‘Tis the Season

On my bike ride into work the other day, I started thinking about “the holiday season.” It was almost two years ago now that I started my blog and by far the most unexpected aspect of the whole experience has been the “blogging community” and how many people out there (most of whom I have never met) I would consider “friends.” Sure, if you put us all in a room for a couple of hours (particularly without any wine) we might figure out that everyone else was an insufferable navel-gazing jerk, but I like to think that we would all get along famously (with the exception of the Food and Wine Hedonist, naturally, since he clearly has more problems than a math book*).

So in the spirit of the season, I thought I would propose a little idea.

I have never been very keen about the whole “Secret Santa” idea, particularly at work. I inevitably get stuck with someone I despise, but nonetheless try to find “the perfect gift.” It usually is met with “What? Why didn’t you just give me some wine? I thought you were, like, a professional alcoholic or something!”

Then I open my gift and it is a pair of polyester socks with a bottle of wine and a very drunk looking Santa.

To which I respond: “What? Why didn’t you just give me some wine? I am, after all, like a amateur alcoholic!”

This year, I thought I would propose something to all the rest of you alcoholics out there (professional and amateur alike). What would you say to a “Secret Alcoholic Wine Swap”?

The idea is similar to the whole Secret Santa thing, but this way no one will be stuck with at best another crappy corkscrew or at worst one of those Corksicles. Here are the proposed guidelines:

  1. We select 1-2 bottles of wine that we either purchase or grab from our cellars.
  2. We put a lower limit on the retail price of the wine(s) ($30?), which you can of course exceed….
  3. NO SAMPLES (for ethical as well as not wanting to be labeled a complete jack-donkey don’t send any wine you got for free, no matter how cute that critter is on the label).
  4. You should have a blog (I am not quite sure if this needs to be a rule–let me know what you think).
  5. Limited to people with a U.S. address.
  6. Indicate if you have any strong limitations (e.g., Red Only or No German Riesling! [which would make Oliver’s head explode…])
  7. You send me your address and I will have my wife (or my five year old) chose the names. You would then get an email stating to whom you send the wine. [You should also include when the best time to ship might be if you are going to be gone at all.]
  8. Get the wine shipped out before the end of the year, if possible.

Then at the end of the process, we all will have some more fodder for our beloved blogs.

From Etsy

From Etsy

What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you like/hate the idea and if you have any further suggestions/deletions from the above. We would need to get this ball rolling by the end of next week at the latest, I would think.

*I am kidding about John (aka FWH)–he is one of the few bloggers I have met, and he is a very nice guy.

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to ‘Tis the Season

  1. Kim says:

    What a great idea 🙂

    Like

  2. talkavino says:

    I guess it is my slow ( or may be just usual) morning – I understood all the limitations, but still not sure how the whole thing should work. We all exchange wine with you? Or we send it to you and you send it to the other people? Do we build the list of participants first, and then Seba will randomly assign who send wint to whom? I like the idea, and I know already what I would like to send (probably some cheap Cava for you : ) ) – but let’s clarify it a bit further : )

    Like

    • Great point–I was not all that clear. Each person would send it directly to their recipient. I would just serve as the central point to distribute out the addresses (mainly so you don’t know who is sending you wine until you get it).

      Like

      • talkavino says:

        okay, I’m game. Just may be another suggestion – can you ask people to indicate their preference as to white versus red, if they have one, of course. I know some people (Stefano can attest) who will not touch red wine even if Petrus will be in front of them, so it would help to know that.

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      • Oh, great idea… Although those people should be rounded up and have something really horrible done to them….

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      • Stefano says:

        HAHAHAHA!!! That’s spot on, Anatoli! 😀
        Jeff, the one Anatoli is referring to is Francesca, who is hardheadedly (and unexplainably) white-only as to her wine choices: so, not to worry in terms of recipients (I’ll drink those reds alright!) but do worry in terms of your proposed chastisement – I tell you, the woman can be feisty! 😉

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      • So are you in Stefano? Send me your address: jeff (at) thedrunkencyclist (dot) com

        Like

  3. melsmosaic says:

    Sounds interesting. The low limit is a bit high. Are you saying the least we can spend is $30?

    Like

    • It was only a suggestion to throw the idea out there. We could certainly put it a bit lower if that is the general consensus!

      Like

      • talkavino says:

        I suggest no limit. I’m sure nobody will send out the Crane Lake, two buck chuck or yellow tale. But I think there should be no limitations on the price. Don’t forget that shipping alone might cost you $20+

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  4. Love it and I’d do it,,,if I had a cellar. There was a time, but now is not that time and I’d be pushed to find the postage let alone buy the wine:)

    Like

  5. mrsugarbears says:

    Sounds lovely. I am in. 🙂

    Like

  6. Duff's Wines says:

    I love the idea. My challenge is cross border. I think I can find wine from a local store in my recipient’s hood. But not sure how it would work in good old Ontario. If I can work out these niggling details, I’m in. I agree with Anatoli that preferences are good to declare. For example, I really prefer first growths. Just sayin’.
    I will check access and shipping while this us making its rounds.

