15 great drinks gifts to give to friends and family this Christmas

The Four Pillars Australian Christmas Gin and tea towel.
The Four Pillars Australian Christmas Gin and tea towel. Photo: Supplied

A great gift is a thoughtfully chosen one. These drinks-related goodies will add wow factor under the Christmas tree this year.

Grab a Jimmy

Small, family-owned Grampians winery Fallen Giants won the 2021 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy on December 3 with their 2019 Fallen Giants Shiraz. Take a bow winemaker Justin Purser. At $35 a bottle, this is possibly the best-value wine gift out there right now. Be quick, there's a limit of six bottles per person. fallengiants.com.au

The smell of print

Independent wine magazine Veraison was created by Moira Tirtha, who works at Melbourne wine merchant Blackhearts & Sparrows. It was launched during Melbourne's lockdowns, with the hope to create a space where learning about wine feels like a conversation between friends. $25 an issue, veraisonmag.com

Home grown

The team at Sydney bottle shop Winona specialise in natural wine, craft beer and artisan spirits. Their Winona Wine Packs take things up a notch with goodies of the edible and drinkable kind. The Home Grown gift pack includes Ziggy's Wild Dandelion and Pickled Magnolia Petal Drinking Shrub (arguably the most interesting non-alcohol beverage on the market right now), Warndu saltbush leaf and Mabu Mabu Kara Meta mint tea, Fallow Olio olive oil, a bottle of Fin x Winona "Finona" Rosé, and a speckled stoneware wine tumbler by Newcastle artist Nancy Galea. $159 a pack, winonawine.com

Board game Tipsy Trivia.
For Katie Spain Christmas gifts story, Good Food, Dec 14, 2021

Bring friends together with Tipsy Trivia. Photo: Angus Northeast

Tipsy trivia nights

Advertisement

When Stephen Rimmer was made redundant after COVID lockdowns hit Australia, he launched Tipsy Trivia, a game aimed at bringing people together – no matter where they live. Each box includes four mystery bottles of wine and four rounds of general trivia questions. "It's the cob loaf of a social setting," Rimmer says. "It is designed to be shared, everyone will want a piece, and things get messy if you let them." From $99, grapeguru.com.au

Unreal Wine Club

It's the gift that keeps giving. Biodynamic and organic Margaret River wine brand Blind Corner's quarterly wine subscription delivers 12-packs of difficult-to-find, exclusive organic/biodynamic wines to your door. The club is an extension of owner Ben Gould's Real Wine People podcast and includes wines by the likes of Dormilona, Si Vintners, Express Winemakers, and Blind Corner's exciting drops. Availability is super limited so it's first in, best dressed. Delivery is free nationwide. $350 per quarter, blindcorner.com.au/unrealwineclub

Journey through time (and whisky)

Winemaker and Full Circle Spirits distiller Rose Kentish recently launched the Maiden Whisky Experience, a three-year immersive whisky journey comprising seminars, VIP events and tastings. It begins with the delivery of a bottle of the Maiden New Make (a rich malt spirit, barrelled for 30 days in bourbon, muscat and apera oak before bottling), a crystal whisky tumbler, a plinth made by artist Oakey (using timber reclaimed from the 2020 Adelaide Hills bushfires), a certificate of authentication created by artist Amy Joy Watson, and a guided tasting with Kentish. About 18 to 24 months later, another bottle arrives in time for a guided tasting that delves into how the oak is shaping the whisky. When the final product is ready for release (about a year later), participants will receive a 500mL bottle of Full Circle Maiden Whisky. Available to 300 participants only. $1500, fullcirclespirits.com.au

Fegg dishwasher-safe tumblers are made from FDA-approved food-grade silicone.
For Katie Spain Christmas gifts story, Good Food, Dec 14, 2021

Fegg dishwasher-safe tumblers are made from food-grade silicone. Photo: Supplied

The unbreakable

One for anyone who regularly breaks glassware (guilty as charged). Fegg silicone tumblers are a portable, foldable, sustainable option for a tipple on the beach, at a picnic, in the backyard, at a campsite, or in the pool. They are cute as a button, made from FDA-approved food grade silicone and are dishwasher safe. From $24.99 for a set of two. Find them at Porter Green (portergreen.com.au), Australian Museum (shop.australian.museum), and Winona Wine (winonawine.com)

