I’ve been off hiking and camping, getting back to nature and cooking and dining under the stars. It is of course a no-brainer that grilled meats go great with wine. In my visits to my favorite outdoor shop I discovered solutions from two different companies for transporting and enjoying the wine without any damage. Although I’m a bit late, you could call this my entry to The Drunken Cyclist‘s monthly wine challenge on the theme of transportation. Despite having had our car at our campsite, I was looking for a lighter, more convenient and outdoors-friendly option than glass. I also didn’t want to bring along a separate wine cooler or have the bottles cook in the car or get spilled. Each of these products has its own advantages, and both were useful to have along. The footprint and flexibility of this format has made it a new favorite of mine for traveling with liquids. In fact I love it so much I poured the orange juice out of its bulky box into an unused kids version I had bought for my son as a lightweight canteen. He ended up using his water bottle anyway,
The GSI Outdoors WineCarafe and The Platypus ‘PlatyPreserve Wine Preservation System’ are both great options, and both cost $9.95 in my local camp store. Both can also be easily found online. The (red) GSI model was used for the red wines, and the Platypus’s white cap allowed us to designate this the white wine container. Other than that simple logical convenience, having one from each brand allows comparison. The GSI had suggested storage/serving temperatures listed on the back for different types of wines, in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. It also has a small strip at the bottom to record date/vintner/ variety/ vintage (a dry erase marker is required for writing) and it is also Bisphenol-A Free. BPA is a chemical often used in plastic polycarbonate food/beverage containers that is thought to have negative effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland. (The FDA regulates and allows very small levels that it deems safe, but better to not have that to worry about). The cap is a sturdy screw on with a red string attached like a classic Bota bag wineskin. In fact, their packaging reads ‘The Bota Bag Steps into the 21st Century,” so this design tribute is not a coincidence. The bag is 750ml to perfectly fit a bottle of wine. While you can’t see into it because it is opaque, this actually protects the wine from too much sunlight and you have the area on the back to write wine information.
The Platypus ‘PlatyPreserve Wine Preservation System’ bag had a simple un-attached cap more like a disposable plastic water bottle. But it is not at all flimsy, just easier to lose. The instructions are more elaborate, detailing proper filling, storage and cleaning methods. It is partly transparent which is an advantage if you want to see what type of wine is inside. It also has a strip for writing the wine info, and measurement volume lines for 750ml and 375ml on the back. They also make a variety of hot and cold liquid storage bags and filtration and pack reservoir systems, as their primary audience seems to be campers and outdoor adventurers. This size was 27 fl. oz. which holds a full bottle comfortably. Just make sure to squeeze out any extra air you can before closing the cap. The Platypus products are also BPA-free.
In both cases filling/pouring was a breeze. With wide mouths on each, the liquid fills slowly and evenly, making dropping it due to sudden liquid weight gain unlikely. This is another detail that is making me love this format. To wash. just fill it with a little warm water, shake it a few times with the lid on, then open, rinse and dry.
I was just looking for a camping trip solution, but I can see this application coming in handy on all kinds of weekend jaunts during all four seasons. These will replace my bulky padded wine bottle tote on ski weekends, and at the beach as well.
Buy a pair or two to cover longer weekends. Or restock an empty one with a new bottle if that option is available for you during your trip. They are especially handy when sharing the table with kids, in case they get knocked over …
I also found these great plastic nesting glasses from GSI Outdoors that provided the final component of enjoying wine in the great outdoors. Let’s face it, you don’t want to pour that Bordeaux into party cups. They look just like wine glasses, but they are plastic, and they are not flimsy. When not in use, the top half of the glass unscrews from the bottom, with the lip attaching to the base with an easy click. They worked great over the weekend in their first real application and are worth the $7.50 each.
This leaves me wondering, when do I get to go camping again?