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Get out & about: Perfect picnic pours

Al fresco alert! It’s time to pack the picnic hamper and enjoy outdoor dining while we can – and in celebration we’ve picked a collection of wines and wine alternatives that are perfect for the occasion.

Summertime is here, and with it, all manner of ways to be disappointed by the weather. It’s why in Corker, my book that pairs wine with a variety of everyday situations, I have two entries for the picnic: one where the weather is glorious and one where the weather feels as if it’s been pulled from an LS Lowry painting. But, being an eternal optimist, the promise of dining outdoors is enough to have me stocking up my wine rack with easy-drinking, summery wines – palate-enlivening whites, reds to be served chilled and no- and low-alcohol options redolent of seasonal botanicals.

White wines

Forage Supply Co, Spliced Eden Valley Riesling, South Australia 2022
Suitably named after Australia’s Splice ice lolly, this refreshing, zesty Riesling is laden with lime, green apple and a keen streak of salinity.
£16-£22 Forage Supply Co, The Wine Society

Domaine Gueguen, Emile x Frances Costelloe Bourgogne Côtes Salines Blanc, Burgundy, France 2022
The new vintage of Emile Wines’ excellent own-label wine is here. Organically farmed (in conversion), from the village of Préhy in Chablis, this is the holy grail of affordable, delicious white Burgundy.
£21 Emile Wines

Domaine gueguen wine

Maximin Grünhauser, Brudeberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany 2022
In good weather, low-alcohol wines are paramount to the longevity of your picnic. Quaffing a Riesling at 7.5% alcohol will ensure no one peaks too early.
£18.85-£27.65 Justerini & Brooks, Shelved Wine, Stannary Wine, Winesquare


Half-bottle: Trimbach, Riesling, Alsace, France
When it comes to Trimbach, I’m very happy with a standard bottle’s worth, but this half bottle from the acclaimed Alsace estate (still in its iconic flute d’Alsace shape) is a little more travel-sized.
2022, £9.95-£15.50/37.5cl Four Walls, Great Wines Direct, Salusbury Winestore, Shelved Wine, The Fine Wine Co, The Wine Society

Bagnum: Le Grappin, Côtes du Rhône, France
Ever heard of a bagnum? Well, now you have. No further explanation required. Le Grappin’s ingenious bagnums are now a staple of the London park-picnic. And the wine is incredibly easy to drink.
2022, £32-£33/150cl Fee’s Food, Weino BIB

250ml can: Miss Vicky, O Joie Fleurie, Beaujolais, France
Yes, that’s right, cru Beaujolais in a can. Les Vins de Vicky is a project conceived by Anne-Victoire Monrozier, the latest generation of a family producer established since the mid-19th century in Beaujolais, based at the historic Château des Moriers. The Miss Vicky label captures the convivial spirit of the region, offering Fleurie and other Beaujolais wines produced by the family, as well as carefully selected wines from other producers in different areas.
2020, £5/25cl EW Wines

Miss Vicky, O Joie Fleurie, Beaujolais, France

Skin-contact wines

Baglio Antico, Catarratto Bianco, Sicily, Italy
Walk into a trendy east London wine bar and chances are they’ll have this by the glass. Aromatic and textured, it’s an excellent introduction to orange wine.
2022, £16.50-£19 Available via UK agent Les Caves de Pyrene

Paltrinieri, Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara, Emilia Romagna, Italy
Cantina Paltrinieri is imagining Lambrusco as it used to be: traditionally fermented in the bottle, with native yeasts. It’s textured but playful – perfect sunshine juice.
NV, £23.80-£29 Cave, Passione Vino, Symposium

Athlon, Assyrtiko-Syrah Rosé, Peloponnese, Greece
If you’re keen to branch out from the classic Provence rosé, I’ve got a few suggestions. This ridiculous-value Greek rosé smacks of a coastal wine, with a savoury salinity and great-quality fruit, too.
2023, £9.99 Aldi

athlon assyrtiko syrah rose

Red wines

Bodegas Latue, Don Tinto Tempranillo, La Mancha, Spain 2022
The ‘house red’ from the Noble Rot group is fruit-forward and generous in its pairing options, bringing a twist of bistro cool to your patch of grass.
£13-£14 Drink Finder, Made from Grapes, Seven Cellars, Shrine to the Vine, Wine & Greene

