the EU is prohibitively expensive. It also takes a very long time. We’ve sent whisky and wine to Portugal and France using reputable UK couriers. In both cases, parcels got stuck at the destination depot. We spent long hours on the phone with customer service, and paid exorbitant administration charges. Finally, one of them got delivered, but the other perished. In summary, we really don’t recommend going down this route.
Sending wine to the USA: it is possible, but you’ll need to use a specialist courier who can perform customs clearance in the USA. Major general-purpose couriers (for example, UPS) may take your parcel in Britain and ship it to the USA, but once it arrives they may refuse to clear it. So the parcel will eventually be “returned to sender” or destroyed. On the other hand, specialist wine couriers will carry out appropriate customs clearance. Depending on the size of your wine gift, the cost of sending it to the USA can be anywhere from £100 to £200.
If you are thinking of buying a case of wine from us and sending it as a gift to another country, email us and we will advise you if it’s feasible. As you can see, we have a lot of personal experience in that area.
How to package a wine gift if you send it by post
Bottles of wine are fragile, and it’s important to package them well as they can easily get damaged in transit. Heavy items often get stacked one on top of the other, and boxes can topple over in the back of trucks. Since a good bottle of wine may cost anywhere between £20 and £50, it makes sense to invest in good-quality packaging.
Wine gift tip: Use a triple-wall cardboard box. Such boxes are made of three-layer-think corrugated cardboard, and will provide strong protection for your wine gift.
Wrap each bottle individually really well. We don’t recommend using bubble-wrap or inflatable airsacs because they create plastic pollution. So our recommendation is to use a corrugated paper bottle sleeve. If there’s lots of empty space around the bottle, fill the box with shredded paper or loose fill, or simply add more layers of wrapping. This will stop the bottle from rattling about and hitting the sides of the box.
Wine retailers use specialist boxes designed for wine, made from strong, triple-wall cardboard. At Independent Wine we use eco-friendly Nakpack boxes for smaller deliveries. These position the bottle safely and securely for transit. Here’s how it looks:
For larger wine orders, we use heavy-duty, triple-wall cardboard boxes. We stopped using bubble-wrap and airsacs to cut down on plastic pollution in 2020, and now all of our packaging is fully recyclable.
It’s fair to say that all sorts of things can happen in transit – but with good-quality packaging you’ll improve the chances of your wine gift reaching its destination safe, intact and ready to drink.
Get in touch with us if you have any questions – we’ll be happy to help.