Holiday gift baskets are the go-to gift ideas you're probably underutilizing; they're customizable to any budget, they're fun to put together, and you get the joy of introducing some of your favorite foods and drinks to your loved ones. But how exactly do you put together holiday gift baskets? We've created a basic guide to walk you through the process.

Gift Ideas for Wine Baskets 

While you'll find pre-packaged wine baskets in all the major retailers, you're essentially paying extra for the convenience of having someone else put the basket together. Buying ready-made also robs you of the joy of picking out every product yourself - which, in our minds, is the real gift of holiday baskets! 

Plan your basket by thinking about the person you're buying for. What do they like? More importantly, what allergies or dislikes could affect the items you choose? If you're buying for someone you don't know well, like a Secret Santa swap or a new in-law, go with popular items. Popular items include wine, cheese, crackers, roasted nuts or dried fruits, and fancy condiments (hint: discount retailers like TJ Maxx or Ocean State Job Lots stock tons of fancy imported products for less). 

Chilean wines are a perfect centerpiece for your basket and are guaranteed to be a hit with your loved ones. Not only are they versatile, but they are great quality wines at an affordable price as well. Since your Chilean wine is front and center, purchase the wines you'll include in the basket first. Reds are the best bet for winter, so you might select a nice Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling wines can be a festive seasonal addition, but make sure your recipient likes sparkling wine. People either love or loathe bubbles, so we only buy them when we know it's a sure bet. Starting with the wine also allows you to set your budget and spend proportionally on the wine. If you buy the little things first, it's easy to spend more than you intended to by the time you get around to buying the wine. 

 

Best Wine Basket Pairings for Chilean Wines 

Starting with the wine also allows you to select accompaniments that complement but don't compete with the flavors of the wine. Cabs love sweet, nutty, and creamy flavors. They tend to be fuller-bodied, which means you can include dark chocolates, buttery cookies, roasted nuts, and other rich ingredients in your gift basket. Merlot goes well with brie, gouda, or blue cheese, but would be totally overpowered by spiced roasted nuts. Conversely, oaky Chardonnays love toasted nuts and crisp, buttery crackers. These barrel-aged whites play well with mild creamy cheeses but will be overwhelmed by those funky blues. 

 

Putting the Wine Basket Together 

And finally, the trick to a good wine basket is finding a container that everything fits in without totally blowing your budget. Woven baskets can be pricey, but you'll find affordable baskets at thrift stores, dollar stores, or craft stores. And while it's called a wine basket, you don't have to present it in a basket. A gift box works just as well, as do storage bins you might find at container stores, thrift stores, or discount retailers. You'll also need filler, which could be shredded paper or an old tea towel, and cellophane paper for wrapping. 

Put the filler in the bottom of your basket to cushion the items. Then, place your wines towards the back of the basket. Layer the items in the basket from biggest to smallest. When everything's packed just the way you like it, wrap the entire package in cellophane paper and secure with a pretty gift bow. 

As you put together your first wine basket, you'll get a good handle on the best ways to stock the basket using your local retailers and, of course, your favorite Chilean wines. Once you see how easy it is and how much the recipients appreciate your present, you'll be hooked!