The Best Wines for Picnics & Camping | Chateau Grand Traverse

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The Best Wines for Picnics and Camping

From the fresh air to the recharging power of sunshine, there’s something special about enjoying a glass of wine in the great outdoors.

Whether it’s a picnic lunch with your significant other or a camping trip with a group of friends, there are plenty of great wine options to raise in your glass (or metallic tumbler) when you’re outside enjoying your best life.

At their core, the wines we pair for picnics and camping are refreshing and balanced. So, let’s uncork some of these bottles and get to work!

Wine and Picnic 101

Before we jump into the specific wines you should bring to your next picnic, let’s go over a few best practices:

  • Check local rules. Not all local parks allow the consumption of alcohol on the premises. Make sure it’s legal to bring a bottle of wine to your picnic destination.
  • Avoid glass. There’s not much you can do about the bottle of wine, but strongly consider bringing an alternative to a traditional wine glass. Stainless-steel wine tumblers and shatterproof wine glasses are on the market and are perfect for picnics.
  • Pair with food. Be intentional with what food you bring to your picnic and pair your wine accordingly.

How to Keep Wine Cool on a Picnic

A good picnic wine is typically a chilled white wine, but how do you keep it cool in the great outdoors?

The easiest method is to bring a cooler with ice and to keep the wine inside when you’re not pouring it. But not everyone owns a cooler or wants to haul one out for a picnic.

There are also coolers out there specific for insulating a wine bottle that will keep it cold for a few hours.

At the very least, though, you could wrap the chilled wine in two beverage koozies – one for the top of the wine bottle and one for the bottom – it will get the job done. (The middle of the bottle won’t be covered, but that’s not a big deal.)

Whatever solution you settle on, keeping the bottle out of direct sunlight will keep it cooler longer.

How to Pack Wine Glasses for a Picnic

As we mentioned, stainless steel wine tumblers are preferred over a typical wine glass because they’re indestructible. Cleaning up broken glass outside is no fun

In the event you do want to bring wine glasses to your picnic, you should know how to pack them:

  • Cell boxes are pre-made boxes designed for glassware, including champagne flutes. You can purchase these at most hardware stores. You can cut them down to fit two to four glasses, which should fit in a larger picnic basket.
  • Pad all empty space. Glasses only break if they have something to bump into. By filling all empty spaces, your glasses should stay intact.
  • Pack with tissue paper, not newspaper. Newspaper is dirty and will leave an ink residue on your glasses. Use a few sheets of tissue paper per glass.

These best practices also apply to campers who want to bring wine glasses to the campsite.

These Are the Best Wines for a Picnic 

When picking up wines for a picnic, think lighter-bodied and lower alcohol.

White wines, like Rieslings, are certainly popular. But a nice bottle of rosé is becoming the top choice for more outdoor wine drinkers.

Here are the top Chateau Grand Traverse Wines we recommend for your next picnic:

Rosé All Day

Since 2014, rosé wines have been on the rise in terms of popularity. Wine drinkers like how this pink wine is light and fruit-forward, but not too sweet.

1. Chateau Grand Traverse’s Select Rosé fits that description beautifully. It’s bright. It’s fruity – and so versatile it can roughly complement just about any meal you want to bring.

2. If you’re looking for a slightly sweeter rosé, our 2019 Pinot Noir Rosé Vin Gris is impeccable. A sip of this wine brings out its bright tart cherry aroma, along with crisp melon and light vanilla undertones.

If you’re looking for the ultimate picnic wine, rosé is your top option.

Northern Michigan’s Finest: Rieslings

The winemaking scene in northern Michigan is best known for Riesling, which just so happens to also be a great picnic wine.

3. Our 2019 Dry Riesling has the perfect amount of acidity to provide a fresh, crisp taste with faint mineral notes. If you have strong taste buds, you’ll pick up on crisp Granny Smith apples, white grapefruit, quince jam, and honeycomb flavors.

4. If you prefer a sweeter wine, our Late Harvest Riesling is always a crowd-pleaser and a great option.

A Food-Friendly Pinot Grigio

Bright. Acidic. And heavy on citrus flavors. Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied wine that pairs well with picnic foods, especially meats and cheeses.

5. We recommend our 2019 Pinot Grigio, which is the ultimate summertime wine thanks to its floral-citrus flavors and versatile herbaceous style.

What’s the Best Wine for Camping?

You can’t go wrong bringing any of the wines mentioned above with you to the campsite, but here are two reds that are considered some of the best wines for camping – especially when sitting around a campfire on a cool evening:

Pinot Noir

The light and fruit-forward flavors of a good Pinot Noir are enjoyable at the campsite, no matter the outside temperature.

1. Our 2018 Pinot Noir Limited is a lively Pinot, featuring flavors of cherry, raspberry, and chocolate. The tannins are firm, but the finish is fruity, making it a refreshing drink after a day spent outside.

When the sun and temperature drop for the night and you gather around the campfire, you’ll appreciate the robustness of this wine.

Gamay Noir

Another light red that will go well with grilled salmon and other types of fish you might be preparing at the campsite, a Gamay Noir has a hint of fruit flavors but is balanced out by the piney qualities of black pepper.

2. That’s certainly the case with our 2016 Gamay Noir Reserve, which was aged in barrels for 36 months. This wine also has some nice red plum and tart cherry undertones, which go well with cheese and bread.

Find Your Perfect Picnic or Camping Wine Today

The best way to find that perfect outdoor wine is to come to Chateau Grand Traverse for a tasting and enjoy a glass on our beautiful patio. Or you can buy our wines online.