Every year for Christmas, my brothers and I try to come up with a cool group gift for my parents. Last year, we did a year of Netflix - which was fun because it was kind of the gift that kept on giving throughout the year.
This year, we were stumped. We considered a "cold beverage chiller" (a gadget that chills any beverage very quickly) and a couple of other household knickknacks, but we kept coming back to last years idea - the gift that keeps on giving. After some internet searching and brainstorms, we finally came up with a custom, hand-selected wine of the month.
First, we selected the 12 bottles of wine. We wanted each wine to be different - obviously a mixture of red and white, but also different varietals, wines from different geographical regions, different price points, and all different brands. Another factor we considered was which month we were placing that wine in. For example, our January bottle was called "Clean Slate Riesling". Each month had an "appropriate" kind of wine. (Get it? Clean Slate for the new year?). We also made sure that the November bottle was white (white wine pairs with turkey) and the December bottle was red (cause red is a Christmas color, obvi).
Our final list included wines from Oregon, two different vineyards in Iowa, Tuscany plus a different region in Italy, two vineyards in France, Germany, Napa Valley, Santa Barbara and Spain.
Then, because every few months I like to get all crafty-like, we decided to make custom (read: homemade) labels for each bottle of wine.
Necessary supplies to make the labels: two colors of construction paper (each color a different size), double sided tape, a hole puncher, ribbon, a pen/marker. (Those are the materials I used - the paper was leftover from my wedding guest book, and the silver marker I had on hand from my scrapbooking days. For a hole puncher, I used one hole of a 3-hole puncher. Any and all of them could be easily substituted for any craft materials that you have on hand).
The first thing I did was figure out how I was going to form each label. I had exactly 25 green cards left from the wedding, and so I paired 2 smaller, green notecards with each larger navy one (so a total of 24 green, 12 navy).
Then, I figured out what info to include. The front side of the finished notecard would contain the month (ex: JANUARY) in large, pretty handwriting. After doing a little interneting, I decided that the back side would include:
- vineyard name and wine varietal, with the region it was from
- any interesting details about that particular vineyard
- tasting notes
Going with my January example, here is what the back of that label said:
Clean Slate Riesling (Germany).
Slate stones are used to ripen the grapes because they reflect light and retain heat
Tastes of peach, crisp lime, minerals
Once I finished writing the wine details on the green notecards, I used double sided tape to smoothly affix them to the larger navy notecards. (Note that I did them in this order - writing THEN taping - because each green notecard had two sides, so I was able to use the backside as a do-over if I messed up on the front side... since it was going to be taped down, no one would be the wiser).
After taping the notecards together, I used a ruler to figure out where my hole should be punched. (In hindsight, this wasn't necessary - eye balling it would definitely be sufficient). After I hole punched, I used silver ribbon through the hole to tie each label around the neck of each wine bottle.
Here's the finished project, all laid out on my parents Christmas mantle:
Overall, I loved this project. You can make it (nearly!) as cheap or expensive as you want, depending upon wine selection. My parents sure seemed to love it, and I know they will think of us as they open each bottle throughout 2012.