Category Archives: Gift Ideas

Evolution of the Gift Basket

Baskets have been used to hold, carry and gift things for many centuries, from perfume to eggs to wine. And the idea of the gift basket as we know it, the kind Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute passed around to former clients on The Office, is still one of the most popular forms of gift-giving during the holidays and other major events. Something about the basket and its contents presents an attractive package to distribute as a gift.

I actually found a nice article on the history of gift baskets here, which, instead of repeating, I’ll let you read for yourself.

For us at, we’ve been part of the gifting business for a while, but we’ve also taken a different look at the basket. There are some who are perhaps tired of giving (or getting) wicker to hold a gift,  not to mention that baskets often have a lot of filling that gets thrown out.

If you are tired of wicker, here are some ideas for gift “basket” alternatives:

Tuscan Trattoria – Since you receive pasta with this gift, what better way to package it than in a colander! So really, you get to use all that you get here. Less waste, more use.

Executive Selection Cabernet Quartet – All business here, with four bottles of wine and some goodies and gadgets – we put it all in a leatherette magazine holder rather than a basket. Definitely something that can be used afterwards.

Spanish Paella Gift Set – Another foodie gift that gets packaged with a Paella pan rather than a wicker basket – use and re-use.

Do you buy gift baskets as gifts? What do you look for when you do?

All about our wine clubs – what makes ours different?

Wine clubs are everywhere these days. You can join wine clubs through newspapers or magazines as well as the more traditional form of winery wine clubs. At we offer a few different wine clubs with a range of themes. With all the wine clubs out there, it’s important to stand out. So what makes our wine clubs different?

Our tag line for our wine clubs is: Authentic wines. Premium brands. A great journey. We feature real wines from real wineries – sometimes they are larger wineries, sometimes they are boutique vintners, but they are wines you may find on a restaurant list or in a local wine store – no private labels that you can never find again. offers 4 different wine clubs that range from $30 per month to $70 per month. Each wine club includes two bottles, each with detailed tasting notes on the wine, region and food pairings, as well as an e-mail newsletter with a wine tip and a recipe. Also, you get 15% off any wines you’d like to re-order from the club selections!

Our wine clubs are:

Discovery Tour ($29.99/month)club_default_DIS_img_wide
Our most popular club, the discovery tour is an introductory wine club that features different varietals, styles and regions each month – all at a great value. The wines are meant to be drunk now, no cellar time necessary. The club is meant to help the recipient discover which wine styles, regions and varieties they like best. 
You receive two bottles, either a white and a red or two reds.

img_WOW_clubWines of the World ($39.99/month)
It’s like traveling the world through wine! This club is meant to help you expand your palate with premium wines from the world’s greatest wineries and regions. You receive wines from a different wine region each month, selected for their high quality and depiction of that region. It’s a great way to broaden your wine knowledge and palate. You can choose to receive a white and a red or two reds.

90-point Rated Club ($69.99/month)90pt
Ultra premium, age worthy wines rated 90+ points within the last two vintages by the world's top wine critics (see the 8 publications that cites). This is a red wine only club for those who want top quality. Wines are chosen for their flavor, character and aging potential.  This is a high end club that gives its members amazing wines that can be put down in the cellar.

club_default_AEC_img_wideAvec Eric Perfect Pairings ($59.99/month)
For the foodie who loves wine, this unique new wine club explores the intrinsic relationship between great food and wine. You’ve got a chef and a sommelier choosing wine, which can include white, red or sparkling – it changes each month. There are videos and recipes to go with each wine, too. A great way to put your food and wine  passions together.

Gift of the Season

The roads of Napa Valley are now dotted with wineries at every turn – some grand, some small, some new and some old. Quaint towns with boutique stores, gourmet cafes and Michelin star restaurants are nestled between rows and rows of vines. Hard to believe this area was just agricultural land 30 years ago.

Napa Valley is a destination, and a worthy one at that. Though there is much hype and money surrounding the area, the valley still stands as the gateway to California wine. It is the place that put California – and the US – on the wine map. That all happened 30 plus years ago, in 1976, when Chateau Montelena Chardonnay beat out classic Burgundy wines at a tasting in Paris, a story recently re-told in the movie, Bottle Shock.

Speaking of which… Chateau Montelena is now one of the most respected and revered wineries in Napa. Established in 1882, the winery is known for its beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. This is a stately and classic property to visit, though appointments are required. Which leads us into the purpose of our Tip of the Day – Gift of the Season.

BAOThis year we introduced a new gift called “By Appointment Only.” It’s a new style of gift for us because it includes a unique experience not offered anywhere else. Beyond the three classic wines included in this package, the gift includes an experience, an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience.

With this gift pack, you get three wines:

  • Quintessa
  • Caymus Special Selection
  • Chateau Montelena Estate

    But much more than that, you receive passes for you and up to 3 guests for a VIP tour and tasting at each of the wineries, which are typically closed to the public and are open by appointment only.

    Why is this so special? It really is about the experience. Wines can be bought and consumed anywhere, but the tour, the tasting, the exciting opportunity to visit these historic and classic properties is truly extraordinary. It’s not just a visit. You’ll taste current, past and future releases, including barrel samplings. You’ll receive tours of the vineyard (weather permitting) and winery, with red carpet treatment at every turn. At each visit you will experience history, innovation and passion.’s founder, Mike Osborn, tells you more in this video.



  • Easy Prep for the Holidays

    As it sinks in that Thanksgiving is over and you have approximately four weeks (28 days) left until Christmas, you may start to wonder how you will get it all done. No panic necessary! is here to help you every step of the way – or of the day, actually. Every weekday, stay tuned to our blog, facebook page and twitter feed to find out helpful holiday tips, great gift ideas, crazy discount deals and more. Our goal is to take the stress away and make your holidays go by with festive ease.

