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By Karen MacNeil
December 4, 2020

We see a lot of wine books, accessories, and wine-related gear throughout the year. If you are looking for insider-vetted Best-Bets for making the wine lover in your life smile during this season of giving, check out our favorites below.


Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells
No one knows more about the science of food and cooking (and no one explains it better) than Harold McGee whose book On Food and Cooking is the bible on that subject. Now, in his just released new book Nose Dive, McGee turns his attention to the enchanting, beguiling, captivating, and occasionally revolting world of smell. McGee calls this world the osmocosm, and as he makes so very clear, it’s the inescapable realm we inhabit every second of our lives. Nose Dive is fascinating and often funny. McGee takes us from the sublime to the scatological as he explores every sort of smell imaginable from vanilla to vomit. And while the chemistry can get a bit daunting, McGee’s ability to tell a good story makes the pages fly. For anyone who loves food and wine, Nose Dive is a book to savor. —Karen MacNeil

Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells by Harold McGee (Penguin Press 2020) $35—Available at major bookstores and on Amazon.


Repour Wine Saver—A High-Tech Cork

We all know that when you uncork a bottle of wine, the liquid inside begins to oxidize, drastically altering the flavors over time. To combat this, use the Repour stopper instead of any old cork. Oxygen-absorbing materials in the stopper continuously remove oxygen from inside the bottle and from the wine itself, so it contains less than 0.03 parts per million. This keeps the wine fresh and drinkable for days, even a week later.

Repour Wine Savers, $18 for a box of ten—Available from Repour. The retailer is offering 15% off to WineSpeed subscribers on orders over $15 through 1/1/2021.


Heavyweight Stainless Steel Champagne Stopper

When you drink a glass of Champagne EVERY night, like I have for 20 years, you want to ensure that those bubbles remain lively until you finally finish the bottle a few days later. Known as a bouchon (“boo-SHON”) in France, it is indispensable when you’ve decided to make sparkling wine a part of daily life—try it with popcorn and potato chips!

Heavyweight Stainless Steel Champagne Stopper, $20—Available at Viski.


Urban Map Lowball Glass

These stylish rocks glasses etched with maps of major U.S. cities, make great gifts for your hostess, your boss, or your college grad outfitting a home bar in their first apartment. Marked with iconic locales, maps from 21 cities coast-to-coast are available. Order a matched set of four or commemorate a nomadic life with several separate glasses!

Urban Map Lowball Glass, $16 each—Available at uncommon goods.


Napa Valley Silk-Screened Dish Towel

Silk-screened with catstudio’s original vintage-style design of all the iconic landmarks from the world-famous Napa Valley, this kitchen staple makes a terrific stocking stuffer souvenir. The companion pillow is entirely embroided by HAND—which can take up to one week to complete! We wish they had one for every wine region. Maybe next year!

Napa Valley Hand-Embroidered Dish Towel, $20 or Pillow, $196.00—Available at


Victory Cheese Box

Our friend Janet Fletcher (editor of Planet Cheese) turned us on to The Victory Cheese initiative. Like the Victory Garden movement of the past, it’s a call to action for U.S. citizens to support local cheesemakers, distributors, cheese shops and restaurants during the COVID pandemic. Peruse the delicious offerings curated by artisanal cheese mongers around the country and order a single box of assorted cheeses or a monthly subscription box. Yum!

Victory Cheese Boxes, starting at $25—Available at Victory Cheese.


Windows on the World Virtual Wine School

My dear friend Kevin Zraly is one of the most gifted wine educators I know—and has more than 100,000 former students to prove it! Opening cellar master of the former Windows on the World restaurant in Manhattan, and founder of the Windows on the World Wine School, Kevin teaches with deep knowledge, humor, and passion. Now his courses are available online. A series of six one-hour classes begins January 25 and you can choose from among French, Italian, California, Spanish or Bordeaux classes, or attend all six.

Kevin Zraly Virtual Wine Class Gift Certificate, starting at $50—Available at


Coravin Pivot Wine Preservation System

If you’re like the rest of the wine-loving planet, your inbox is full of Zoom virtual tasting registration links (and if not, check out our #TasteWithKaren LIVE virtual tasting schedule). You open multiple bottles of wine for a taste—what to do with the rest? Coravin’s revolutionary preservation systems allow you to save what you can’t finish until another night, secure that the last glass will be as stunning as the first. Since launching, the systems have been pretty pricey. However, this year, Coravin released their first version under $100!

Coravin Pivot Wine Preservation System, $99—Available at Coravin.


Wine Maps of the World—The Boxed Set

DE LONG is an independent publisher of the world’s finest wine maps, charts, and tasting notebooks. Each map is the result of years of research, a passion for design and an obsession with accuracy and clarity. A beautifully presented collection of wine cartography completed in 2020, the boxed set includes maps of France, Italy, Spain & Portugal, Germany, Austria & Hungary, Greece, California, The Pacific Northwest, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Wine Maps of the World – The Boxed Set, $150.00—Available at Coravin Marketplace.


The World of Fine Wine—Subscription

Named Louis Roederer International Wine Publication of the Year three years running (2010, 2011 and 2012), The World of Fine Wine is a stunningly beautiful and expertly-written and researched 220-page quarterly publication that takes a sophisticated approach to a broad spectrum of topics on fine wine. And truth be told, I also love receiving a package from the Royal Mail four times a year!

Annual Subscription (4 Print Issues + Digital) to The World of Fine Wine, $200—Available at The World of Fine Wine.



This is the ultimate travel solution for wine lovers to safely transport your special finds from wine country back home. Or, if you are headed to a vacation destination not known for its fine wine availability, bring your own bottles along from home. These specially designed suitcases come in three sizes and cradle up to 12 bottles in removable, reusable and customizable foam bottle inserts. Confidently pack your clothes in the other side without fear of breakage and staining.

VINGARDEVALISE, starting at $249—Available at VinGuardValise. Our friends at The Connected Table LIVE radio show would like to offer WineSpeed readers 60% off all bags with FREE shipping (while supplies last). Use Promo Code TCT60.