A quick trip to the liquor store or wine shop always works when all other gift-giving ideas have tanked and time is running short. It's helpful, yes, to know what sort of wines, spirits and liqueurs your giftee likes, but you can make some educated guesses based on his or her personality type. Here are some last-minute ideas (remember, too, prices vary). — Chicago Tribune
Eating locally is only the first step; next is drinking locally. All 50 states have wineries; choose one in your recipient's region to personalize the gift. While California and, to some extent, Oregon and Washington, dominate the national market, other areas are gaining prominence. New York's Finger Lakes region has a century-old wine rep; Long Island is fast gaining in attention. Michigan is enjoying a growing rep for pinot noir and riesling. Most wine stores will have at least one local wine; buy it, let the locavore experiment. Believe me, no prodding will be needed with a 2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Riesling from Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula.
New, different, attitudinal are what this wine lover is all about. Go with a wine from California's Bonny Doon Vineyard. Owner Randall Grahm is legendary in his pursuit of wines that speak of their time and place; the wine establishment be damned. Take this "contrarian blend of mostly old-fangled grape varieties," a wine whose label does not disclose what those varieties are but claims the wine is "contrapuntal" (your wine lover will look that up): 2009 Bonny Doon Contra Central Coast Red Wine.
The sweet tooth
A dessert wine is what this drinker craves, something soothing and syrupy and a bit acidic, to pair with holiday desserts. Offering rich notes of apricot, honey and apple is this wine from Washington's Columbia Valley, the 2007 Milbrandt Vineyards Estates Late Harvest Riesling.
Cost: $36/375ml bottle
The always bubbly
French Champagne is always welcome, but California sparklers work just as well. Consider wineries like Domaine Chandon, the Napa Valley arm of the famed house of Moet & Chandon. There's oomph thanks to the blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier in this non-vintage Chandon Blanc de Noirs. Cost: $22