Packing Wine For A Party

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You've been invited for dinner and asked to bring a bottle of wine. Should you ask the store manager at the corner liquor store by your office for something good, and gift it to your host still wrapped in the brown paper bag (or worse yet, plastic)? Or are you more apt to treat it like you would a hostess gift, taking care to gift a bottle with a story, along with something additional to make your gift catch the host's eye — and make it stand out amongst the rest?

Knowing when to bring wine as a gift is a challenge in and of itself. But once you've decided that wine is appropriate, you should also put thought into how you pack and gift your wine. For starters, don't throw your bottle of wine at the bottom of your bag — should the strap break, or if someone bumps into you, there will be a disaster in your hands. It happened to one TDM reader, toting a bottle of red in her purse on a short trip to a neighbor's house. She tripped, fell, and well, let's just say the white silk liner of her Prada bag was never the same again.

Before you bring a bottle of wine or bubbly to your next party, read our tips below to ensure your bottle arrives safely, ready-to-drink, and in style.


1. Temperature Matters

Whether the host asked guests to bring a bottle to share, or you've decided to share a bottle of your favorite California chardonnay, make sure that whatever you gift arrives ready to enjoy. Bringing something from home? Chill it in the fridge the day before, and then ensure it arrives still cool with this ice-pack-style tote.

Picking up something last minute? Head to your wine shop's refrigerated case. There might be a smaller selection, but at least you won't be caught arriving first with a room temperature bottle and the host has nothing else to offer. Double party foul.


2. Carry Safely

Wine bottles break — they're glass, after all. If you're carrying your bottle in your purse, ensure that it's properly wrapped. You could pull out the bubble wrap and tape, if you want to make opening the gift a real challenge for your host. But, it can be as easy as picking up a felt or fabric wine bag. Carrying bottles in your car? Don't let them roll around on the floor, or on the seat. Should you have to stop suddenly, there might not be a collision outside, but there will certainly be one inside.


3. Tote in Style

When arriving to a party with wine, whether you've been asked to bring a bottle or not, avoid carrying the bottle in your hand or in a branded store bag. It's just tacky. Even if you're going to drink the bottle right away, guests should still treat the wine as a gift. You wouldn't give an unwrapped birthday present, so why give an unwrapped bottle of wine? We love these durable neoprene bags that both protect and insulate bottles. Plus they're practical — perfect for carrying wine on a picnic


4. Think Beyond the Bottle

Though there are hundreds of bags for bottles on the market, if you're offering wine as a gift, why not have a little fun, too?

Bringing wine to a party on a boat? Ensure your bottle won't sink, should it fall overboard, with this wine bottle preserver. Attending an Asian-themed dinner? Dress your bottle up in an outfit to match. If your host spends weekends racing his Porsche at the nearby track, ensure the bottle arrives just as he'd like to — tucked into a speeding race car. Feeling crafty? Make your gift stand out like a piece of art that's practical, too, and make your own wine bottle stand


Instead of dressing up that bottle of wine with its packaging, add substance to the gift by making it a part of something larger, like a gift basket. Bringing bubbly to a brunch? Add a bottle of fruit nectar or a pint of sorbet to your shopping list to dress things up. Celebrating a new mom? Give her the ingredients she needs to unwind by including a box of chocolate truffles and bottle of bubble bath along with your bottle of red or champagne. And if you're visiting friends for the weekend, supplement your bottle of wine with something edible, like crackers and cheese from a local farm, or handmade pasta and pesto sauce that pairs well with the grape varietal. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/IDon'tKnowMaybe)

Click here for advice on When to Bring Wine as a Hostess Gift.

Click here to see How to Host Your Own Wine Tasting Party.

Click here to see How to Start Your Own Wine Club.