Martin’s Musings: The Lucky Number 8

Martin’s Musings: The Lucky Number 8

My wonderful sister-in-law Julia is of Chinese descent and is gaga about the number 8. She lives on the 8th floor, likes 8 in her phone numbers and was more than a little disappointed that her baby was not born on the 8th…but would never say it. Her passion sparked my curiosity. So, what is the deal with 8? “Eight” in Chinese sounds like to “generate wealth”, so it is easy to say why commercially-minded people would quickly associate this number with good fortune. Japan also celebrates the lucky number 8 with similar passion and revere. Some fun ways the number eight has been celebrated are at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They started the games on 8/8/08 at 8:08 local time. The tallest building in Malaysia is 88 stories. All the airlines compete to pepper their flight numbers to China 8’s (i.e. AC88, KL888, UA888). Hopefully, these travelers have had better luck with their on-time arrival on United than I have. The number four, contrastingly, is a Chinese pariah. Building owners in Chinese communities are famous for skipping floors with 4s and expanding the number of floors with 8 to increase commercial appeal. So, what’s a gift merchant to do with all this research? The answer was clear: let’s create an over-the-top gift to celebrate the number 8, of course! We are delighted to have just launched our “Lucky 8 Sommelier’s Fine Wine Crate” selling for $1,288.88 . It is 2 four-bottle crates, each emblazoned with the Chinese character for 8 and the words, “Eight Bottles for Good Luck and Prosperity”. You can add your own personal message to the...
God Loves Us…. And Other Wine Quotes

God Loves Us…. And Other Wine Quotes

One of the great things we wine lovers share is the love of words. Toasts, poems, songs, stories and wine quotes punctuate the most memorable wine events and milestones. “In Vino Veritas.” (In wine, there is truth.)  One of the best-known quotes in oenophile circles, Pliny the Elder gets the credit for this truism, that wine is indeed a lubricant for honesty and self-reflection. It’s a bit sad that the man who is credited for creating what became the encyclopedia is more remembered for his drinking quote than shifting the course of human knowledge, but who am I to judge? “Age appears best in four things – old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read.”   Sir Francis Bacon evokes powerful sentiments with his quote about aging. For me, he nails it on three fronts. If I can drink good old wine with good old friends and then read a classic novel in the same weekend, I’ve had a perfect weekend. Benjamin Franklin often gets most of his credit for his inventions, industriousness and his role in building the United States Constitution and Postal Service. All superlatives of the highest order, to be sure. But he also deserves a smiling head nod as a humorist, as well! His charm leaps off the page with the quote: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine: a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” Truly this is hard to argue, as we watch...
Martin’s Musings: Socialists, Stuffy Englishmen & Some Damn Good Bottles of Wine

Martin’s Musings: Socialists, Stuffy Englishmen & Some Damn Good Bottles of Wine

About once a year at a wine event, one of my friends will say, “Have you ever heard that the French drink their wines too young, so a socialist government won’t take them. The English drink them too old, so they can show their friends cobwebs and dusty bottles. The American drink them exactly when they are ready, because they don’t know any better.” Though I’ve heard the quote fifty times, it makes me laugh every time. Why, you say, should you care? It is because we recently did one of our tastings at GiftTree and we tasted two amazing aged fine wines that are drinking perfectly. We only have a few bottles of each left, so snap them up quickly. Your gift recipient will be glad you did. First, is the Vérité La Joie – the 2006 from Sonoma County is absolutely delicious. This Bordeaux blend from California demonstrates the perfect tension between smooth tannins and the nuance of the renowned winemaker Pierre Seillan. Vérité was built at a partnership between the late, renowned Jess Jackson and the Bordelais wine maker Seillan. Robert Parker has given La Joie 100 points on a few occasions. At GiftTree, our luxury wines like Vérité come with tasting notes cards, ensuring that your recipient will know how special the bottle they are receiving is. Please ask your recipient to tell me how they liked it… I completely adored this wine and hope they do, too.   Second top wine on this list is Lokoya Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. OMG. I had to stand and do miniature happy dance when I tasted...
Martin’s Musings: When Much Ado Matters

