Heading into the forest with hiking boots on and backpack stuffed, I went wandering for the wild side of wine this weekend. Searching for a new way to combine my love for the outdoors and the grape beverage, I set out on a wiking adventure to Kentucky Falls.
Wiking (v): To go on an extended walk for pleasure or exercise with wine.
I first heard about wiking in a New York Times’ article and thought it sounded like an intriguing pairing. But as soon as I got to the grocery store to see my wiking wine options, I started to ask myself – well is the wine really worth it?
Striking out on a four-mile trek past three spectacular waterfalls in Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest, I decided to find out.
Wine in a Cup: Copa di Vino’s Merlot
Featuring a peel back seal for handy portability, Copa’s cup of wine is easy to pack and single-serving ready. With notes of bark, strawberry-boysenberry jam and a touch of bitter minerality on the finish, the Merlot sips with light body and unfortunately for me also the distinct taste of the plastic cup the wine is served in. The size and light weight cup makes this wine easy to just throw in your bag, but make sure you plan on finishing the whole cup in one siting. The pop off cap doesn’t hold a seal after opening and the plastic cup is messy to hike back with.
Small bottle Wine: Santa Rita’s 120 Carmenere
A miniature version of regular wine, Santa Rita’s 120 Carmenere fits perfectly in a backpack pocket. A 187 ML sized bottle, the Chilean wine tastes with medium body and features notes of dark blue fruits with wet-stone and quartz on the lingering finish. The size makes this wine very portable but because it is still made out of glass, the container is still heavy for its size – especially for how little wine it holds. With a screw-cap, this wine however is easily resealed and holds tight against spillage.
Juice Box Wine: Vendange Merlot
Probably the most portable for size, quantity and weight, the juice box shaped wine by Vendange offers a lot for hikers – but not much for wine drinkers. Highlighting bright berries on the palate and black licorice in the nostrils, this wine is thick (not very refreshing) yet still lacking in body. The plastic-cardboard carrier though squeezes into rucks sacs with ease and the screw cab makes for clean storage between sips. If this Merlot was a little bit cooler (another challenge of wiking in the summer), I image it may have tasted a little better.
Caribiner Wine: The Climber
A bag of wine for all terrains, the Climber – a Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Clif Family Winery out of St. Helen’s, California – packs a punch for oenophiles and outdoor lovers alike. With a light and refreshing texture full of juicy fruit including plum and blackberry, this Cabernet slides down in the sunshine. By no means is this wine a fancy drinker, but for the outdoors the squeezable spout pours to share. For hiking, the only downsize with this wine is its weight and size – and that it doesn’t come with a caribiner!
When out on the trail, a picnic lunch with a glass of wine can pair perfectly with a beautiful waterfall but please drink and hike responsibly. Follow all posted signage about the use of alcohol on public trails and remember anything you pack in you must be able to pack out! Please keep our trails clean.
Enjoy more photos from my hike at Kentucky Falls and read more about it on my travel blog, The Joyful Shoehorn.