by Paullette Gaudet
Most folks would agree that camping in the Great Outdoors is a wonderful way to commune with nature while also testing the strength of one’s resolve and hamstrings. An oft-overlooked bonus is the opportunity to convert any die-hard, beer-drinking members of your campsite to the pleasures of sipping wine al fresco. Your best friend in this scenario (besides your bota bag) is logic: even non-campers know that the lighter your backpack, the better your mood. What’s more, those heavy, clanking bottles and cans of beer offer far too little alcohol per ounce for the effort of lugging them into (and out of) the wilderness. Wine’s superior knack for repackaging gives it the better-for-camping edge here, with extra credit points for its higher alcohol content.
There are a variety of lightweight wine containers (ranging from traditional flasks to synthetic bota bags) available at camping supply outlets, as well as the old school option of simply removing the inner bag from that “box” of wine in the fridge, and stuffing that in your backpack—it also makes a handy pillow! Red wine is indeed the more hardy choice in terms of retaining its taste through temperature shifts and improvised drinking vessels (paper, plastic, metal), but white wine shouldn’t be discounted entirely: a sealed bag of white can chill quite nicely in a rushing coldwater stream, provided the nozzle is kept above the surface (or at least protected against contact with potentially bacteria-rich water). Bring some tried-and-true favorites, as well as a few experimental brands: nothing brings out the finer notes of any wine like relaxing next to a campfire under a canopy of stars.