    Whether you are plnd_stwship_boxlanning a big bash or something more small and relaxing, we have the wine – and entertaining tips – to go with them. Some pre-holiday tips to get you started:

    1. First tip – for those of you who hate shipping fees or minimum purchase amounts required for free shipping, I have one word for you – Steward-Ship. This is your answer to the holidays and beyond. For just $49, you will receive free standard shipping on all your purchases, to any address, for the entire holiday season… and 11 months after that. This is a yearlong membership to free standard shipping. And when you talk about bottles of wine and wine-based gifts, you’re talking heavy. This is the best deal in the wine business right now.

    2. Second tip – with that free shipping, find yourself a go-to gift and stock up on a few of them. This way you’ll have a great gift to give to your accountant, your kid’s 3rd grade teacher, your mail carrier or that friend who gives you an unexpected gift and you feel obligated to return the gesture… you get the idea. Check out our gifts under $40. There is a wide selection and they are perfect for all the acquaintances on your holiday list – or the unexpected ones that pop up. From the Tour de France to the Eco Wine Trio to the Organic Food & Wine gift set, you’ve got a gift for everyone on your list. So stock a few in your basement and you’ll feel

    3. Final tip – take advantage of our Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals and stock up on all our gifts while we’ve got plenty of stock. Today is a great deal of 25% off some of our popular holiday gifts. Don’t forget, you can shop now and ship later, so you’ll have your holiday shopping done, but the items won’t get to the recipient until you want them to!

    So get started! Sign up for Steward-Ship, stock up on some great gifts, use our amazing deals for Friday & Monday, and you’ll feel like you’re halfway there. Starting Monday, we’ll have tips of the day, deals of the day and more, so stay-tuned and happy Black Friday!

    Golfers and Wine

    golf flag

    Last week at an event, we poured wines to fit the theme, “Golfers and Wine.” Who knew so many wines would have a golfing hand (or club?) behind them! I have yet to see another sport with so many members in the winemaking field. The styles of wine from these swinging guys (though gals are getting into the fray as well!) range the gamut, with some sparkling, some white, some red.

    Here are the wines we poured at the event and the stories behind them.

    greg norman

    Golfer & Wine: Greg Norman Sparkling Brut – Dry and crisp, with citrus and stone fruits. Because it’s a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you get that bright citrus mixed with a richer, almost nutty character. Great value for the bubbles.

    About: Greg Norman, aka “The Shark,” began drinking wine on the tour, soaking up the wines from Europe and California as he played and tasted his way around the world. In the 1990’s, Greg paired up with Beringer Blass Estates to create Greg Norman Estates in Australia. More recently, Norman put his name on Greg Norman California Wine Estates, producing a range of wines from the entire state. Though he does not  make the wine or own the vineyards, he approves the decisions and the wines reflect his style – approachable, easy-to-drink but with lots of character.

    Golfer & Wine: Arnold Palmer Santa Barbara Chardonnay – Ripe stone fruits and juicy citrus backed by a good acidic backbone. A touch of oak and a creamy texture round out the wine making it refreshing and delicious.

    About: Before Tiger there was Arnold. This guy has won 92 national and international golf championships! Not too shabby. A savvy businessman and wine lover, Palmer partnered with Luna Vineyards, a well-known winery in California, to create his line of wines. Established in 2003, Palmer just released the 2005 vintage of his Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Santa Barbara Chardonnay. Both are typical of their region and quite good.

    luke donald

    Golfer & Wine: Luke Donald Claret – Ripe black fruits dominate this blend with a spicy and smooth texture. Soft tannins, big fruit.

    About: A native of England, Luke Donald has been on the tour since 2001. He got into the wine business more recently, partnering with the Terlato Wine Group (he’s good friends with Bill Terlato) and releasing his first vintage in spring of 2008. His Claret, or Bordeaux Blend, is a classic Napa Valley blend. Big fruit, smooth tannins, long finish. Earlier this year he released his first white, a Burgundian-style Chardonnay from Carneros.


    Golfer & Wine: Nick Faldo Shiraz- Spicy pepper and sweet plums mix to create a well-balanced red. More spicy than sweet, this Shiraz shows the typical style of Coonawarra reds.

    About: Like Donald, Faldo is of English origin, but chose Australia as his country of choice to produce wine – the Coonawarra region to be exact. Longer in the game (both golf and wine) than Donald as well, Nick’s first vintage was 2000. His wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon, come from the Terra Rossa (red earth) soils of Coonawarra, giving the wines lots of backbone and a touch of eucalyptus and spice.

    Golfer & Wine: Ernie Els Engelbrecht-Els Red Blendripe black fruits, spice and smoke marry well in this blend, with a solid tannin backbone and els a lingering finish. Will get better over time, but delicious now, too.

    About: South African golf legend, Ernie Els, partnered up with old friend and wine veteran, Jean Englebrecht, for his wine venture in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. They launched their first wine in 1999 and opened a winery in the region 5 years later. The brand creates a range of wines, from the affordable Guardian Peak to the collectible flagship wine, Ernie Els. The Englebrecht-Els blend is distinctively South African, a blend that marries Els’ love of Bordeaux Blends with Engelbrecht’s passion for Shriaz.

    Not only the boys are making wine. Annika Sorenstam recently partnered with Wente Vineyards and launched a $60 Syrah under her name. We’ll keep you posted on more golfers that turn to producing wine, as well as other sports that have players in the wine game. What other sports have you seen in the wine field?