Reader mailbag: what to get a colleague to celebrate a promotion? (budget edition)

Dear Dr. Vino,

I’m finishing my Ph.D. and my committee advisor has just been appointed the new Dean of Liberal Arts at [name withheld]. I’d like to get him a nice bottle of wine (he loves Spanish wines normally, he travels to Latin America frequently, and is an American history buff) that can be afforded on a grad student budget (~$30). What would you recommend?


Hi Amy,

Well, it is tough without knowing his specific wine preferences so I’m glad he’s open minded! It’s also hard without knowing the shops in your local market. But if you head to a good one, I’m sure the staff can steer you right since $30 is plenty to find a great bottle of wine.

Generally, I found the 2001 Rioja vintage to be very good though they may be all gone by now from store shelves. The 05 Burgundies are great but harder to find something phenomenal under $30. I’d recommend Argentina but something to watch out for as you approach $30 is that the oak treatments can get ridiculously lavish…2002 was a solid vintage in Bordeaux and quite overlooked, keeping the prices down and should still be available…

Specifically, if somebody gave me a Domaine Baumard Clos de Papillon from the Savienneres in the Loire (find this wine), I’d be very happy. It can be found for under $30. Or any Ridge (Lytton Springs?). But, then again, if anyone gave me wine, I’d be happy!

Maybe in the end, congratulations is best said with Champagne. I’d opt for a “grower champagne” (ask at the store) esp the Pierre Peters. It’s a great pop and ready to drink, to savor the promotion now. If you’re looking for dry value bubbly from Spain, I tried the Juve y Camps pinot noir cava last week and for $13.49 (find this wine), it delivered good bang for the buck.

In the end though, it’s the thought that counts. Good luck and let me know what you get him!

I’ll post this exchange in case any site readers have other suggestions.

Send in your questions via the Dr. Vino hotline.

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One Response to “Reader mailbag: what to get a colleague to celebrate a promotion? (budget edition)”

  1. I heartily second the recommendation to give a sparkling wine! Too many people think the only sparkling wine is Champagne and it’s got to be expensive. Take advantage of that misconception by giving a bottle of sparkling wine and wow your Dean…

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