Wine Gift – It’s All In The Name

My youngest grandson was born on his paternal grandfather’s birthday. His first grandchild born on his 60th birthday. The best gift ever.

Peter and I shopped for a special wine to commemorate the double special occasion and found the perfect bottle.

Legacy Wine

This got me to thinking about other wines which could be given as gifts based on the name of the wine.

For example,

Let’s say you are looking for a wine gift to say “bon voyage” to a friend. How about a bottle from En Route, makers of wonderful Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California?

Or, you could wrap up a bottle of Sojourn Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, also from Sonoma, California.

Sojourn wine

Even the image on the bottle suggests a vacation!

Retirement? I recommend Ayoub Memoirs Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Do you know someone who is starting a new endeavor? How about a bottle of Pursuit Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir or Red Blend. These wines are produced by the wonderful folks at Bounty Hunter in Napa.

Need a gift for a law school graduate or to celebrate passing the bar exam? Bounty Hunter also makes Jurisprudence Red Blend.

Jurisprudence Red Wine

There are many, many wines named after members of the winemaker’s family. Perhaps one of these would fit the bill for a birthday or new baby gift:

Domaine Drouhin “Arthur” Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Foxen “Julia’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley area of Santa Barbara County.

Rudd “Samantha’s” Cabernet Sauvignon from the Oakville area of Napa Valley.

Lewis Cellars “Ethan’s” Syrah, “Mason’s” Cabernet Sauvignon or “Alec’s” Red Wine Blend – just a few of the fabulous wines made in Napa and Sonoma by former Formula One race car driver, Randy Lewis.

Lewis Cellars Mason's

Hall “Ellie’s” Cabernet Sauvignon, “Jack’s Masterpiece” Cabernet Sauvignon or “Craig’s Cuvee” Red Wine Blend from Napa Valley.

Hall Jack's Masterpiece

Walt Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Walt is owned by Hall Wines and produces wines from several spots along the Pacific Coast from California to Oregon.

Walt Wines

Hartford Court “Jennifer’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.

Hartford Court Jennifer's Vineyard

Or maybe something a little different…

Eighty Four Wines Malbec or Syrah from Napa Valley.

Nickel & Nickel (Single Vineyard) Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay from Napa for someone celebrating their 55th birthday. Nickel & Nickel, get it?

Nickel & Nickel

Martinelli “Three Sisters Vineyard” Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from Sonoma.

Wallis Family Estate “Little Sister” Proprietary Red Blend from Napa.

Wallis Little Sister

Maybe you are looking for a “just because” wine gift.

Just because…

…your friend has great memories of times in New Orleans (or is a fan of Davy Crockett): Fess Parker “The Big Easy” Red Blend from Santa Barbara.

…your friend is facing a big challenge: Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

…you want to celebrate the resolution of “a situation”: Poetic Justice Red Wine, another great wine from Bounty Hunter.

Poetic Justice

…you know someone with a soft spot in their heart for “Old Blue Eyes”: Sinatra Family “Come Fly With Me” Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

…you want to show your love: Hall “Coeur” Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

Hall Coeur

These are just a few ideas based on wines we have in our cellar. All or most of these are available for purchase online directly from the winery.

Do you have more ideas to add to the list? Something you have seen in your local wine store or given as a gift yourself?

By the way, just a hint for my family and friends…

Shotbox wine bottle photo


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The Mall of Mom

Happy December 8th! Our family knows this as Nick Rose Day but that’s a story for another time.

Yesterday when I said that today’s post would be about holiday music I was just kidding. My bad. That’s what you have to look forward to on Day 10.

Today I’ll fill you in on one of my family’s gift giving traditions as Kelly and I celebrate December and decorate our

Partners in a Pair Tree.

Our two children are the oldest grandchildren. As such, they were generously showered with gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles. Very early on, our kids started wanting to reciprocate in some small way to show their appreciation for the gifts they received.

Walt and Annie would take a few dollars saved up from their allowance and go shopping.

This shopping trip would usually take us to the grocery store or Venture (our version of Target before Target was invented). They would buy a pen for Uncle PJ and a package of shortbread cookies for Uncle Alex, things like that.

Sometimes they would use their allowance to buy supplies to make handmade items.

All of the presents were gifts from the heart, given with appreciation and love.

This worked beautifully for years but as the kids got older they wanted to step up their game. You can only give Uncle PJ a writing utensil each year for a few years until he has a complete set and you want to move on to something else.

Problem was, that “something else” was surely going to cost more than their budgets would allow.

That’s when I started The Mall of Mom.

The Mall of Mom

Each year I would hit up the after Christmas sales and pick up a few things, priced at 75% off, that might be good gifts for the aunts and uncles the following year. Then I’d keep a look out during the year for little things to add to The Mall of Mom inventory.

Come December, the kids would shop for a few things at The Mall of Mom – in which everything is priced at 100% off retail. After checking a few folks off their list with presents from The Mall of Mom, their allowance would go farther in buying gifts for the rest.

The Mall of Mom was a simple and inexpensive way that I could help our kids keep up their tradition of acknowledging the generosity of all family members.

As Walt and Annie grew older and got jobs, they no longer shopped at The Mall of Mom.

That didn’t stop me from continuing to add to its inventory.

For many years I would fill the shelves with little fun things to send in care packages to college students, my own and friends’. I would pick up cute, inexpensive items as I saw them to have a ready supply as needed.

