First, select the wines. If you’re unsure of the recipient’s preference, choosing a red and a white is usually a safe bet. For a special occasion, a sparkling champagne-style wine might be appropriate. For my gift basket, I chose a Trius Chardonnay and a Trius Cabernet. Since I have no idea who will win the basket, I wanted to go with a white and a red that would appeal to a wide audience. While you don’t necessarily have to go with the most expensive wines, don’t pick something you wouldn’t be proud to serve to guests. These wines are VQA which signifies a higher quality Ontario wine. Don’t be afraid to ask staff for their recommendations too!
Now, choose some add-ons. Again, this will depend on the recipient and the occasion, but here are some general suggestions:
-Fancy Crackers: I like Carr's Entertainment Cracker Collection because you get a nice variety. In Ontario they're available at Longo's grocery stores, and you can check them out online here.
-Icewine Jelly: This is tasty with cheese and crackers! I really like the Red Pepper Icewine Jelly from Niagara Vinegar. You can buy them online at their website or in select The Wine Shop locations in Ontario.
-Chocolate: either choose a high quality chocolate that will pair well with the wines you’ve chosen, or try something like Brix Bites, a set of chocolates that are intended for different wine pairings. Check them out here: Brix Chocolate
-Wine Glasses: unless you know the recipient needs wine glasses, these might end up in a box in the basement.
-Bottle Stopper: fewer wines are using corks these days, resulting in a decreased need for bottle stoppers. However, they can still make a nice novelty item for someone who drinks corked wines.
-Corkscrew/Wine Opener: same reason as above.
I’ll be posting a picture of my own wine basket shortly. Cheers!