The Winter Solstice is upon us, and since ancient times that’s meant it’s time for gift giving. To do it properly, do as the original Saint Nicholas did and give the gift of gold. Gold bars, gold bullion, gold coins, whatever you’ve got handy ― at a mere $1,800 an ounce, gold is a way to show you really care. Plus, not a single person who receives the gift of gold will regift it.
In the unlikely event that you’re not sitting on a hill of gold coins, give a wine-adjacent gift to the wine lover in your life. Just make sure you match the right accessory to the right member of the zodiac. If you know the person’s rising sign, use that.
Ruled by Mars, the god of war, Aries is the sign of the warrior. It’s also the first sign of the zodiac, which signifies child-like energy and spirit. Put those together and you’ve got someone impatient and argumentative. The good side of Aries is valor and a natural sense of outrage at injustice. The bad side is the keyboard warrior who can easily become a troll when baited. Linda Goodman, author of “Sun Signs,” the astrological bestseller of the hippy era, said of Aries that they were easy to recognize, thanks to the “mole or a scar on the head or face, a reddish cast to the hair in the sunlight, and more color than average in the complexion.” In other words, your poor friend has to go through life looking like a cross between Harry Potter and his hapless best friend Ron Weasley. No wonder Aries is a belligerent sign.
A knife for chopping off the heads of Champagne bottles! What could be better suited to an Aries? You might want to stand clear when they swing it for the first time, though. There’s an art to sabering, involving running the blade back along the bottle’s seam, and then swiftly moving the blade back up the bottle. Impatient Aries, however, won’t take the time to watch the YouTube instructions, but will just start hacking. Never mind, after the first explosion or two, your friend will learn.
Slow and steady, calm and responsible. Taurus is fixed earth, meaning slow to love, and slow to anger. Taureans are stubborn, persistent, and loyal. That’s the reputation, anyway. What’s often forgotten is that the ruler of Taurus is Venus, the planet of harmony, love, and hairdressing. That gives earthy Taurus a love of sensuality, beauty, and an appreciation of things that spring from the soil, particularly flowers. And cabbages. But be careful when you ply Taurus with wine, because Venus also rules the throat and singing; unleashed Taurus is the sign most likely to grab the karaoke mike and burst into song. Stop such behavior before it starts with this gift. It’s a subtle hint.
There are many gadgets on the market that claim to keep opened bottles of wine fresh and free from oxidation. Most don’t work, because oxygen will sneak past them, one way or the other. While no stopper is perfect, this one gets better reviews than most, because it creates a tight seal on the bottle. At this price, you can buy one for yourself as well.
Ruled by Mercury, the messenger of the gods, Geminis are restless seekers. Of gossip, mainly. They just love knowing what’s going on. Which you can take advantage of, of course. Do you want a certain piece of information broadcast far and wide, without anybody knowing it came from you? Then tell your Gemini friend all about it, and finish your tale with the words, “but you won’t tell anybody, will you?” Your news will spread faster than omicron. Given this thirst for information, you can’t go wrong by gift-wrapping a nonfiction book. There’s just one problem — Geminis don’t have a great attention span. These people were doom scrolling and wasting time on the internet before there was an internet, so don’t buy any wine books that demand time and effort to read, as they will sit on the shelf for years, unloved. This book, on the other hand, is perfect.
This encyclopedia has more than 4,000 entries, on everything from “abboccato,” Italian for medium sweet to “zymase,” a group of enzymes. Some of the entries are short and punchy, while others are short-but-immersive dives into regions and styles. It offers a window into the entire world of wine, in digestible bites. No wonder The Washington Post called it, “The greatest wine book ever published.”
You’ve probably heard a lot about how Cancers are the homebodies of the zodiac, who love nurturing people with home cooking and warm blankets. You’re probably still waiting for evidence of this, because it’s doubtful that your Cancer friends or relatives have ever thrown a dinner party, or brought you a batch of chicken soup. And if you pay them a visit, you might be surprised at how drab and brown the furniture is. Partly it’s because some of that furniture has sentimental value, so they’ll never get rid of it, no matter how hideous. But it’s also because while Cancers are indeed domestic, they’re motivated by security, not hospitality. They would rather buy a home surveillance system than a dinner service, to be frank. As for making everything look beautiful, that’s for the Libras. Cancer wants to be comfortable. Here’s how you can make them feel all warm and toasty on the inside this holiday season.
