Picnic Wines

Fried chicken, check. Barbecue ribs, ready to go. Brownies? A must. You’ve got all the food and fixings for a great lakeside picnic for your Tahoe summer adventure. Now all you need is the wine. But somehow a glass bottle just don’t fit in with the casual, al fresco vibe. Put that bottle down and grab a box, can or carton of wine for your cooler.

Canned wines offer smaller sips, without any leftovers to worry about. A 375 ml can is roughly half a bottle; you’ll get two to three glasses out of the slightly larger 500 ml can. Boxed wine — which holds three liters of wine, or about four bottles worth — uses a vacuum-sealed bag to keep oxygen out, which means the wine stays fresh for up to a month after opening. And then there’s the Tetra Pak or carton, which we’ve seen on juice aisles for a while now, so it makes sense to use them for wine, as well. The 1-liter cartons hold about 1 1/3 bottles of wine.

Best of all, winemakers have begun putting some pretty good juice in these alternative containers — if you know where to look. So we swirled, sniffed and sipped our way through a bunch of boxed and canned options to find the best picnic pairings. You’ll find most of these at local supermarkets and wine shops.

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