Tuesday, September 29, 2020

DIY Wine & Cheese Gift Basket

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom Thumb. All opinions are 100% mine.

Need a thoughtful gift for a wine lover in your life? Surprise them with an easy wine & cheese gift basket! Assemble one in minutes with wine, cheese, crackers, fruit + a few complimentary goodies. You can make it as simple or fancy as you like. Get creative & have fun with it! Keep reading for more tips, ideas & inspiration. And remember, always drink responsibly!

DIY Wine & Cheese Gift Basket

The holidays are quickly approaching and this is an excuse to go all-out for our loved ones. Especially if we can't be there to celebrate with them as much as we'd like.

One of my favorite types of gifts to give is food & drink because it's practical and experiential. The recipient enjoys trying something new and in the end, nothing remains but good memories.

No need to add to the pile of well-intended yet undesired objects stored in the back of the closet, right? (TIP: If your own pile of random things is growing, definitely check out the KonMari Method for decluttering!)

For the holidays, I usually opt for a variety of homemade food gifts, which is a good option if you're making gifts for lots of folks at once. Batch cooking or baking for the win!

But if I know the person well enough, I enjoy putting together a themed gift basket based on their likes or needs. It's more personal & meaningful to me.

An example of this is my DIY self-care gift basket. A lot of folks are stressed and not taking care of themselves well, so I went with a food, drink & spa theme. If you know someone who needs to slow down & unwind, a gift basket like this encourages them to relax and is much appreciated.

For wine lovers, your gift to them could be as simple as a bottle of wine in a sleeve. In fact, they're probably used to that for birthdays & holidays. But you want a thoughtful gift that will impress them, right?

That's where the wine & cheese gift basket comes in. It takes the core gift item (wine) and pairs it with complementary foods (cheeses, crackers & seasonal fruits) + a few other goodies, so the consumption of the wine becomes an experience.

This is the kind of stuff I live for as a foodie. That's why I love charcuterie boards so much! Pairing the different tastes & textures together (usually with a white wine sangria to wash it down) is super fun and satisfying.

Back to the wine gift basket.

Today's version is EXTRA SPECIAL.

Instead of a regular-sized bottle of wine (or even several smaller bottles) as the main element, it features a Wine Advent Calendar instead. Squeeeeeeee!

These things sell like HOTCAKES so you have to be quick about grabbing one (or a couple).

DIY Wine & Cheese Gift Basket with a Wine Advent Calendar

Limited-Edition Wine Advent Calendar

The one I'm featuring today with the cute reindeer cover is a wine advent calendar with 24 mini bottles of wine (no duplicates). It's available for a limited time (October 1st through October 10th, 2020) exclusively at Tom Thumb.

Here's how it works: Each day, from December 1-24th, your recipient opens one cardboard tab corresponding to the current day and pulls out a mini bottle of wine for tasting. The wines are hidden so each day is a surprise. Love it!

FUN SOCIAL IDEA: This doesn't have to be a one-way gift! If you love wine, as well, try this:

  • Get two advent calendars (one for your loved one and one for yourself) and drop off the gift basket early, so it's there by Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Starting December 1st, each of you opens up a door in your matching advent calendars, samples the wine, and chats about it together on the phone, via text, or over video chat.
  • Do this every day (ideally) or every few days if you fall behind, to stay connected right up until Christmas.

Wouldn't it be awesome to do this with a friend or loved one? It would definitely be something different!

Wine Advent Calendar from Tom Thumb

More Info About This Wine Advent Calendar (pictured above):

  • It includes 24 unique wines from premier US wine regions in California, Washington, and Oregon. Within these locations, some of the wines are sourced from prestigious subregions like California's Paso Robles, Washington's Columbia Valley, and Oregon's Willamette Valley. Each wine has its own unique label and story!
  • Within the calendar, there are a total of 24 mini bottles of wine (187 ml each) - one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Inside there are 13 reds, 9 whites, and 2 roses. There are NO duplicate wines, so each day will be a new experience!
  • There are 17 distinct varietals included within the advent calendar to suit every palate and drive experimentation - everything from Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and lesser-known varietals like Gewürztraminer.
  • Each day, consumers can Visit www.24daysofwine.com to learn more about the wine and region they will be tasting that day. Click on a day, and you'll be brought to a wine information page with wine/region information, tasting/pairing suggestions, and images of that particular day's wine. Super simple!

Ready to grab one of these wine advent calendars for a holiday gift? They're only available for a limited time (October 1st through October 10th, 2020), so set a reminder for yourself as they're likely to sell out quickly.

TIP: Do you live in the Dallas area and don't want to go inside to shop? Tom Thumb also offers Grocery Delivery and DriveUp & Go™ for convenient ways to shop!

Note: Live outside the Dallas area? I shopped at Tom Thumb in my local area, but you can also find these wine advent calendars exclusively at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Vons, and Randalls.

How to Make a DIY Wine & Cheese Gift Basket (Easy Holiday Gift + Ideas)

Okay, let's jump into how to make this wine & cheese gift basket!