Château Grand Village, Bordeaux Supérieur, France 2019
I couldn’t quite believe it when I learned you could get this wine for not much more than £20. Made by the team at Château Lafleur (you might have heard of them), this is claret that punches well above its price point.
£21 £22 EW Wines, Justerini & Brooks, R&B Wines, Streatham Wine House

Famille Hugel, Classic Pinot Noir, Alsace, France 2022
A deliciously quaffable red that works nicely when chilled. Perfumed and fruity, this is Alsace Pinot at its best.
£14.95 The Wine Society

Frédéric Mabileau, Les Rouillères, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Loire, France 2020
For picnics, I always arm myself with an easy-drinking red wine that sings when chilled. That way, I’m prepared for any meteorological eventuality the Great British summertime throws at me.
£18 Berry Bros & Rudd

Wine in foliage


Partner in Wine, Bottle (white)
Founder Lucy Hitchcock was inspired to start Partner in Wine when her first socially distanced bottle of wine became warm all too quickly in the scorching lockdown weather. So, she launched an insulated, vacuum-sealed bottle to keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and warm for 12. Matching tumblers soon followed, meaning you’re well equipped for whichever direction the summer weather decides to take…
£35-£40 Not on the High Street, Partner in Wine, The St Ives Co

Partner in Wine, Insulated Tumbler (white)
£20-£25 Not on the High Street, Partner in Wine, The Dressing Room, The St Ives Co

Zara, Plain Crystalline Flute Glass
For excellent-value glassware (that you won’t be too upset about if it breaks in a picnic basket), look to Zara Home. Guests ask me so often about these flutes, which have an elegant tulip shape.
£7.99 Zara Home

wine glass from Zara

Non-alcoholic options

Botivo, Non-Alcoholic Aperitif
Made in Hertfordshire. I’ve seen this Millennial-coded bottle design in some of the best cocktail bars in London. It’s created in batches using cider apple vinegar and wildflower honey, and flavoured with a blend of five botanicals, including wormwood leaf, orange zest and gentian. Top it up in a highball for a refreshing dram.
£24.70-£29 Amathus Drinks, Botivo, Drydrinker, Forest Wines, Gnarly Vines, The Umbrella Project, The Whisky Exchange

Domaine des Grottes, L’Antidote Pétillant Jus et Plantes
One for the non-drinkers, or perhaps those who were out a little later than they intended last night. L’Antidote, as it’s aptly called, is 100% Gamay from Beaujolais, combined with a blend of 15 herbs grown in the very same vineyard, as well as apple, ginger and lemon.
£14-£17.50 Highbury Library, Tiny’s Tipple, Wright’s Food, Wright’s Wines

Oddbird, Spumante, Veneto, Italy NV
A seriously impressive 0% wine. Made from DOC and DOCG Glera, this wine is ‘liberated’ from its alcohol after up to 12 months of maturation, which imbues it with bright notes of grapefruit, lemon and orchard fruit.
£10.95-£13.99 Widely available via independent merchants

Oddbird wine bottle

Three Spirit, Blurred Vines Sharp
When a wine is dealcoholised to make it suitable for a no-and-low audience, it can lose a little body. But Blurred Vines – a collaboration between bartenders, plant scientists and winemakers, among others – uses a jalapeño extract made from the chilli’s essential oils to mimic the alcohol burn. This is a racy, revitalising blend of rare teas and herbs, with a nuanced spritz.
£16-£18.50 Drydrinker, Gnarly Vines, Modal Wines, The Little Whisky Shop, The Whisky Exchange, The Wine Society, Three Spirit

Corker: A Deeply Unserious Wine Book by Hannah Crosbie was published by Ebury Press in March 2024 (£16.99)

Picnics Corker Book

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