While the latest tech gadget, wine aerator, or bottle of wine routinely make great gifts for the holidays, the gift of an experience can be pretty special — after all, most of us have been a little starved for fun experiences this year, right? So, for those of you looking to think outside of the box — the standard gift box, that is — when it comes to holiday gifting this winter, we’ve put together a list of experiential gift ideas that are sure to wow those on your nice list.
Whether you want to treat your mom to a mother-daughter gourmet outing in Napa Valley, enjoy a horseback ride with your significant other through the hills of Sonoma County, or help your best friend perfect the art of truffle making, our WineCountry Experiential Gift Guide is here to help with gift giving ideas for those who prefer experiences over material things. We’ve also included a couple of virtual ideas that can be enjoyed from the comforts of home, because we know not everyone is ready to venture out quite yet.
This five-course, farm-to-table wine and food experience at Brian Arden Winery in Calistoga is one of our most popular WineCountry Experiences, and for good reason — not only does this experience include a behind-the-scenes tour of the beautiful property’s expansive garden and winery facility, but it also lets guests go on a culinary journey of five exquisite courses, all cooked in front of them by the winery’s own Estate Chef. Top it all off with a tasty selection of wines from this small, family-owned winery and you can almost guarantee your giftee will have a perfect day in Napa Valley.This WineCountry exclusive experience is offered at $110 per person. To purchase as a gift, buy a WineCountry Experience Gift Card so the recipient can enjoy this experience (or the experience of their choice) when it works with their schedule.
During this intimate tasting experience, attendees will get the chance to taste through a line-up of exclusive wines from around the world, each hand-selected and presented by Fantesca Estate & Winery Director DLynn Proctor (you may remember him for his role in the famed wine documentary series ‘SOMM’). Guests will sample multiple vintages of Fantesca’s Napa wines alongside a curated selection of wines from other top regions as they learn about the special nuances of each place from one of America’s top sommeliers.This WineCountry exclusive experience is offered at $200 per person. To purchase as a gift, buy a WineCountry Experience Gift Card so the recipient can enjoy this experience (or the experience of their choice) when it works with their schedule.
Adrenaline junkies will love this one-of-a-kind zip line and glamping experience from Sonoma Canopy Tours, which includes an eco tour with zip lines, eight sky bridges, and a rappel back to the forest floor. Making this adventure even more memorable: giftees will get to enjoy a gourmet dinner, an overnight stay in a private treehouse yurt soaring above the forest floor, and breakfast the following morning.This experience from Sonoma Canopy Tours is offered at $550 per person (2 person minimum). Children and additional guests are $275 (maximum of four people). Book here.
Guests will venture along bucolic country roads as they explore Calistoga on two wheels during this leisurely, 12-mile Napa Valley bike tour. The five-hour guided experience includes plenty of scenic views in between stops at small, off-the-beaten-path wineries, plus a signature Wine Country picnic lunch featuring cheese, charcuterie, fruit, and salad.This WineCountry exclusive experience is offered at $169 per person. To purchase as a gift, buy a WineCountry Experience Gift Card so the recipient can enjoy this experience (or the experience of their choice) when it works with their schedule.
This unique experience from Dandelion Chocolates will give any chocolate lover an excuse to satisfy their sweet tooth at home. Offered virtually, this guided, hands-on truffle-making class led by a chocolate pro includes a truffle kit containing everything needed to make oh-so-delicious dark chocolate truffles. The best part? Leftover ingredients can be used to make creative truffle variations using one of Dandelion Chocolate’s favorite recipes, included with the class.This virtual class available from Dandelion Chocolates is offered at $100 per person. It can be purchased as a gift here.
Treat your sweetie to a secluded horseback ride through one of the most beautiful trails in Sonoma County. The trail winds its way through hills, meadows, creek crossings, and cliffside views, stopping at a private (and secret) vista for a gourmet picnic lunch overlooking Lake Sonoma. This picturesque two-hour ride ends at a beautiful barn (built from one 800-year-old Redwood tree) overlooking Lake Sonoma, where a glass of Dry Creek Valley wine or an ice cold beer awaits.This WineCountry exclusive experience is offered at $210 per person. To purchase as a gift, buy a WineCountry Experience Gift Card so the recipient can enjoy this experience (or the experience of their choice) when it works with their schedule.
Help your bestie / brother / parents (or yourself!) learn the art of wine and food appreciation with a monthly subscription to MasterClass. With the multi-lesson ‘Wine Appreciation’ course from acclaimed wine critic James Suckling, they’ll be sipping and pairing wines with confidence in no time. After all, James knows a thing or two about wine, having tasted more than 200,000 wines over the past 40 years! Or perhaps the giftee would prefer to learn the art of home cooking with Alice Waters, master a new cooking technique with Thomas Keller, or learn to make new dishes from Wolfgang Puck? Included with a subscription are over 90 classes in a wide range of topics (home, lifestyle, sports, science, technology…), so you know they’re sure to find something they’ll love.A MasterClass Subscription is available for $15/month ($180/year). Gift subscriptions can be purchased here.
For the loved ones who have been extra, extra good this year, why not go all out by treating them to a private residence and wine tasting experience at the beautiful Carneros Resort and Spa? These stunning private homes offer another level of luxury and comfort, with elevated amenities (indoor/outdoor fireplaces, heated bathroom floors, a hot tub) and 1,700 square feet of living space ideal for couples and families. To enhance a stay, Carneros Resort has partnered with Cuvaison Estate Wines to offer an elevated wine tasting experience exclusive to guests staying in the residences. Led by Cuvaison’s own winemaker, Steve Rogstad, guests can choose from The Wine Journey, providing an in-depth look at chardonnay and pinot noir through a flight of five wines, or Farm to Vine, an immersive tasting showcasing Cuvaison’s most captivating estate wines, each paired with culinary bites highlighting ingredients grown in the resort’s on-site garden.Rates start at $1,399 per night for two-bedroom Residences at the Carneros Resort and Spa. Optional private wine experiences range from $185 – $366 per person.
Need more holiday gifting inspiration? Visit our sister site to view 27 outstanding gifts they’re sure to love, all featured in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Wine Lovers.