    Like

  7. What a fun idea! I love wine but am a bit of a novice…..I have fun learning more about it from your blog and others. If those of us who aren’t as knowledgeable are welcome to join then I’m in.

    Like

  8. Theresa says:

    I don’t want to be Scrooge, really. I want to love the idea and I want to participate but I am a bit concerned about all the wine shipping regulations that we would be violating. Since shipping wine without a license is illegal in the States, it seems you would put yourself in an interesting position setting up Secret Santa combinations to break the law across the country…and then write about it. We could just all agree to have two bottles sent from a favorite winery so they do the shipping for us. Perhaps bottles that are only available at the winery and so they would be completely new for each receiver? That way we can play the game and be legal about it in the process? Perhaps instead of calling me Scrooge, I can just try to be your Christmas tree angel. 😉

    Like

    • talkavino says:

      True, shipping is definitely an issue. Shipping through the winery if it ships to the destination state is one possible solution. Many online wine stores will be also be able to ship to your desired destination. Also, many wine retailers (small stores) have a license to ship alcohol – I have a friend who owns a wine store who helped me to ship wine a few times. So if we want to go ahead with this, we can still do it, and we can do it legally – definitely there are ways to solve this problem.

      Like

    • I would not classify you as a Scrooge! You bring up a very good and valid point! I know a guy who gets quite a bit of wine shipped to him by wineries, stores, and individuals. Obviously, it is up to each person how comfortable they feel.

      Like

      • Theresa says:

        Thanks for understanding. Happy to join in but I don’t have a connection to be able to ship bottles that I already own. They’ll have to ship directly from the point of sale. Can’t wait to get my Secret Santa! 😉

        Like

  9. Jane says:

    Great idea! We have had some problems shipping to other states, but it is worth a try.

    Like

  10. You hate us Brits don’t you?? What a great idea…. I’m going to steal it and do it in the UK!

    Like

  11. PSsquared says:

    Could you set up a separate category for the exchange of box wines? Asking for a friend… 😉 Very creative idea. You’re a thinker!

    Like

  12. Sounds intriguing, is there still time for this Christmas?

    Like

  13. cyardin says:

    Have fun with the gifts of dizzy heads. I will raise a glass to you all over here in Australia!

    Like

  14. chef mimi says:

    I’m in! It’s funny, but I have two friends from Enid Oklahoma, where I live, who make wine. One in Napa, one in Sonoma. One is my next door neighbor, the other is the daughter of the woman for whom I cooked (personal chef) for 8 years, who doesn’t live here anymore. Fabulous wines. It would be mind blowing to anyone who truly loves wine!

    Like

  15. Mystery wine . . . is this your #MWWC6 tie-in?? Count me in . . . I love surprises. Well, I love wine surprises. Salud!!

    Like

  16. chef mimi says:

    also, how do i ship wine? maybe a dumb question, but when I buy it online i get it by the case, in those handy styrofoam holders? how would you suggest mailing 2 bottles?

    Like

  17. Reblogged this on Sheshe and Camilla's Text Messages From The Edge and commented:
    Enjoyed the post, thank you for sharing it with us.

    Like

  18. It’s a pity you are limiting it to America, though I understand why. I think Americans would get a kick out of some of the up-and-coming wines in Europe that haven’t yet reached that invisible barrier of popularity which makes them viable for the American market. And I don’t doubt the opposite is true as well.
    In any case, it’s a cool idea. Y’all have fun drinkin’ now, d’ye hear?

    Like

  19. I’m in! Great idea!

    Like

  20. rhchatlien says:

    This sounds like such a fun idea. Not something I could take part in right now, but I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

    Like

  21. Stefano says:

    Sounds like a cool idea, Jeff – you’re on fire! 😉 I’m in.
    I understand the shipping complexities, but am fairly sure we can figure something out. Even buying from an online store and having them deliver to the intended recipient would be an option. The only thing to be mindful of is those States where selling/delivering wine is illegal (i.e., even online retailers have a list of “no ship to” States).
    Personally, I would set a minimum price limit as you originally suggested – of course the actual amount may be less than the proposed $30, but I think there should be a reasonable one: after all, participating is totally voluntary, so I would not worry too much about that.

    Like

  22. Great festive idea – Living in France, I will have to participate by drinking mine here 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog and Happy Holidays!

    Like

  23. Yes, but as an Asian, I have answers for all those math problems.

    Like

  24. Pingback: Secret Santa… The Wine Version | Confessions of a Wine Geek

  25. aFrankAngle says:

    Interesting idea … Because I’ve been away from blogs for a week, I saw Part 2, then retreat to here for more inform. Hmmmm … thinking about it … on to part 2.

    Like

  26. thewinebaron says:

    Reblogged this on The Wine Baron and commented:
    Great story.

    Like

  27. robinskone says:

    Since I’m reading this in January, guess I won’t be participating. But if you do this next year, I’d like to join you.

    As for being a “thinker” v. a “borrower,” I’m all for borrowing ideas. Here is my philosophy: “Don’t let it evade your eyes: Plagiarize!” (That’s not original, by-the-way. I borrowed it.)

    Like

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