Sip Tripper

Best gifts to bring to your Holiday Host(ess)

Cheers to social gatherings this holiday season

As the holiday season approaches and vaccinated family and friends gather together again, the etiquette of bringing a gift for your host or hostess may have slipped your mind. After all, it’s been a while since we’ve attended holiday parties, right? Or perhaps you remembered but can’t think of a special something to bring.

Now is the time to place your online orders and stock up for the holidays. To make it even easier, here are a few bottles of gratitude sure to impress the host of any gathering… links to purchase included to make it even easier to shop!


Guinigi Prosecco Rosé ($17)

At the top of the list, a bottle of Guinigi Prosecco Rosé is filled with sparkling wine produced in Treviso and Fruili Venezia Guilia, Italy. This wine is a blend of Prosecco (glera grape) and Pinot Noir, the latter grape to produce the pink color. This is considered a Spumante Brut and it pairs perfectly with a creamy vegetable risotto – or platter of sushi. It’s also a great palate cleanser due to its robust acidity.

La Gioiosa Prosecco

All glera grape, this floral forward sparkling is flavorful with fruits on the palate that suggest a ripened apple. It’s considered “off-dry,” meaning a bit sweeter than most dry sparkling wines. This is a great sparkling to serve with shellfish. The bottle is absolutely stunning and your host is sure to be impressed.

Vido Vodka made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo by Charlene Peters

Vido Vodka made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo by Charlene Peters

Vido Vodka (34.99)

Wine tasting has elevated to a new level with Vido Vodka, an 80 proof vodka made with… wait for it… wine estate grapes! You heard it right... Cabernet Sauvignon grapes distilled to make vodka! The son of Arvid “Vido” Monson achieved this feat of hand-crafting small batch Vido premium vodka from his Goose Ridge Estate vineyard in Washington State. He harvested the grapes, fermented them to a dry level, and then distilled the yield in small batches… 24 times. It tastes like vodka with a bit of flavor, yet it’s not a flavored vodka – when you get notes of red wine, you’ll understand why this is a vodka that pleases palates that normally don’t care for this spirit. Some say it tastes more like a cordial. It has a thicker viscosity than a typical vodka, tastes great on ice, and it makes some pretty tasty cocktails. Try the Blackberry Vido Spritzer and you’ll agree. Vido Vodka is definitely a conversation starter at any social gathering.

Duck Pond Pinot Noir ($19)

Bring a bottle of Natural Wine to any holiday gathering, and you’ll have lots to talk about. The debate is real. Is there such a thing as natural wine? Duck Pond believes… and has a 2020 rosé ($16) and a 2020 pinot noir that tastes extraordinarily “clean.” Yes. There. It has been noted. It’s a head-scratching category – ambiguous and provocative. This Willamette Valley Oregon wine is definitely not processed like a lot of wines in the $10 and under category (the wines that give you a headache because they’re processed). Duck Pond grapes are organically farmed and then fermented with a native yeast. And like most artisanal wines, it does not contain any additives other than sulfur at the bottling stage. Pure and simple, look for the screwcap bottles with the “clean label” of natural certification on the label… right next to the flying duck.

Cameron Hughes Lot 841 Reggiano Lambrusco ($15)

Another “sort of” sparkling something is a fun Lambrusco, which hails from one of the best places in the world to get cheese… Reggio Emilia. American negociant Cameron Hughes has introduced Lot 841, which is more of a frizzante, meaning semi-sparkling. Most Americans recall the one brand, Reunite, available in a jug, and it tasted like Welch’s grape juice. This Lambrusco is delicious with any red-sauce dish or pizza and is a fun conversation wine.

Saint Laurent "Majorelle" produced by The Vice, Napa Valley. Photo by Charlene Peters

Saint Laurent "Majorelle" produced by The Vice, Napa Valley. Photo by Charlene Peters

The Vice 2019 Saint Laurent "Majorelle", Napa Valley ($38)

Talk about a conversation wine. With pizza and good friends, even better. Have you heard of the Saint Laurent grape? A bottle of “Majorelle” will definitely lead the social banter by simply asking how many people have heard of this grape. The wine is wonderful... chill it and enjoy the delicate, yet intense flavor profile of violets, baking spices and blackberries... even a bit of cocoa and leather. Considered a mystery grape, Saint Laurent is sort of an off-shoot of pinot noir.

Dutcher Crossing 2016 Blanc de Blancs

A California sparkling wine can rival any Champagne, and one particular bottle of proof is a Dutcher Crossing 2016 Blanc de Blancs made with grapes grown in Sonoma County’s famous Alexander Valley. This “white of whites” is good to lay down in your cellar for up to a decade, but if you want to taste now, you’ll get the lemon, green apple and yeasty brioche that will subtly increase over the years. For now, enjoy a bottle with a plate of oysters or triple cream brie cheese.

Windsor Vineyards Brut Rosé Sparkling ($32)

A custom label will wow the guests at any social gathering, and Windsor Vineyards makes the process simple. Why not bring a non-vintage Brut Rosé Sparkling, made in Methode Champenoise (second fermentation in the bottle) with grapes grown on the North Coast. Aromas of honeysuckle and per lead to a palate of crisp watermelon and a finish of grapefruit. Refreshing and ready for you to grab your favorite brie cheese and bake it with fruit. Ready to pair with a flute or two? Cheers!

Charlene Peters, a.k.a. Sip Tripper, is a travel and wine writer living in the Boston area. She is author of "Tastes of Travel: Tales of tastes & indigenous recipes to share," available on Amazon. Email her at