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Spirited gift-giving.

Convenience and comfort count, especially when Christmas shopping. And, what could be more convenient or comfortable than shopping quietly through wines and spirits catalogs at home, while others are rushing frantically through crowded stores.

Catalogs are hardly new sprigs on the Christmas tree. They're been mainstays of retailing since Mr. Sears met Mr. Roebuck. But today's catalogs--especially those dedicated to fine beverages and accessories--are fresh, sophisticated and wordly. Each of the following catalogs has a specialty and offers a wide choice of gifts as well.

* THE CONNOISEUR (2466 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora, IL 60504; 800-582-6655) specializes in California wines with personalized labels such as "Holiday Greetings to Jean and John from Betty and Bob, December 25, 1992." Choose from red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and whites such as Chardonnay to Perrier-Jouet Champagne and sparkling wines. All come packed in rustic wooden boxes like Europe's finest wines. Special theme gift packs that include wine or champagne and food, coffees and crystal glasses are also available as are nonalcohol sparkling apple juice and white Zinfandel.

The minimum order is one bottle, and prices for single bottles range from $16.95 to $21.95. Nonalcoholic gifts can be shipped anywhere in the United States, while gifts containing alcohol can be delivered to states only where permitted by law and must be received by someone over 21. Allow four to five business days for average delivery. American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

* 800 SPIRITS (2 University Plaza, Suite 308, Hackensack, NJ 07601; 800-238-4373 or by fax, 201-342-8269) markets its wine and spirits particularly to businesses, although it welcomes individuals as well. Its wines come from France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Germany, California and Oregon. But the mail-order company excels in its champagne and spirits choices--offering offering nearly a dozen "marques," or brands of champagne.

Spirits is virtually a shop in itself with six kinds of Scotch, six brands of single malt Scotch, eight brands of Cognac and six brands of vodka. It also offers Irish whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, Port, sherry, Bourbon and a wide range of liqueurs.

To round out their offerings, there are gift packages of caviar--Sevruga and Beluga ($43 to $398, depending on type and weight)--baskets of cheeses, spreads and crackers, chocolate truffles and even a chess set made of white and milk chocolate.

There is no minimum order and the average time for delivery is three to five business days. Next-day and second-day delivery are available at an additional cost. The company can ship wines and spirits to all states with the exception of Oregon and New Hampshire. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are accepted.

* INTERNATIONAL WINE ACCESSORIES (11020 Audelia Road, Suite B-113, Dallas, TX 75243; 800-527-4072 or fax, 214-349-8712) specializes in wine racks and has an enormous selection--ranging from oak, pine and redwood to wrought iron, steel and plastic. The wine racks come in sizes to fit under a table or staircase or in a closet, or can be custom-made to line an entire room. IWA also features wine cabinets with cooling systems. Prices begin as low as $14.95 and escalate to thousands for a full-room custom design. Between the two extremes lies a rack to please anyone.

Among IWA's other specialties are corkscrews, decanters and wine accessories, including a selection of glasses, books and videos. There is no minimum order and the average delivery time is two to five days for small items and three weeks for large items. Rush delivery is available at an additional cost. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

While there is a time for browsing leisurely through shops, it's surely not the Christmas season! So, just sit back and relax--secure in the knowledge that you're avoiding the holiday crowds and madness--and shop from home with your catalogs and your telephone.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:beverage catalogs
Author:Fried, Eunice
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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