Gift Guide from the Wine School

Posted by Keith Wallace

Wine Gift Certificate

Wine School of Philadelphia

The irony of my job is that I’d probably drink a lot more if it weren’t for the high caliber of our students. Self-obsessed wine snobs depress me, which is why we are always looking for more folks like you

If you have wine-loving folks on your gift list, maybe send them one of our gift certificates?  They will love it, and I won’t resort to freebasing Zoloft.

Old City Canning Co.

Old City Canning Co.

When Stanford told me his plans for Old City Canning Co, I was skeptical. Why’s this dude making candles?  But then he busted one out, and it all made sense.

The guy’s aced his Sommelier certification and is only a few months from earning his Advanced Somm degree, too. He knows scents as few people do.  And he’s killing it.   “Campfire” is a personal favorite, but the “Driftwood & Moss” is a fantastic background scent for dinner, especially if you pop open a bottle of Pinot Noir.

Locally made candles hand-crafted by a Sommelier? This is an awesome gift.  Check it out here:

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Swarovski Encrusted Wine Key

During last summer’s Wine Instructor Certification program, one of the top sommeliers in the program pulled out this bad boy, and I was smitten with the bling. I’ve been using one ever since, especially when famous winemakers visit. It’s pretty much guaranteed to banish all snobbery from the proceedings.   Check it out here:

Wine & Spirits Books

Is it wrong to still love books so much? 

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Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure

A delightful trip down memory lane. Or more precisely, a stumble down the murky recollections of one saucy author. Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall delves deep into the myths and traditions of the morning after. Written with wit and backed with solid academic research, Hungover is the book we all will need this holiday season.   Via Amazon.

Tasting The Past

Science writer Kevin Begos (Scientific American, New York Times) has crafted an epic journey into the center of wine history. This book is now the defacto standard for teaching wine history at the Wine School.  A deep and compelling book that barbecues some sacred cows while serving up some much-needed scientific rigor. Bravo! Amazon Link

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How to Import Wine, Second Edition

Starting in the early ’90s, Deborah Gray was importing top-tier wines from Australia to the United States. She introduced Schild Estate and Torbreck to American wine lovers long before the low-rent kangaroos jumped across the globe.

Since released in 2011, the first edition has been the essential guide to wine importing. Many laws and procedures have changed in the past seven years, and this edition is a welcome update. If you are thinking of importing (or exporting) wine, this book will be a critical part of your education. Amazon link

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101 Wines to Try Before You Die

This year, some of our suggestions for wine books have been extremely geeky. That comes with the terroir, kiddo. If you are looking for a more hedonistic read, I’d suggest 101 Wines. Be warned: make sure you have a few bucks in your pocket before you pick it up: you’ll be tempted to buy every wine in this book.

I have a deep respect for Marget Rand, and her wine choices are well-considered. If all you drink are these 101 wines, then you’ve lived well.   Amazon link

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Whiskey America

If you’ve been around the world of whiskey, then the name Michael Jackson will drop you into the golden realm of single-malt nostalgia. He was the poet laureate of all things whisk(e)y, and his book, The Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, was the trade’s bible.  

With his passing in 2007, the authorship of the tome went to Dominic Roskrow. Over the past few years, he’s come out of Jackson’s shadow and is rightfully known as the greatest living whiskey writer.

If you want to keep up with ongoing trends in American Whiskey, pick up this book. It is one of the top reference books I use for my bourbon tasting classes—Amazon link

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The Bourbon Bible

Eric Zandona has an awesome job. He’s the Director of Spirits Information for the American Distilling Institute, a trade group for craft distillers.  He also writes for their in-house publishing group, White Mule Press. The Bourbon Bible is perfect for the new –or newly passionate– drinker of fine bourbon.  The history, the essential bottles, and a compendium of great cocktails are between the pages—Amazon link.

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