15+ Things to Put in a Sympathy Wine Gift Basket


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When someone is feeling down, experiencing grief, or facing one of life’s many challenges, a gift basket is a way to let them know you’re thinking of them. Offering your condolences isn’t always easy, and you might not know where to begin. 

Overview: Our Top Picks

Ideas for Meat, Cheese, and Other Accoutrements to Add to Your Basket

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One of the most popular types of sympathy gift baskets that goes a long way is a wine gift basket. This is any kind of gift basket given typically in lieu of flowers after a loss or challenging life event. These thoughtful baskets include the perfectly selected bottle of wine paired with other gifts like a sympathy card, cheese, and snacks. 

While it might sound simple, a DIY sympathy wine gift basket helps someone know they’re not alone. With a bit of preparation, you can put together your own DIY wine gift basket, no matter your budget or recipient’s needs. 

When to Send a Sympathy Wine Gift Basket?

First, it’s important to recognize when this type of gift basket is appropriate. Because it includes wine, you’ll want to ensure the recipient enjoys drinking wine, whether regularly or in social settings. In addition, you’ll want to know a bit about their favorite types of wine or how to select a quality bottle of wine. 

You might give a sympathy wine gift basket in any of these situations:

  • After the death of a loved one
  • During a difficult time
  • After a challenging diagnosis
  • On a death anniversary
  • On or before a special occasion

Remember that in some religions and cultures, wine isn’t an appropriate gift. However, if you know the individual to be a wine drinker on some occasions, this is a thoughtful way to show support and kindness. 

Also, because it’s easy to put together a wine gift basket yourself, it can be a cost-effective sympathy gift. Familiarize yourself with gift-giving etiquette to ensure your gift is welcome and given in a helpful manner. 

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

Types of Wine You Can Add to the Sympathy Basket

You don’t need any professional experience learning about wines to include wine in a DIY sympathy basket. A bottle of wine is almost always the perfect gift, and it’s easy to find high-quality bottles just about anywhere you shop for alcohol. 

However, we all know the anxiety that comes with stepping into a liquor store or wine shop and not knowing where to begin. In times like these, remember the occasion. You want a somber, thoughtful wine. Something that’s likely to suit all palates and preferences. These types of wine below are a great choice. 

1. Pinot noir

As far as red wines go, this is one of the most popular light-bodied wines. This is the ideal choice to bring to a dinner party, so it also makes a great pick for a DIY sympathy wine gift basket. Because it goes with just about anything, it’s perfect for honoring events like death anniversaries and holidays. 

2. Chardonnay

For a white alternative, opt for a chardonnay. It’s easy to find a bottle in the $20-30 range that won’t break the bank that still tastes expensive. Again, this is something that pairs well with anything, whether it’s a cheese board or dinner. 

3. Port wine

When experiencing grief and emotional pain, having something sweet and comforting goes a long way. Port wine is a sweet, red fortified wine from a specific region in Portugal. While it’s intended to be drunk in smaller quantities, this is the ideal dessert wine to pair with baked goods and other sweets. 

4. Sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon blanc is one of the more refreshing and crisp white wines. It usually tastes like citrus, making it ideal for warmer months. This is a light option for someone who might not be a big wine drinker, but enjoys an occasional glass. 

5. Riesling

Another white, crisp wine is Riesling. This wine can lean sweet, so it’s also ideal to pair it with sweet treats like chocolate, fruit, and baked goods. This is always a crowd-pleaser, so it’s a good pick for someone who might not have much experience with wine. 

6. Beaujolais nouveau

This specific French wine is actually best when enjoyed relatively young. Unlike other wines that become better with age, you don’t have to worry about the year on your Beaujolais Nouveau bottle. This is a popular Christmas wine, so it’s a good gift idea around the holiday season. 

7. Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a red wine that has a lot of full-bodied spices. White Zinfandel is a lighter, pink variation. Zinfandel wine pairs well with hearty dinners, especially Italian and American food. 

8. Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is one of the most popular white wines that’s light and easy to drink. The delicate citrus and floral notes make it easy to drink, no matter the occasion. Light and sometimes bitter, this is the perfect wine to pair with cheese or jam. 

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Ideas for Meat, Cheese, and Other Accoutrements to Add to Your Basket

Aside from a sympathy message, you can pair your wine with meat, cheese, and other goods to make this even more special. Your DIY wine sympathy basket can be complete on its own, but it’s especially special with these accouterments. 

1. Fine cheeses

The first option is to pair some fine cheeses with your wine gift basket. These don’t need to be anything hard to find.

Pick up a few favorites from your local bakery or cheese section of your grocery store. Pair with some other items from this list for a DIY cheese board. 

2. Crackers

Another easy thing to pair with wine is crackers. These are perfect for including with cheese and other snacks. Because they’re easy to grab and go, they’re perfect for your sympathy basket. 

3. Local meats

Different meats like you would find on a charcuterie board are always a good idea for these types of gift baskets. Add a few selections so they can find the one they like best. 

4. Baked goods

Baked goods like cookies, brownies, and easily wrapped items are also an effective treat for these gift baskets. They’re best when paired with a sweet wine like a Reisling. 

5. Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Fine chocolates are easy to find at the grocery store and at local shops, so this doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way. Adding a selection of fine chocolate ensures they have the ultimate comfort food. 

6. Fruit

Fruit is the perfect food to have on hand in a time of need. Because it’s easy to grab and go and it’s both filling and nutritious, they’re sure to put this to good use. Things like apples, oranges, and figs are a great option. 

7. Soup 

Another comfort food go-to is soup. You can make your own soup and keep it in a secure thermos for reheating or just opt for canned soup. Recipes like bean soup, tomato soup, and chicken noodle are always crowd-pleasers. 

8. Hot chocolate mix

There are few things that feel warmer than a cup of hot chocolate. Having a warm cup to hold helps ease anxiety and fear in dark times. Hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and other treats are perfect when paired with a wine sympathy gift basket. 

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

9. Tea

Why not create a selection of beverages, both alcoholic and alcohol-free, to choose from? Tea is another comfort item that goes a long way in a time of need. Arrange a few tea satchels from a few different blends, so your recipient has several to choose from. 

10. Coffee

For someone who might need a dose of caffeine, coffee is another great pick. Pair your coffee selection with new coffee mugs for easy drinking no matter where the next few days take your recipient. 

11. Nuts and granola

Sometimes it’s not easy to eat a full meal or heavy snacks while experiencing grief. Nuts and granola are a good alternative by letting them graze throughout the day on a few handfuls of healthy snacks. 

12. Candy

Candy is almost always a good idea, especially if you know what type of candy they’d appreciate. While wine and candy might not seem like a sophisticated pairing, it’s a kind gesture that they’re sure to appreciate in their time of need. 

13. Popcorn

Another healthy option is to include popcorn. Lightly salted or sweetened popcorn pairs very well with most wines, and it’s also perfect for light grazing.

14. Wine glasses

Finding one’s wine glasses or drinkware isn’t always easy right after losing someone special. Ensure your recipient has an easy way to drink their wine by including wine glasses or even disposable glasses with your basket. 

15. Food delivery gift card

Last but not least, when in doubt, pair your wine with a food delivery gift card. Wine is best enjoyed with a cooked meal, but cooking might be the last thing on your recipient’s mind. A food delivery gift card lets them choose a meal for themselves from a local restaurant without the stress. 

DIY Wine Basket for Someone in Need

A wine sympathy gift basket is an inexpensive, thoughtful way to be there for someone when they need it most. You don’t need to know anything about wine to put together a basket they’re sure to love. With some inspiration from the list above, it’s easy to create a DIY sympathy gift basket they’re put to good use. 

In times like these, you want to show your support in any way possible. This small gesture reminds your recipient that you’re there for them, and that’s something they’re sure to remember for years to come. 

If you're looking for more ways to support someone in need, read our guides on sympathy food delivery and sympathy eCards.

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