Graduation looks a bit different for the millions of students graduating from college and graduate school this year. There are no caps and gowns, no diplomas handed out by distinguished faculty, no walks across expansive stages — things can feel somber indeed. However, it's important to commemorate the years of study and hard work perhaps more than ever. Indeed, studies have found that social connection is vital to human emotional and mental health, which means that celebrating milestones such as graduation — even virtually — take on even greater importance.
The good news is that whether gifting your favorite grad or toasting their achievements during an online get-together, wine and spirits can play a key role in commencing any celebration. Here are some ideas:
For Music Majors
Budget Buy: It's no secret that musicians march to their own beats. Music-inspired hard ciders from Sweden's Frukt Stereo are an organic, fun and funky way to celebrate the musically inclined.
Splurge: In music, "sforzando" refers to a tone or chord played with a particular accent. Our 2001 Sforzato di Valtellina from Vini Balgera is a deeply colored and bold from just north of Milan! red filled with its complex notes of violet, cassis, and blackberry jam. Something to sing about indeed.
Budget Buy: For history lovers, there's no better gift than a bottle that tells a story about the past. Made near the historic city of Valladolid in north-central Spain, the 2001 Vina Rufina Alta Gama Reserva is a tempranillo, aged in for at least 24 months in American (70%) and French (30%) oak and offers beautiful notes of strawberry, blackberry, licorice, and smoke, flecked with fresh vanilla.
Splurge: The pearlescent, natural 2018 Amphora from Pares Balta is a pure and lovely expression of Xarel-lo, made from organic and biodynamic grapes and fermented in amphorae made from the unique red clay found on the estate. Elegant and aromatic, this wine is an excellent -- and delicious example of what happens with historic winemaking meets modern technique.
For Business Students
Budget Buy: Bold, yet friendly, with ripe red fruit and floral aromas make the 2016 Tenute Falezza Valpolicella Superiore the perfect wine with which to forget those long hours spent studying statistics. BYO Charcuterie plate, then kick back and enjoy the tasty returns on this budget-friendly investment.
Splurge: Historically, Bordeaux was a region of merchants and the 2012 Chateau de Fieuzal Grand Cru Classe de Graves is a powerful red from Pessac-Leognan that means bidness. Made from sustainably grown grapes, the wine is at once fruity, spicy, earthy, with notes of black cherry, currant, and vanilla. Drink it now or over the next 10 years, with interest.
For Scientists and Medical Professionals
Budget Buy: In addition to the science, art and medicine practiced within the ancient walls of Pannonhalma Archabbey in Hungary, the monks also developed winemaking practices that have led to the birth of the stunning 2019 Pannonhalmi Apatsagi rosé. With notes of cherry blossom and red raspberry, it's an easy drinking reminder that medicine and winemaking have an awful lot in common.
Splurge: Medicine is part art and part science, and the 2015 I Greppi Greppicaia is a lush Super-Tuscan filled with juicy red and black fruits, hints of cocoa, tea, and incense that captures that balance beautifully. Founded by a group of scientists, artists and winemakers in 2001, this wine is the perfect gift for the medical school grad.
For Legal Eagles
Budget Buy: After four years of torts and trial law, your law school grad is free from the library at last. "Ex Libris" means "from the library," and this 2016 Washington State red is beautifully structured and elegant, and the perfect way to celebrate passing the bar on a budget (just in case those billable hours haven't added up yet).
Splurge: If you're going to pop a bottle, pop a big one. Our Louis de Grenelle Cuvee Reserve Magnum is a dry, richly flavored bubbly made from sustainably grown grapes in the Loire Valley. The wine features notes of baked apple, brioche, honeysuckle and apricot framed by superb balance and a lengthy finish. Besides, those billable hours have to pay off sometime.