How to gift a magnum without looking obtuse?

A magnum is more than just a giant bottle of wine. Gifting a luxury wine in magnum form can send a powerful message to the recipient. However, there is a risk that magnum wine gift sets can appear a little ostentatious. Follow these steps to ensure your gifted wine is received in your intended spirit.

Choose an appropriate wine

Perhaps the most crucial step of gifting a magnum is ensuring you select a gift your recipient will enjoy – not something you feel they should receive. This may involve setting long-held personal beliefs to one side for the sake of harmony. 

You may consider consuming rosé in winter profane, but if this is your recipient's favourite, they are unlikely to appreciate attempts to educate or enhance their palate by presenting a magnum of premium red or white wine. Stick with a wine that you know will be relished.

Disguise the magnum

Wine bottles are famously identifiable, even when gift-wrapped. While the label of the wine may remain a short-term mystery, the shape of a bottle – or indeed a magnum – is unmistakable.

Consider housing your magnum wine in a wooden box. In addition to adding a layer of intrigue to the gift, you will also be presenting a collectable component that can be maintained and spark memories for years to come. If the box is engraved or personalised, so much the better.

Pair the gift

Matching a magnum of wine with an appropriate food, such as a cheeseboard, can make the gift feel increasingly thoughtful – especially if you are presenting the gift to multiple people. 

A couple, family, or household will all feel included in your decision, and as the popular adage explains, it's thought that counts (though we maintain that whoever coined that turn of phrase never experienced the joy of receiving a premium magnum of wine.) Just be mindful of anything too perishable when planning your purchases in advance.

If you are concerned about pairing a magnum with food, perhaps because you are unsure of any potential allergies or dietary preferences, consider adding magnum wine accessories to your parcel. The ideal glass can make a big difference to the drinking experience of luxury wine, so bringing these into the gift may enhance the outcome. 

Do not expect the magnum to be opened immediately

Everybody treats wine differently, so do not expect the magnum to be opened on the spot – and certainly do not recommend that the recipient does so, especially if they know that you have gifted a personal favourite.

Somebody may wish to hold their wine back for a special occasion, as is their right, and expectantly handing over a corkscrew the moment the gift is unwrapped may sour the recipient's experience. While a magnum of wine is frequently associated with a social occasion or gathering, it may not be applicable to this particular event.  

Read the room

The joy of gifting should come from the act of giving, and not rely upon the recipient's reaction. Do not go to great pains to explain how lavish you have been by opting for a magnum of wine over a humble bottle, and resist any temptation to launch into an unprompted lecture on the superiority of the magnum format. 

If your recipient wishes to discuss their gift, that is great. If they rapidly move on, it does not necessarily mean they are dismissive or ungrateful for your munificence – just wait for an appropriate occasion to discuss it further. 

Gifting wine, especially a magnum, can sometimes feel like a minefield of potential social awkwardness, but this does not need to be the case. Follow the steps outlined above, and your thoughtfulness and generosity will leave a lasting impression on any recipient.