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What to bring to a 'wine party' with limited funds?

shiro miso Aug 3, 2007 09:38 AM

Hi everyone,

I have been invited to a garden wine party at someone's home, who I KNOW has a great cellar.

I have a limited budget and limited wine knowledge. Is there something other than wine that I could bring with me (not food... it's being catered) or perhaps there is a great bottle out there around $30?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Here's a couple of options from the LCBO website I found - is a Valpolicella appropriate?


or Prosecco?


  1. mcel215 Aug 4, 2007 09:30 AM

    This may be just me, but my lack of knowledge on wine would steer me clear away from gifting a person who is a collector. That doesn't mean I wouldn't trust a good somolier, but.......... it would be a chance that I wouldn't take. Assuming your bringing it is a gift, and not to drink that day. I also wouldn't chance that, since the host most likely has this all covered.

    I try to think of a theme, and go from there.

    A trip to Williams-Sonoma usually helps me here. Margarita mix, with glasses, mix and sea salt, was around $30 dollars for an engaged couple.

    A trip to a gourmet coffee stand with a bag of coffee, expresso, and a magazine was another.

    I have also bought specialty liquors, for other gifts.

    I am sure your host will be happy whatever you chose. Have fun.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mcel215
      drumwine Aug 4, 2007 11:19 AM

      Chicago Mike is on the right track...Moscato d'Asti is a great idea....low funds, great for geeks or laymen...also recommend sparking Shiraz, particularly the Majella '04. Goes with everything, and you'll be the only one with it. Around $30 (US).

      1. re: drumwine
        Robert Lauriston Aug 5, 2007 12:47 PM

        I had my first taste of sparkling shiraz the other night, and thought it was pretty awful.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          zin1953 Aug 5, 2007 01:00 PM

          As with all wines, there are some good ones, and some bad ones. I've had about two dozen different exmaples, and liked about 4-6.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            drumwine Aug 8, 2007 12:35 AM

            try the Majella '04 and get back to me....

      2. c
        chrisinroch Aug 4, 2007 06:47 AM

        Sounds like the theme is italian?? A nice moscato is really a great value. Going off the board, what about biscotti and a nice italian roast coffee that they could enjoy for breakfast the next morning. A double action waiters cork pull is available online and you can never have enough of them. Or maybe if they are foodies...some hard to find specialty ingredients like black truffles, nice olive oil, really old balsamico.

        1. leanneabe Aug 3, 2007 06:41 PM

          Is the wine you're bringing something for the hosts or something to be enjoyed during the party? If it's the latter, I would say go to a local wine shop and ask for a nice rose (or something you enjoy drinking, too) - they'll have some good recommendations in the $20-30 range. Sometimes even our local BevMo has knowlegeable staff.

          If it's something for your hosts to keep and enjoy later, champagne is nice and is easier to pick than all the varieties of wine. Again, a wine shop staff person should be able to recommend something.

          Just because they have an awesome wine cellar doesn't mean they turn their nose up at $10 wines. We went to a party where the house was literally the 4th house (not on the left or right, just the 4th house) behind a gate house and the 5th house had another gate before his house! The hosts had a very cool wine cellar accessible by a "secret" door in the dining room and had vintages I've never even seen before. What did we enjoy with our appetizers? Coors light, wine from a local winery (Temecula), and some others that were nice but not outrageous to drink. And they really talked up the local winery wines (which I like, too, so it made me feel like I knew something).

          I wouldn't worry too much about it. If they're your friends they'll enjoy your company more, and if they're just acquaintances then it shouldn't matter much whether they think your wine pick is on some Top 10 list.


          2 Replies
          1. re: leanneabe
            Chicago Mike Aug 3, 2007 08:45 PM

            Bring a bottle of Moscato d'Asti (or two). It's inexpensive, has a great 'party" taste, can be drank before, during or after a meal (great with many desserts)... and it's something that nobody else is likely to bring.


            1. re: Chicago Mike
              Luthien Aug 8, 2007 07:21 PM

              Sadly, one really needs to know what the preference is of the host and the attendees to know what they'll enjoy or possibly thumb their nose at. I am very fond of Moscato d'Asti, but the wine gathering I went to, they were all about bourdeux and didn't like Moscato d'Asti because it tasted like pop to them. I would have been better off enjoying it in my own house rather than having them scoff at it and watching them waste glasses by pouring into the earth because they were more into reds and dryer wines.

          2. Sam Fujisaka Aug 3, 2007 06:31 PM

            soup soybean paste, put your funds in the hands of one the who loves you! Go to a good wine shop, tell them what you've said above, and trust them to give you what you need.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
              zin1953 Aug 4, 2007 09:10 AM

              Going to a good wine shop in the land of the LCBO is close to embarking on a search for the Holy Grail . . .

              HOWEVER, Sam has absolutely the right idea! You can go into a Vintages location, or trust the folks at a "regular" LCBO outlet.

              I, too, am puzzled as to why everything is Italian . . . is that a prerequisite? If not, the Cloudy Bay SB would be a good option; so, too, would be a bottle of Prosecco or Champagne. For a "garden party," I'd be more inclined to go for something sparkling, a white or a rosé -- but that's me.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                shiro miso Aug 7, 2007 02:07 PM

                Thanks Sam... You are a poet.

                I did that and we decided on a nice bottle together. It went over well and I have made notes of all the great suggestions from the posters for next time!

                1. re: shiro miso
                  Sam Fujisaka Aug 8, 2007 05:22 PM


              2. carswell Aug 3, 2007 12:26 PM

                It's always hard to choose a wine without knowing anything about the recipient's preferences. That said, I wonder if your best bet mightn't be to pick up a bottle that, while affordable, may be hard for your host to come by. For example, the LBCO's August 4th release includes the 2006 Cloudy Bay ($34.95, 304469), New Zealand's most renowned Sauvignon Blanc. If you get to a store first thing in the morning (call ahead to make sure they're going to stock it), you might be able to score a bottle. The release also has several interesting Spanish reds -- and Mazzei's 2005 Zisola from Sicily -- in your price range, but again some of them may not be to your host's tastes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: carswell
                  RicRios Aug 3, 2007 06:25 PM

                  Whew! It took me a while to figure that one out:

                  Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)

                2. winepunkguy Aug 3, 2007 12:05 PM

                  You can bring some outstanding rose or rosato from Bandol, Fr.or Sudtirol It. without spending much at all. Have fun.

                  1. m
                    mengathon Aug 3, 2007 11:37 AM

                    Not knowing the preferences of your host, I'd say champagne is always welcome at any occasion, but especially an outdoor one. Most prominent houses have good champagne in that price range.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mengathon
                      hungry_pangolin Aug 4, 2007 10:46 AM

                      Not around $30 in Ontario - the closest would be Lanson at $44, which is actually quite good.

                      It's summer... go for a rose. The LCBO Vintages has a number of very good ones. Go for Tavel (I saw three or four Tavels yesterday in Vintages), the very best rose, and it's ca. $20. A true vino hound will be impressed by the slightly daring choice.

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