Cocktail Corner: Top Shelf Gifts

Posted on Dec 12 by Leslie Dinaberg

Courtesy Grassini

Grassini Winery offers one of the many local wine clubs, a great gift idea for just about anyone! Photo courtesy Grassini.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg |

It’s that most wonderful time of the year once again—from wine clubs to spirits, to gifts that give back and ideas that are sure to impress—here are some of our favorite holiday gift ideas for just about everyone on your list.

It’s Not a Gang; It’s a Club…

A wine club, that is, which is the perfect gift for all of the wine drinkers on your list. You can’t go wrong with so many great wineries in Santa Barbara County. One of our favorites is Carr Winery, which offers three different options, including the red wine only Luxury Club, which includes six bottles of new releases as well as one bottle made exclusively for club members. Members also get a free tastings at the totally cool Quonset hut tasting room, access to private events, a 20% discount on wine purchases, logo items and private parties, and when you refer your friends you receive a free bottle of wine.

Carr Winery barrel room, courtesy photo

Carr Winery barrel room, courtesy photo

Grassini Family Vineyards offers four different wine club options, all of which include discounts on shipments and purchases, complimentary tastings for you and your guests in their charming downtown tasting room in historic El Paseo, club exclusive events as well as complimentary or discounted tickets to other special events and priority access to limited-production bottlings. For more information on local wine clubs, visit Santa Barbara Vintners,


Drink to Your Health

Bluecoat American Dry Gin, courtesy photo

Bluecoat American Dry Gin, courtesy photo

Gin lovers will appreciate a prescription for Bluecoat American Dry Gin, a beautiful blue bottle that not only tastes delicious and looks impressive on your bar, but also is made from organic juniper berries, which have spicy, earthy notes instead of the pungent pine-tree flavors of regular berries. Juniper, found in all gin, is reputed to relieve bloating cramping and gas.

Give Back

Almost anyone will appreciate a gift of wine or spirits, but why not up the ante a bit with gifts that give back to worthy causes at the same time.

For example, Stemmari Wines is partnering with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF). The Sicilian wine brand will donate part of their proceeds in support of the SOWF programs to benefit the military’s special operation forces and their families. This Stemmari lineup won’t break you bank, either, as all are less than $15. Wines include

Fonseca Bin 27 in Artist Series gift box, courtesy photo

Fonseca Bin 27 in Artist Series gift box, courtesy photo

Stemmari Nero d’Avola, Stemmari Pinot Grigio, Stemmari Pinot Noir, Stemmari Moscato, Stemmari Baci Vivaci (100% Grillo), Stemmari Dalila (80% Grillo, 20% Viognier) and Stemmari Contodoro (80% Nero d’Avola, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon).


Also worth checking out is Fonseca’s 2014 Limited Edition BIN 27 Erik Parker Artist Series, which showcases Parker’s creative water-inspired art and Fonseca BIN 27’s support for the Waterkeeper Alliance and their mission to advocate for environmental issues surrounding our waterways. This delicious ruby port is perfect for a cold winter’s night, and a purchase will support the needs of our environment.

Teeling Small Batch 750ml Whiskey, courtesy photo

Teeling Small Batch 750ml Whiskey, courtesy photo


A Twist on the Traditional

Since 1782 the Teeling family has been crafting Teeling Irish Whiskey, a small batch bottling that consists of hand selected casks, which are given further maturation in Flor de Cana Rum barrels, giving this whiskey an extra sweet and smooth rum-finished vanilla flavor.


For the Man or Woman Who Has Everything

Hall Wine's Gift of Indulgence

Hall Wine’s Gift of Indulgence

If (lucky you) money is no object, for a mere $18,000 HALL Wines offers a “Gift of Indulgence,” pairing wine with experiences that are sure to impress. The package from owners Craig & Kathryn Hall (Kathryn is most known for being our United States Ambassador to Austria under the Clinton administration as well as being a lifelong vintner, and Craig is the author of business-focused books and owns HALL Financial) includes first class airfare for two to and from Napa; a three-night stay at the new luxury boutique SENZA in Napa Valley; private tours of multiple vineyards and a wine blending session with HALL’s award winning winemaking team, led by Steve Leveque, among other perks.


A Weekend in Wine Heaven

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

The World of Pinot Noir comes back to the Bacara Resort March 6-7, and is a must attend for pinot lovers. This fabulous annual event includes two days of in-depth tasting seminars and excursions, grand tastings, a Burgundy seminar and tasting and gourmet, locally influenced lunches and dinners. I had so much fun at last year’s event; I can’t wait for this one!

Santa, I hope you’re reading this.


Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”


« »

Browse similar topics:

Cocktail Corner, Drink, Web Exclusives, Wineries

Related Posts