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Picnic wine recommendations for the summer

Plan the perfect picnic by packing the right wines...

So, the sun is shining and your thoughts are turning to sitting outside in a park or on the beach with a picnic. With lockdown restrictions slowly easing in the UK, al fresco eating and drinking is going to be one of the main ways to socialise this summer.

As well as packing some lovely food, it makes sense to pack a bottle or two of wine.

Picnic wine essentials to pack

  • A corkscrew. It sounds obvious, but without one you’ll be left resorting to that Youtube video you once saw about someone opening wine with a shoe. Alternatively, take screwcap wines or sparkling wines.
  • Ice or ice packs. If you’re going for white, rosé, sparkling or even a light red wine, then you’re probably going to need a way of keeping the wine cool. If you’re already out and about, head to the nearest shop and buy ice and salt.
  • Glasses. Chances are that you won’t have the latest grape-specific wine glass to hand. Instead, plastic cups can do the job, at a stretch – if not too big or flimsy and the wine is kept cool and fresh. But real glass – even a simple tumbler – provides a better experience and the environment will thank you. Or, try out the growing trend for canned wineswe’ve even listed some of our recommended ones below.
  • Consider ordering a picnic wine glass holder: Because life is too short to spend time balancing a wine glass on blades of grass.

But the question is, which wines should you take? We’ve rounded up some ideal picnic wines, rated by our experts.

If it’s sparkling wine you’re looking for, there’s a Crémant d’Alsace that’s a ‘lovely, seriously dry sparkling’ and would be a good match with food. Or you could try a Prosecco rosé, a wine category that was only officially approved in November 2020 – the one recommended below is ‘a restrained Prosecco rosé, and quite textured compared to most.’

There’s a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from Marks & Spencer, for those who enjoy a ‘more leafy, grassy style of Sauvignon Blanc’ or a Bacchus from a London Urban winery that is a ‘quintessential taste of the English countryside‘. Both would be great matches for seasonal asparagus dishes, as well as other spring ingredients.

When the sun comes out, it’s time to think of rosé. We’ve recommended one from the Cotes de Tongue in the Languedoc-Roussillon that would be ‘wonderful ice cold on a warm summer’s day.‘ Or for ultimate convenience, there’s the Nice pale rosé that comes in a can.

For the reds, plan ahead and go for a style that works when served slightly chilled – like the Côtes d’Auvergne Gamay below, which is ‘heady and seductive yet also fresh and lively’. Or the Loveblock Central Otago Pinot Noir, which has aromas of ‘rhubarb, red cherries and berries – a bright summer pudding-like purity.’

Top picnic wine recommendations:

First published in 2016. Updated June 2020 and again with wine recommendations in March 2021. 

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Top sparkling wines to try: 22 under £20

Best rosé wines under £20 

25 New Zealand wines for spring

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