'Tis the season for buying wine as a gift but please don't be lazy or cheap about it. There is a better way, which will take only a minimal amount of time and doesn't have to significantly hurt your finances. It takes a little faith and is a bit riskier, but then the rewards are much greater too.
How many times does it happen? Someone attends a holiday party and brings a cheap, mass produced wine, one that is boring and uninspiring. In fact, a number of people at that party probably brought similar ones. And at the end of the night, some of those bottles will remain full and untouched. They will often be the last choice that the other guests drink. Those same wines may also be given as gifts to friends and family, wines which generally evidence little thought. They might have even been purchased at the last minute, a quick after thought.
Stop doing that!
With a little more effort, you can buy wine that will stand out at your party, or will greatly please the recipient of your gift. And that should be your objective. Stop being lazy in your gift giving and be willing to take a little time to choose a proper gift.
What you should do is stop at your local wine shop and ask for recommendations, for more unusual and different wines, for wines that are excellent values. It shouldn't take the wine shop staff long to show you some recommendations, and it certainly is much better than just picking up a bottle of Yellow Tail or Estrella. The wine shop likely has value wines at all price points, dependent on your budget. For example, not all $10 wines are the same in quality and taste. You can find some $10 Portuguese wines that are superior to many other similarly priced wines from California.
You may not find those value wines unless you ask the wine shop staff. Or it may just take you longer to locate them than if you simply asked for a recommendation. If you seek a wine off the beaten path, something different but delicious, you will shine at your next party. Your wine might be the first one that everyone else drinks. And that is the wine they will talk about all night. And if you give such a wine as a gift to family or friends, they will better appreciate the time and effort that went into the choice of the wine.
Invest some thought into your next wine gift.