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30 Second Wine Tasting Tip:
Wine and the open trail

Wine and nature You're planning a hiking, camping or fishing trip in a wilderness area, and the thought of a glass of good wine with a dinner cooked out beneath the stars sounds like a lovely idea. But is it really practical to take quality wine along in your backpack when you're roughing it?

A correspondent raised this question last week, asking for tips on taking along a suitable wine to enjoy with the cutthroat trout that he planned to catch on a fishing trip. I advised a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and added:

Taking your wine in a backpack shouldn't be difficult. Get a clean plastic bottle of the type used for mineral water, choosing one that does not contain more than 750 ml, so the wine will fill it up without leaving an air pocket. Wash and dry it well, then carefully pour the wine from the glass bottle into the plastic bottle. Reclose it tightly with the original screw cap, and you're on your way.

Once you reach your campsite, if you're not packing ice, a cold stream should be plenty cool enough to bring your wine to a delightful serving temperature; you don't want to serve a good wine ice-cold anyway! It's wise to tie the bottle to a rock, stick or tree with a piece of twine, so you don't later notice it bobbing downstream.

I wouldn't risk a really expensive or delicate wine with this treatment, and I wouldn't recommend keeping the wine in a plastic bottle for more than a few days. But a young, modest wine should do nicely on a weekend trip.

Now, once you've reached your campsite, how can you serve the wine? It would be silly to take breakable glassware on a camping trip, but a tin cup is a poor way to show off good wine; and drinking directly out of the bottle would be ridiculous, as quality wine needs a bowl-shaped glass to show off its aroma.

Fortunately, a sturdy but surprisingly functional plastic wine glass is widely available, made of a sturdy, clear and relatively odor-free plastic called Lexan. This glass unscrews at the base, permitting the stem end to be popped into the bowl to make a small, easily packed unit no larger than a coffee cup. One source for this glass is Campmor,, where a search for "wine glass" will bring up "Lexan Wine Glass, item number 73300, $4.99." (This is not an advertisement, but I report as a satisfied customer: My glass arrived in good condition only three days after I ordered it online.)

Finally, the following should go without saying: If you decide to enjoy wine while hiking or camping, be wise. Don't overindulge, and be particularly careful if you are planning challenging activity like mountain climbing or wilderness hiking. Remember also that high-altitude activities can exaggerate the impact of any alcoholic beverage. Finally, don't forget to pick up your litter. Dispose of your empties properly or bring them back home.

Happy trails!

What's your experience with taking wine on the trail? If you have any suggestions or advice, send me a note by E-mail to I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine.

We hope you'll invite your wine-loving friends to register for their own free weekly copy at

30 Second Tasting Notes:
A crisp and fruity Spanish treat
Martin Codax Martin Codax 1999 Rías Baixas Albariño ($11.99)
Clear straw color, with a crackling carbonation that froths up in the glass, then falls back to a quiet ring of foam around the edge. Fresh peach and almond aromas lead into a full, peachy flavor with a crisp citric snap and slight prickly sense of carbonation on the tongue. A truly refreshing white wine for a hot summer's day. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections, Cincinnati. (June 25, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Worked very well with grilled pork loin with a light bell-pepper and ancho sauce.

Wine Lovers' Voting Booth:
Favorite white wine for warm weather?
Now that the summer solstice has arrived and hot weather has spread across the Northern Hemisphere, many wine lovers are turning from hearty reds and dessert wines to something light and white. With the mercury rising in our neck of the woods, we ask a straightforward question: What is your favorite white wine for warm weather?" I hope you'll drop by our Wine Lovers' Voting Booth, and name your favorite. (And yes, our friends from the Southern Hemisphere are welcome to join in, too!)

30 Second Wine Link:
The Wine Doctor
I haven't listed a hot new wine link lately because, frankly, I haven't run across many really interesting new wine-related Websites. This week, however, I'm pleased to point you to Chris Kissack's The Winedoctor, Based in the United Kingdom, this is an attractively designed and enjoyable non-commercial site, full of wine-related content and lots of tasting notes.

30 Second Advertising Partner:­The best of wine CELEBRATE BASTILLE DAY A LITTLE EARLY! Get a jump on France's day of celebration with 15% off all French wines on Whether your palate is calling for a buttery Chardonnay or a crisp and racy Champagne, can help you satisfy that craving. Click now for this limited offer. Offer good through 7/29 only! Vive la France! Buy now at:­The best of wine

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

More time for wine?
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If you'd like to talk about wine online with fellow wine enthusiasts around the world, we'd be delighted to have you visit the interactive forums in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. If you're from another part of the world and don't feel entirely comfortable chatting in English, visit our International Forum and introduce yourself in the language of your choice.

Vol. 2, No. 23, June 26, 2000

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