Sip and save

Don't want to drink that special bottle all at once? The new Coravin Pivot is a nifty gadget that preserves wine for up to four weeks. It can be used on virtually any still wine (in a nutshell, the cork, screw cap, glass stopper, or any other closure is replaced by the Pivot Stopper and the wine is poured via the device). $185, coravin.com.au

A festive tipple

The Four Pillars Australian Christmas Gin was distilled with Christmas puddings and aged for a year in 100-year-old muscat barrels. Sip it neat, mix it with ginger ale or beer, or pop it in a festive cocktail. The gin can be purchased solo ($100) or with a linen tea towel featuring prawns and pavlova. $120, fourpillarsgin.com

Taylor and Smith Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky with reusable display case.
For Katie Spain Christmas gifts story, Good Food, Dec 14, 2021

Taylor and Smith Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky. Photo: Jesse Hunniford

Creative spirit

You could buy Taylor and Smith Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky on its own ($165) but that would be foolish because the optional display case is spectacular. Tasmanian creative Megan Perkins designed the bright, angular, contemporary packaging. For her efforts, it won first prize for Australia at the international Dieline Awards for dark spirit whisky packaging design. The latest release dropped on December 8. $195 with the reusable display case ($10 flat-rate express shipping on all orders Australia-wide), taylorandsmith.com.au

Warney's drop

For relatives more into cricket than Christmas pud, Shane Warne's SevenZeroEight range might be more fitting. The SevenZeroEight Classic Dry Gin won gold at the Australian Gin Awards 2021 for the second time running. It was made in Western Australia and at 43 per cent alcohol, will put some fire in backyard cricket participants' bellies. $79.99, 708gin.com.au

Make your own rosé

The creative team at Austin's Wines launch the inaugural 6Ft6 Rosé Academy after the success of the winery's Rent a Vine winemaking experience where participants tend their own row of vines and create a pinot noir or chardonnay. The Rosé Academy is devoted to the pink stuff. Over three separate sessions, participants pick the pinot noir, partake in grape-stomping, design their own label, taste wine from the tank and enjoy a leisurely lunch, paint their wine label and attend a release party for their personalised case of rosé (comprising 13 bottles, including a magnum). It all takes place at the Moorabool Valley winery near Geelong, Victoria). Limited to 60 participants, $2400/single or $3600/couple. 6Ft6wine.com

Travelling Sommelier's Yarra Valley-inspired candle.
For Katie Spain Christmas gifts story, Good Food, Dec 14, 2021

Samantha Payne's Travelling Sommelier candles. Photo: Supplied

This little light of mine

Sydney-based sommelier and wine communicator Samantha Payne doesn't just wax lyrical about wine. She also slings candles inspired by wine regions. Her Travelling Sommelier Range includes the Yarra Valley Candle, a blend of sweet orange (distilled into gin at Four Pillars distillery), clove, juniper and ylang ylang. Close your eyes and dream of Victoria. $45, fullglasses.com/products

A thing of beauty

Online store DRNKS puts a spotlight on sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wine and sends bottles all over Australia. The site also has a section devoted to "not-DRNKS", including beautiful vessels handmade from amber borosilicate glass. The Maison Balzac J'ai Soif carafe comes with a tumbler and inspired by traditional drinkware sets displayed on bedside tables in France ($89). DRNKS recently opened the doors to its new bricks-and-mortar bottle shop in Alexandria, NSW, so you can browse the shelves in real life if you're nearby. drnks.com

A special drop

Nothing screams "I love you" like an exquisite bottle of wine. Of all the drops tasted this year, the Yelland and Papps 2016 Limited Cuvée Roussanne was my highlight. Michael and Susan Papps make small-batch, minimal intervention wines on their charming family-run Barossa Valley estate. They embrace old, artisan winemaking techniques and opt for natural yeast and whole cluster fermentation, favour skin contact, and shirk filtration or fining. It all means texture and greater expression of terroir. The Roussanne (a white variety originally from Rhône, France) is sublime. The Limited Cuvée project is an exercise in time and patience and also includes the Yelland & Papps 2014 Limited Cuvée Grenache (317 days on skins) and Yelland & Papps 2014 Limited Cuvée Shiraz (318 days on skins). 50 dozen of each wine is available. $92 per bottle, $496 per six-pack. yellandandpapps.com