What Cancer will really appreciate is a secure way to store their bottles. What they absolutely don’t want is some ugly cast iron, decorative wine rack, with ridiculous metal vine leaves curling up the sides. Being Cancerian, their heart will sink if they get such a gift, because they know they will hold onto it forever. Something plain and simple is the way to go, hence the Sorbus wine rack. It’s sturdy, unobtrusive, and is narrow enough to be shoved in a tight space. Cancers will also appreciate the reasonable cost of this one if their wine collection expands and they decide to buy a second one. They will appreciate it so much that you might finally get a dinner out of them.
Vettius Valens, a second-century astrologer, described Leo like this, “Men born under this sign are distinguished, noble, steady, just, haters of evil, independent, haters of flattery, beneficent, inflated with their lofty thoughts.” He said nothing of women, but we can assume they have these qualities too. Mostly he’s correct, except that anybody who’s been around Leo for long knows that they are happy to accept all the flattery and adoration that comes their way. But it’s a small price to pay for Leonine friendship, because Leos are distinguished by their great generosity. This means you simply must buy them a present that you would also enjoy, because they’re very likely to share it with you.
This gift is a winner on two fronts. First, it’s Champagne! What else would the monarch of the zodiac drink? The wine is made from biodynamically grown grapes, which have then been left on lees for six years. Yet it’s not overwhelmed with bready, yeasty notes, but instead snaps with crunch. Second, the label was designed by legendary French designer Philippe Stark, creator of the “most controversial lemon squeezer of the twentieth century,” the Juicy Salif Lemon Squeezer, which is quite the talking point. But, best of all, Leo will open this up and pour you a glass.
This isn’t the best time of year for poor old Virgo, to be honest, because the chaos of the holiday season overwhelms this detail-oriented, perfectionist sign. People stop answering their emails, and Zoom calls give a window into home offices that are now overrun with packages and paper. Virgo is also the sign of health and wellbeing, and all the gorging on sweet foods and alcohol kind of horrifies them. The best possible thing you could do for them is to help them restore the world to order by handing them a to-do list of your own devising. Need some shopping done? Or your oven cleaned? Perhaps it’s time to replace your light bulbs? Virgo will make it happen, whether they do it themselves or call someone in. They won’t be happy, of course, but just let Virgo’s grumbling slide off you. You’re doing them a favor, remember?
Simple gifts are sometimes the best. The pack contains eight markers, like tiny colorful seals, that can be stuck on each wine glass, so Virgo can always keep track of whose glass is whose. Yes, it’s a cheap gift, but it works. And anyway, Virgoans are the cheapskates of the zodiac. It’s not like they’re going to be giving you much of a gift.
Libra is one of the four cardinal signs of the zodiac, which means you shouldn’t let the sophisticated, well-mannered exterior fool you — Librans want to be in charge. Which is fine, because they can take charge of all the entertainment this season. Whatever they do will seem graceful and effortless, involving good taste and symmetry. That’s assuming their event ever actually happens. Librans are major procrastinators because they have trouble making decisions. Make life easy by taking the decisions for them, and just telling them what to do. Once they’ve opened this magnificent gift, they’ll be glad to obey. Because they’ll owe you.
The firm known today as Baccarat, one of France’s oldest glass companies, was founded in 1815. An earlier iteration of the company made window glass, but this new firm focused on crystal, a subcategory of glass. Crystal from the EU must have lead content in excess of 24%, giving it a particular brilliance; Baccarat crystal is renowned as some of the most beautiful, thanks to techniques refined in the 19th century. This gift has everything a Libra could want: beauty, elegance, and pedigree. Plus, the ability to make anything you pour in it look grand, which Librans who are down on their luck will appreciate.
You’re brave, being friends with a Scorpio. You know if you have a falling out, your life won’t be worth living? Those people not only hold grudges, but they’re very creative when it comes to revenge. Small tip: Don’t betray them. On the positive side, though, Scorpios have great determination and loyalty, so you can count on fierce support should you need it. They also have well-developed instincts, and you should take their counsel seriously. Having a Scorpio in your life is much like having your own private mafia to call on.
