How to Make a Wine Gift Basket

 In CGT Blog

Wine gift baskets make excellent personalized gifts. And they’re surprisingly easy to put together with an elegant final presentation. To assemble your gift, you’ll need a few things: a reusable basket, secure liners, wine-pairing goodies, and of course, wine!

At Chateau Grand Traverse, we create the exceptional wine for your basket and encourage you to be creative with the rest. Get started with the tips below.

Wine Gift Basket Ideas

Picking the right wine is the most important and exciting part of building your basket. The flavors and craftsmanship of your wine choices anchor the entire experience of your gift. Start by considering whether your gift recipient has a dry or sweet preference. If you’re not sure, avoid either extreme.

Choose a wine based on your friend’s preferences and wine experience level:

  • For your new wine lover (not experienced), you should consider choices that are familiar or popular. A straightforward combo for the newbies would be the 2020 Late Harvest Riesling and 2017 Silhouette Red Wine from Chateau Grand Traverse. These are a classic, creamy, fruity white with a berry-and chocolate-based red. To branch out, consider our 2019 Late Harvest Chardonnay.
  • For your seasoned wine enthusiast, choose something new and exciting for their palate. Our entire Eclectic Collection includes a unique variety of small production wines – something even the most experienced wine lover will be excited to try! Or, even more exclusive, our Small Lot Collection can’t be imitated anywhere else. Finally, Reserve Reds are the epitome of quality.  
  • For your gourmet connoisseurs, include some richer dessert-pairing wines. Something like a Cherry “Port” Reserve will satisfy a sweet tooth with its cherry-pie-like flavor. Or, if you want something still rich and sweet but more versatile, our 2018 Pinot Noir Limited combines sweet berry and chocolate notes.
  • For your practical minimalists, find some classics they’ll appreciate. Choose a traditional red or white from the CGT Vintage Collection if you want something simple but high quality. Or try our Handstand red that honors our founders with classic yet bold flavors.
  • For your adventure seekers, look for something new and exciting. An entirely creative approach to consider would be MichMash blends, which are focused on flavor rather than individual tasting notes. For something aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious, grab some outdoorsy-centric wines like Waters Sweet White Wine.

If you’re newer to the world of wine and this list is intimidating, don’t be afraid to reach out to our wine specialists at Chateau Grand Traverse or take a look at the wines our team loves to gift.

What to Put in a Wine Gift Basket (Besides Wine)

This is where you can get a little more personal with your basket goodies. Based on the recipient, your basket style, and your wine choices, you can combine some of these items:

Useful tools: wine bottle opener, wine glass, wine stopper, wine aerator, wine cooler, bottle jacket, decanter, foil cutter, cheese knife, cheese board, baking dish, or coasters.

Thoughtful additions: dry pasta with seasonings or sauce, candle, wine book, wine journal, wine-themed stickers or trinkets, winery gift certificate, mugs, decorations. (There’s a section for decoration ideas below!)

Food pairings:

With white wines…   

  • Goat cheese
  • Brie
  • Gruyere
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried mango
  • Apricot preserve
  • Honey
  • Baguette/buttery crackers
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Proscuitto
  • Soppressata
  • Milk chocolate

With red wines…

  • Sharp cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Aged parmesan
  • Dried blueberries
  • Chocolate-covered berries
  • Fig jam
  • Dijon mustard
  • Rye caraway crackers
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Salami
  • Chorizo
  • Dark chocolate

When pairing any food items to your wine choices, keep these general tips and exceptions in mind:

  • Match boldness of flavor. An exception to this rule: Avoid mixing highly salty or spicy foods with full-bodied wines.
  • High-fat foods mix well with acidic or powerful wines.
  • Salty foods mix well with acidic or sweet wines.
  • Sweet on sweet can be overpowering. If you are including stronger dessert wines in your wine gift basket, consider eliminating some of the sweet treats.

Overall, your wine should be the star of the show – so don’t include pairings that overshadow them. If you want more advice about pairing charcuterie with wine, check out this helpful guide.

How to Secure Wine Bottles in a Gift Basket

If you want your basket to have a more exposed look, set your bottles on a bed of shredded, colorful paper or tissue paper. Then secure them by strategically placing your other gift basket items around the bottles. Finally, wrap clear or colorful cellophane around the entire basket and tie it up with a fancy bow.

To keep the wine suspense high, use bottle gift wrap to cover just the wine bottles, and then secure your items around it as described. Or, to be both practical and stylish, wrap the bottles in decorative cloths or napkins. Either tie them at the top or secure them with wine bottle rings.

Basket & Decoration Options

Everyone loves a good basket, right? Your basket may be for decorative, serviceable, or functional use:

  • Decorative options: a beautiful wooden or tin basket that could function as a centerpiece.
  • Serviceable options: a picnic basket, wooden crate, or chest.
  • Functional options: a reusable storage basket with handles or compartments.

Here are some wine gift basket decoration ideas:

  • Use a fun color scheme for most of the items. (You could even match the wine label!)
  • Use complementary textures and materials, like light wood and metal.
  • Place your treats in matching jars.
  • Include a plant.
  • Add an earth-toned towel.

Holiday Wine Gift Basket Ideas

If you’re gifting your basket during a holiday, adjust your decorations and items to fit that theme. During the winter holidays, you can add ornaments, peppermint candies, gourmet popcorns, holiday cookies, and hot chocolate. Don’t forget the festive bows, wrapping, or even faux pine garlands to secure items.

Ready to Build a Wine Gift Basket?

Now you’re ready to step up your gifting game this year for the people you care about!

While we don’t offer premade wine gift baskets at Chateau Grand Traverse, we are dedicated to creating the most exceptional wine for you to start with. So shop our wines, and if you have any questions about our offerings, please reach out to our passionate team of wine experts.