I'm sure it's not just me, but everyone in my life seems to be suggesting less or no presents this Christmas. It's as if the desire to splurge on unnecessary stuff is in indirect proportion to the incessant and ever-earlier advertising of same.
I won't be going for the zero option, as I, like most people, really enjoy both the giving and the getting. I will, however, be thinking carefully about the usefulness of what I gift and the impact it will have beyond the tearing open of the glittery wrapping paper.
We have great choice now in how and where we spend our hard-earned cash, so it's an opportunity to support those producers, makers, chefs, artists, growers, and entrepreneurs who really appreciate our business and who are working ethically and in a way which doesn't harm the earth. There's great satisfaction in knowing our money is making a positive difference rather than just an unnoticed drop in some trillionaire's bank account!
We can do just that by choosing organic wine and sourcing it from independent family-owned businesses. Everyone wins- we get to drink better, the birds and the bees don't pay the price, and wonderful small family vineyards get to continue producing their delicious wines, many of them carrying on the traditions of generations before them.
Marian Keyes, of whom I'm a massive fan, once shared a post on Instagram about Christmas shopping:
"Amazon will thrive over the next few weeks, whilst every small retailer in Ireland will be fighting to survive. If you can, please support a local business".
I'm frequently asked what organic wine is. The answer is simple enough- wine made without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. By choosing these wines, we are helping to reduce toxic products from being both manufactured and spread in our environment, damaging the delicate ecosystems which are so vital.
Do they taste different from conventional wines is the next question I'm asked. The answer to this is not so simple. Being organic in itself is not a guarantee of better. Neither does it totally prevent a hangover; that's the alcohol, though there is anecdotal evidence that the reduced sulphites in organic wine prevent a total head-banger!
The way to find the wines you're going to enjoy is by seeking out someone who can point you in the right direction (ahem!). I always enjoy recommending wines to people which are in the same general style they usually drink, like, say, Argentinian Malbec or Italian Pinot Grigio, but going a bit out of their comfort zone, different grape varieties or countries they don't usually choose a wine from. There are oodles of exciting varieties and styles available to order for home delivery from Wines Direct. Our lovely organic and sustainable wines are also available from lots of independent shops around the country and in many of your favourite restaurants, from whom vouchers are a way of stretching that bright festive glow into the grey drizzle of January.
Whether it's a local wine shop, a browse of our website, a phone call to our office, or a visit to our shop in Mullingar, they all come with that vital assistance to steer you towards the perfect gift for the wine lovers in your life, the perfect wine to accompany your Christmas dinner, or just a nice drop for a cosy Wednesday night by the fire.