First, I'm going to explain how to make a basic wine gift basket similar to the one pictured here. Then, I'll give you tips & tricks for additional ideas and food pairings. So keep scrolling to find what you need. :)

How to Make A DIY Wine & Cheese Gift Basket


  • Gift Basket (examples: wicker basket, wooden box, decorated cardboard box, metal tin)
  • Decorated Kitchen Towels (for lining the box, adding height & protecting any bottles or glasses)
  • Small Cutting Board (for the recipient to prep & serve the cheese and fruit)
  • Cheese knives and/or spoons (optional)
  • Wine Glasses (I prefer stemless so they're smaller & less fragile)
  • Coasters (mine are wine-themed but you can use any eye-catching ones)
  • 2-4 different kinds of cheese, see my notes below for lots of options (I used Gouda & Manchego from Primo Taglio®, both of which are firmer)
  • 2-3 different types of seasonal fruit (I used a Bosc pear, Honeycrisp apple & pomegranate)
  • Crackers (I used Everything Seasoning Flatbread Crackers from Open Nature®)
  • Scarf (for draping over the front of the basket to make it more eye-catching + your recipient can wear it while drinking their wine)
  • Wine (1-2 big bottles, 4-6 smaller bottles, or a wine advent calendar for Christmas)


  1. Find a sturdy gift basket that's big enough to fit all your wine, fruit, cheese & goodies inside. I prefer to use a taller, deeper basket (as opposed to a shallow and wide one) so there's less chance of the wine or glasses falling out (we want them to be secure). Keep in mind that the larger your basket, the more space you'll have to fill to make it look abundant.
  2. Now you're ready to assemble. Line the bottom of the basket with a kitchen towel (or your preferred filler). Place your tallest items at the back of the basket (in my case the cutting board & crackers). If you're using regular bottles of wine, add those now near the back. Fold up 1-2 more towels and place them in front of the tall items to create height.
  3. Arrange your smaller items (wine glasses, cheese, fruits, coasters, knives, or mini wine bottles) on the folded up towels so each one is visible and nothing is completely hidden at the bottom.
  4. Once everything is positioned how you want it & secure (nothing falls out of the basket when you pick it up), you're ready to go. TIP: If you're making this ahead of time, store the cheese in your refrigerator and only add it to the basket right before you leave so it stays cool. Also, pick fruits that aren't super ripe so they last longer for your loved one.
  5. (Optional): Tie a hand-written tag to the basket's handle and cover the top with cellphone or wrapping paper (to keep it a surprise). If you cover it, make sure to let the recipient know there is something perishable inside (cheese) in case they delay opening it.

What Kind of Cheese Can You Put in a Gift Basket?

Any cheese you want, it just depends on how soon your recipient will receive the gift, how quick they can store it in the refrigerator, and how long before they'll consume it.

The more moisture in the cheese, the shorter its shelf life, and the quicker it needs to be put back in the fridge. Drier, firmer cheeses have the longest, and soft or fresh cheeses have the shortest.

Here are some examples of cheeses you could pick depending on how soon your recipient wants to enjoy it:

  • Hard cheeses: Parmesan, Asiago, Parmigiano-reggiano, Manchego
  • Firm or Semi-Firm cheeses: Aged Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Gouda, Gruyère, Provolone
  • Semi-Soft cheeses: Harvati, Muenster, Blue Cheese (Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton - these can also be firmer)
  • Soft cheeses: Brie, Double Creme, Camembert, Neufchâtel, Goat Cheese
  • Fresh cheeses: Mozzarella, Burrata, Cheese curds, Ricotta

Other Options For Supplies

  • Basket Alternatives: You can get creative here and use whatever vessel you like (it doesn't have to be a "basket") as long as it's sturdy. Here are some ideas: wicker basket, wooden crate, decorated cardboard box (like a photo box), or metal serving tray (make sure it has deep sides). If you want to save money, check your local thrift store to see what they have!
  • Paper: If you don't have enough towels, use crumpled up newspaper, wrapping paper, kraft paper, or printer paper instead. You can also buy shredded filler paper with holiday colors. I prefer cute towels because they're re-usable.
  • Throws or Shirts: Another alternative to kitchen towels for padding the gift basket is to use a thin throw blanket (folded up) or even a long sleeve shirt (hopefully in their size) with a neutral or festive pattern. SECRET: In the image below, the red plaid "blanket" is actually a button-up shirt! You probably couldn't tell, right? I really wanted a cozy Christmas pattern with a pop of bright red color but couldn't find a scarf that looked like that. So, I improvised with a shirt instead. It's festive and practical since you're recipient can wear it while they drink the wine. :)
  • Plastic: If it makes you uncomfortable to use glass in your basket (maybe you're driving it to them over very bumpy roads), you can look for plastic wine tumblers instead. For the wine, grab a 4 or 6-pack of wine sold in mini containers made with plastic, cardboard, or cans.

More Ideas For What To Put in a Wine Gift Basket (Besides Wine)

  • good-quality chocolate (bar chocolate or truffles)
  • fruit jams to pair with cheeses like blue cheese or goat cheese (fig, jalapeno, apple, cherry, etc.)
  • sangria ingredients (small bottle of brandy, fresh whole fruit, bottled fruit juice & sparkling water)
  • cured meats (like a log of salami or summer sausage, or a package of beef jerky)
  • good-quality extra virgin olive oil (to pair with the foods they serve with the wine)
  • jarred pitted olives (I like Kalamata, Castelvetrano, and Niçoise olives)
  • wine themed clothing like a t-shirt, scarf, or hat
  • a small framed quote or painting relating to wine
  • classic wine tools like a wine opener or wine stopper
  • a decorative charm for wine bottles or glasses

Did I miss anything? If you're a wine lover or crafter, leave a comment below with your favorite things to include in gift baskets! Let's help each other come up with good ideas. :)

Need a thoughtful gift for a wine lover in your life? Surprise them with an easy wine & cheese gift basket! Assemble one in minutes with wine, cheese, crackers, fruit + a few complimentary goodies. You can make it as simple or fancy as you like. Get creative & have fun with it! Keep reading for more tips, ideas & inspiration. And remember, always drink responsibly!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use.

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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