Black glasses are sometimes used in tastings because they mask the color of the wine. When deprived of a visual reference, the taster is forced to drop their preconceptions and approach wine by its taste alone. This can be confronting, educational, and fun, particularly when the taster discovers they have identified a red wine as white or vice versa. These glasses will hold strong appeal for Scorpios, given their love of mysteries and sleuthing.
While the pandemic has been tough on everybody, it’s been particularly rough on Sagittarius, who wants nothing more than to go traveling. While not every Sagittarius is a globe-trotter in reality, they are in their minds, and so cutting off the possibility of travel has been torture. Which they’ve probably dealt with by talking way too much and telling inappropriate jokes. Has your WhatsApp pinged at an unwelcome hour? That will have been Sagittarius, who has just been struck by the urge to communicate something you really didn’t need to know. The person who signed you up to join them in boring online webinars and discussions? Sagittarius. Only one thing to do.
Sagittarius needs to travel and you need them gone, right now. Send them on their way with this wine-friendly bag that can securely hold five standard bottles of wine. When you give it to them, tuck some travel brochures inside, to give them inspiration. Tuscany is nice. So is the Appalachian Trail. Sure, it’s bitterly cold at this time of the year, and yes it’s a hassle dragging luggage around the woods, but a rugged outdoor challenge will be good for their soul. And yours.
If you want to make Capricorn happy, give them something that will help them be self-sufficient. This is one of the hardest working signs of the zodiac, and they find it hard to slow down and take time for themselves. Capricorn does not pop out to wine bars spontaneously, but needs everything planned in advance. That means that when things get tough — as they have, of late — Capricorn will just knuckle down and keep working, without taking a break. So here’s what you can do to help them out.
EuroCave Premiere S Wine Cellar (starting at $1,995)
If Capricorn can’t find the time to go out, bring the party to them, with this top-of-the-line wine fridge that will keep their every wine in perfect condition, and close to hand. Not only that, but EuroCave is a top brand name, and is the first choice for many high-end restaurants. This is an important detail — status is deathly important for Capricorns. Indeed, they’re the kind of present recipient who will instantly jump on the internet and google the item, to find out how much you paid. You can’t hide with Capricorn — go big or just forget it.
Did you know that some astrologers think we’ve finally entered the Age of Aquarius? There are long, technical explanations for this, starting with an unusual planetary lineup that happened in December 2019. If it’s true, it means that the world is being shaped for Aquarian tastes and needs. Aquarians are fired by the ideals of justice and solidarity. They also love technology and gadgets, which sounds a lot like the world of Zoom we’ve been living in for the last little while. It’s no surprise that a new film in the Matrix franchise is coming out in this particular moment — it’s a fitting symbol of the virtual world that’s upon us. At least we still have the real-world joys of wine to enjoy.
Here’s a gadget to warm an Aquarian heart. The Coravin is a masterpiece of technology that lets you remove the cork and replace it with a special stopper. After you’ve poured the desired amount of wine, what’s left in the bottle is preserved with argon gas, keeping it fresh for up to four weeks. Your Aquarian will enjoy playing with this so much, they’re likely to open every bottle in sight. Just remind them to return and actually drink them.
Your Piscean friends and relatives have lots of good things coming their way, because in late December 2021, the planet Jupiter moves into their sign. Jupiter is the planet of abundance, making everything it touches bigger and more magnificent. This may not make much difference to Pisceans themselves, because they’re such a dreamy bunch; the only thing that may increase is the intensity of the imaginative flights they have while lying on the couch. But the great thing about Jupiter is that he wants to send his luck somewhere, so if you’re nearby, you can catch some. In 2022, hitch a ride on your Piscean’s coattails, because they will scatter luck and love — and sequins, probably — as they go. For a good time at New Year’s, suggest that Pisces organize the party.
Jupiter, the ancient ruler of Pisces, has ruled perfumes since the earliest days of astrology. That’s why a wine aroma kit is the perfect gift. This one contains 88 scents, including wine faults and common aromas found in different types of wine. It also comes with a board game, to make the work of identifying and remembering scents and smells easy and fun — it’s the perfect way to learn about wine easily. Which will suit Pisces’ lazy nature perfectly.