Martin’s Musings: When Much Ado Matters

Presentation Matters. Full Stop. In a world where most e-commerce is just focused on selling “stuff” via some search algorithm with some retailer, you just “click it”, and the stuff is on the way. Within minutes after your order, your hunter gatherer instincts are sated, you probably forgot that you even bought something. But gifts are not just “stuff”. Gifts are symbols: symbols of appreciation, love, thanks or other sentiment. And when a gift is beautifully presented, it reinforces the consideration of the gestures itself. There are a few new gifts at GiftTree this year that keep pushing the envelope on our “When Much Ado Matters” presentation that I am particularly excited about. I hope you think so too. Top of my list this year is undoubtedly the Sand Hill Road Luxury Basket. Sand Hill Road is the epicenter of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley. Well-educated investors don the most expensive business casual clothing ever seen, while trying to find the next Google, Facebook or Uber. One of most nerve-racking things I’ve ever done is pitch investing in my business to landed gentry on Sand Hill Road. Probably the most excited I’ve ever been is to realize that the companies I’ve pitched earned the confidence of some of those investors to believe and invest in our companies. Sand Hill Road is at the heart of the California version of the American Dream. It is with this in mind that we launched our Sand Hill Road Luxury Basket this year. It contains a curated collection of Northern California treats including Clif Family Sea Salt Caramels (Napa), TCHO Chocolate (Berkeley) and many other delicious, sophisticated items...
Martin’s Musings: GiftTree’s Milestone Wine Trio Crates

Martin’s Musings: GiftTree’s Milestone Wine Trio Crates

I’ve always loved to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays by popping the cork on something memorable. For anniversaries, there is something particularly important about the mutual acknowledgement of love, commitment and experience together. Ogden Nash once said it humorously, “Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them.” My wife and I are lucky to have gotten married on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so we never forget to toast the occasion. Twenty-two years and we haven’t forgotten yet! With GiftTree, you can make it easy for every couple to remember their anniversary and all the special little relationship milestones that they share. We’ve recently launched two gifts that are perfect for wedding or anniversary gifts.   I love our new Milestone Anniversary Wine Trio as a creative option as a wedding gift. For year 1 (in our “Best” version), pop the cork on the iconic crisp apple acidity of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne. The couple can celebrate Year 5 with a perfectly aged bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. In Year 10, the enduring unctuous glory of Fonseca LBV Port will be ready for action when the time comes for their 10-year anniversary. Above all, this gift is all about the symbolism of a celebrating each day and looking forward to a joyful life together.                 For other milestones, we have similar but more versatile gift that is designed to let the couple choose when and for what they’d like to celebrate; called the Evenings Together Wine Trio. The wine choices are the same as the...
Leave a Lasting Impression with Corporate Gifts

Leave a Lasting Impression with Corporate Gifts

When it comes to Corporate Gifting, it can be an angst-filled time of year. The question at hand: What to give to the business partners and employees to leave a lasting impression? The question seems so innocuous, but it isn’t necessarily so. The way to address finding the perfect corporate gift is by asking two questions: First, what do you want to say to the recipient? And secondly, what does the gift say about you? Here’s the way I think about the first question, “What do you want to say to the recipient?” Be specific and appreciative in your gift message. “Thank you Joan for your incredible support of our team this year!” or “Dear Joan, I know you love Godiva chocolate and we wanted to show how much we appreciate you!” Why put all the effort into buying a gift and rush through the message? Make a connection. If a gift can open the door to a personal discussion, go ahead! For example: “Dear Xavier, Eat the deliciousness inside now, but save the Veuve for my next visit to town for us to enjoy together.” For business gifts, think about giving a gift that’s an appropriate size. You want everyone to enjoy the gift. A small office may enjoy a smaller gift, like a tower full of fresh fruit. Larger business relationship or teams probably warrants a larger gift to share with everyone, like an abundant gift basket.   The next question can sometimes be forgotten, but is very real. “What does the gift say about you and your company?” Where you buy says something about you. This is admittedly self-serving...