Tired of the hustle and bustle of conventional holiday shopping, or the clickety-clack of online shopping, fingers worn out from pawing at endless product screens? What if there was a place out in the fresh air where you could stretch your legs and sip fine wines, all while you're still shopping? I'm telling you there is such a place.
Gifting while shopping locally is easily accomplished with wine—it's no small slice of the local economy, and the product may be as painstakingly crafted as any handmade holiday tchotchke. Seek out small, family wineries for maximum value in those respects, and ask about their best single-vineyard efforts. Some of your wine-loving friends and relatives may have seen a Dutton Ranch Chardonnay or two before, for instance, but Dutton Estate's My Father's Vineyard Russian River Valley Syrah ($42), procured from the tasting room, is a much rarer treat with a nice story.
If it's tchotchkes you're really after, here's a list of top destinations for a winning blend of entertainment value, one-of-a-kind tchotchke shopping and a broad slate of wines.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery We're told that the legendary auteur personally selects, approves and sometimes even designs the gift stock here, which is interspersed with film-buff memorabilia such as the original desk from The Godfather. Pick up a four-pack of Sofia sparkling wine or a "vinoflage" wine country camo shirt you'll find nowhere else. 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville. 707.857.1400.
Virginia Dare Another Francis Coppola presentation, this American winery revival sports an FFC-approved selection of Native American–themed gifts and items inspired by the Virginia Dare story, like stag's head bottle spouts. 22281 Chianti Road, Geyserville. 707.735.3500.
JCB Tasting Salon & Atelier "We wanted to bring top brands together, to dream," says wine impresario Jean-Charles Boisset of his luxury gift shop within a winetasting room attached to a gourmet deli. Pointing out one item, a holder of some kind, from over 250 producers and artisans, he says, "And it's not crazy expensive, you know—it's $400." Here you'll find chocolate and cheese and caviar, jewelry of swans and skulls, and, of course, lots of fine crystal. 6505 Washington St., Yountville. 707.934.8237.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery While getting the scoop on the new regime at Gun Bun, wherein visitors are scheduled on the spot during busy weekends so as to improve the experience inside the old stone cellar, I'm told they proudly stock some of the most "innovative merch" in wine country. Check it out in between historic photographs and memorabilia. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. 707.938.5277.