What is the ideal gift or present for a man who’s turning forty? Possibly an Aston Martin if your budget is limitless, but for those of us in the real world we need to find an affordable present!

At forty you’d expect he has a fully furnished house, which the wife has filled with ornaments. He’s already set up with his ipod and plasma tv, he’s got his golf clubs and his playstation. So what can you buy him? 40 is the big one so you don’t just want to give a tin of biscuits, it has to be something special and thoughtful. The answer is simple – good wine! We’re not talking about a £5 bottle of plonk from the local off license – that shows no thought or effort whatsoever. We’re talking about something exotic and unusual, maybe a single bottle of something exceptional or possibly a whole case of good wines if your budget’s big enough.

Everyone’s drinking wine these days, and even those of us who ten years ago used to drink a pint of ale from a handled glass are exploring wine and looking for something better than the plonk on the shelves in the supermarket. It’s a fascinating world which is becoming a ‘hobby’ for many people, as good wine is becoming more widely available.

So you’ve decided his present is good wine then, but now where do you start? There’s an awful lot of expensive wine out there which frankly isn’t good. Remember Britain is viewed as ‘the toilet of Europe’ by our European cousins in the wine trade, who’s attitude when they have bad wine is simply ‘put a fancy label on it and sell it in the UK at an extortionate price’. According to renowned wine writer Malcolm Gluck, the European wine trade have a term for the naive UK consumer – ‘Indian customer’, which means someone who can be conned into paying a hefty price for poor wine! So beware! My advice is avoid anything French as it’s all overpriced and under quality. There are some sensational wines coming out of new world countries like Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Italy’s also a great country for top quality wines but deciphering their labels can be a minefield for the inexperienced!

If you’re looking for something special visit www.goodwineonline.co.uk who import a range of exclusive hand made wines, often made in tiny quantities of only a thousand bottles or so. But this doesn’t mean they’re expensive! In fact they have a policy of ensuring they’re the cheapest retailer of each of their wines. They have some truly impressive limited production wines from all the main wine producing countries, with superb presentation. They offer a ‘life saving’ next working day delivery service too ( for only£8.99 for any quantity) which can get you out of trouble if a birthday’s snuck up on you by suprise! They also include a complimentay (hand written) card if required, so you can send a personalised gift anywhere in the UK next day with the click of a mouse! That’s my kind of shopping!