In the current phase of my life, The Mall of Mom has evolved into a place to collect future hostess gifts. Too often I would find myself, on the day of a party, racing around looking for the perfect thing to bring.  Now I just open the drawer and shop from my own supply.

Believe it or not there are those rare occasions for which wine is not the answer.

Who knows, perhaps before too long The Mall of Mom might become The Mall of Grandma as the family tradition continues with the next generation.

Partners in a Pair Tree Day 8

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10 Commandments of Grandparent Gift Giving

How sweet was yesterday’s Kelly post about Henry and Meredith’s snow globe?  Today it’s my turn again as I bring you day six of:

Partners in a Pair Tree – Kelly and Mo Celebrate December

In the almost 15 months since I became a grandmother, I’ve come to realize a few things about grandparent gift giving. Now remember, my 10 Commandments are just my thoughts and suggestions and are not meant to come across as bossy.

Although calling them commandments definitely reads “BOSSY” in all caps.

Oh well, here goes.

Grandparent Gift Giving

1.  Parents get veto power – always.

As noted in my grandmother manifesto, this is the golden rule of grandparent behavior.  Sometimes we think it is our prerogative to spoil or grandchildren and buy them things their parents say no to.  Not a good plan.

Please seek input from the parents before buying a drum set or a chemistry kit or some toy with 10 million pieces.

2.  Follow the age guidelines on packages.

Of course we all know that our grandchildren are profoundly gifted and capable of tasks far beyond their years but keep in mind those age ranges are put on toys for a reason. It might be that there are small parts that would be dangerous in little hands or the toy might require assembly that would create unnecessary frustration without the right level of fine motor skills development.

3.  Always include batteries.  

Actually this should be a guiding principal for all gift giving.

4.  If thank you notes are important to you, let the parents know.

Writing thank you notes is a wonderful and valuable skill to learn.  But it’s up to the parents to teach and encourage that skill. Don’t blame the kids if they’ve never been taught. And maybe don’t make thank you notes a condition for future gifts. That’s a little passive-aggressive, no?

5.  Quality not Quantity is important.

Your grandchildren will not measure your love by the number of packages under the tree. What’s important is your thoughtfulness.

6.  Don’t play favorites.

I know that girls are easier to shop for than boys and that younger children are easier to shop for than teenagers but that doesn’t mean that you should shortchange your 16 year-old grandson in favor of his 3 year-old sister. No favorites – even if you really do have a favorite – which you shouldn’t.  (Boy, the bossy-meter is really lighting up on this one.)

7.  Time with you is sometimes the best present of all.

Consider a gift of a special day with grandma and grandpa. Maybe you can start a new tradition of a trip to the zoo or out to lunch.  Your grandchildren get your undivided attention and their parents get a little time to themselves. It’s a gift for both.

8.  Consider a gift for the future. 

Does your grandchild have a saving account? Or a college fund? How about contributing a little to that each year. Even at today’s super low interest rates, money left in a savings account for 18 years will grow and grow.

9.  Start a gift tradition.

As my kids were growing up, Peter’s parents gave them an ornament each year.  Each one is a sweet reminder of their childhood. My friend Nora’s sister gave each of her nieces and nephews a set of Christmas pajamas every year (and not the pink fuzzy bunny footie pajamas that Ralphie’s grandma gave in The Christmas Story). These are the kinds of traditions that are appreciated by children more and more as they grow up.

10.  Whatever you do, do it with love.

No matter your budget, no matter your circumstances, all that is really important is the love you show for your grandchildren. They will feel it and it will bring them great comfort and joy.

Love, comfort and joy.  Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

Did I miss anything? Be honest, was I too bossy? Do you have a gift tradition in your family?

Partners in a Pair Tree

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Powerless Over Gift Shops

I am powerless over gift shops.  People like me are the reason that the clever folks at Disney World have every ride exit into a themed gift shop.

On my girlfriends’ getaway trip to Montana, as you might imagine, we hit up a few local shops.  I’m really trying to scale back, get rid of stuff and avoid buying more dust collectors. But I’ve been drawn to pieces that have sayings on them, particularly when they make me giggle like this one which Ellen and I each bought off the sale rack.


Or this one that Ellen bought for the Montana house because it so perfectly summed up the feeling of the place.

Less Stress

I’m not much of a souvenir gal. I generally let my photos serve that purpose. I resisted the temptation to buy this shirt.

bear shirt

Instead, I picked up a t-shirt from a great little cafe we dined in and a coffee mug from Cowgirl Coffee – a spot we drove through sometimes twice a day to get our caffeine fix.  I figure these mementos will have more meaning to me than a generic “Montana” sweatshirt, even one displaying survival tips.

On our very last day, we rode the chairlift up to the top of the mountain by Ellen’s house to, you’ll never guess what, a gift shop in the mountaintop ski lodge! One thing I’ve noticed since becoming a grandmother: I am drawn to the baby section of stores like a moth to a flame.  It’s like kryptonite. There are just so darn many adorable baby things, even for boys! Like this cute little number that the shopkeeper was kind enough to find in duplicate since I was shopping for twins.

duck duck moose

We headed back to the house for one last evening of laughter, wine and trying to fit everything into our luggage.  One last evening view of Glacier and our trip came to an end.

Night view of Glacier

Farewell Paddy O’Moose.  We look forward to visiting you again!


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