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Wines, gifts and gadgets for Father's Day

Saturday - 6/18/2011, 10:24am  ET

by Scott Greenberg, Special to

When I was a child, I always felt cheated that Mothers and Fathers had their own "day." Of course, I was given the standard, "every day is children's day" retort whenever I voiced concern over the injustice of having to buy cards once a year for people who seem to have it their way all year long. It is amazing what several decades and a few children of my own did to change my perspective.

Now that I am a proud member of the Father's Day club, I am looking forward to kicking back and relaxing in my favorite chair this Sunday as my grateful children gather at my feet and bestow upon me cute cards and gifts that they have purchased with the money they have been saving all year long. Yeah, right. If you believe that, I have a vintage bottle of Manischewitz I'd like to sell you.

Here are a few ideas that I am sure any dad who is either new to wine or already a connoisseur would love to get this Father's Day.

Wine Library's owner and energetic wine expert, Gary Vaynerchuk, has put together a collection of his favorite "wines for dudes" in a sampler six-pack ($50, shipping included). These wines were picked by Gary specifically for guys who might not ordinarily try wine or are looking for wine to match with more masculine epicurean feats from the grill. In addition to the six miniature bottles (think hotel mini-bar size), a $30 gift certificate is included so that dad can buy bigger bottles of his favorite wine. Available online at

Wine tasting seminars are a unique and practical gift and there are so many cool choices in our area. The Washington Wine Academy in Alexandria, VA, offers a wide range of courses, starting at $35 for single night classes and going up to $300-plus for the lengthier professional wine certification classes. Not sure which class dad wants? Buy a gift certificate online and let him chose.

A wine loving dad can never have too many decanters. They are not only practical, but can be works of art as well. My favorite is the Wine Enthusiast "U" Decanter. It's only $20 and shipping and handling is currently included . For $10 more, add a special touch and engrave dad's initials on the decanter. He is sure to think of you whenever he uses it.

When dad wants to open a special bottle of wine, but doesn't want to finish the bottle, he'll be glad he has the automated Wine Vac ($30) vacuum pump. It uses two AA batteries to perfectly seal an open bottle of wine, protecting the bouquet and flavors from oxidation. It's a high-tech way to protect and prolong the enjoyment of any wine. It also has a built-in thermometer to let you know when it has achieved the ideal temperature. Available at Sharper Image and other wine specialty shops.

Does dad like to travel with wine from time to time? The Jet Bag is an inexpensive and lightweight solution to provide protection for breakable items stored in checked luggage. The bio-degradable carrier features a reusable zip seal closure that is lined with the same absorbent materials found in baby diapers which pads and protects the wine bottle. Heaven forbid the bottle breaks, the Jet Bag rapidly absorbs any liquid spilled, preventing leakage in the suitcase. It's also an ideal way to safely travel with other valuable liquids, such as perfume or liquor. A three-bag pack is $15.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP & Scott Greenberg. All Rights Reserved.)