I love roughing it in the woods, but sometimes it’s nice to bring along some luxury as well. Prior to getting a Wine Glass Gift Set, my experiences with wine in the woods were pretty mediocre. I had taken bottled wine out into the woods just once, in a water bottle. I was on a backpacking trip so for the next few days all the water that I drank from that bottle tasted like red wine. I decided that bringing bottled wine was more of an inconvenience than the pleasure that a few glasses of wine in the woods was worth. I stuck to taking drinking boxed wine, writing it off as one of the sacrifices that comes with being in the woods. When I heard about GSI’s set, I was excited to give it a try.
The gift set contains three different components: a carafe, a couple of nesting wine glasses, and a tote bag. The carafe can be removed for backpacking trips where you don’t want the added weight and of the tote and glasses. It packs down nicely and can be rolled or folded up when empty. Both the glasses and carafe are BPA free.
The wine carafe is a lightweight, re-usable bota bag. When using the tote to carry the bag, the carafe should be filled in the tote. I found it necessary to blow air into the carafe prior to pouring in order to fit a full 750 ml. Otherwise, the insides of the carafe tend to stick together. The carafe has a wide mouth top and a smaller, screw on attachment for easy pouring. The wide mouth top is about an inch in diameter, and at first seemed daunting to pour into. However, when I tried pouring in wine from a bottle, it was not as difficult as it appeared and I did not spill any. When I decanted the carafe for the first time, I spilled a few drops. Now that I am accustomed to pouring from it, I find it easier than pouring wine from a bottle.
I rinsed the carafe a few times before using it. After several uses, the container still has a plastic odor, but I did not find that it impacted the taste of the wine. The bag did not leak, even when inverted. The carafe has a strip for writing the date and other relevant facts about the wine. Pens do not write well on the carafe, but I found that a magic marker is a good way to write on the strip. I then removed the marker with a damp cloth after drinking the wine. The carafe also features a list of wines and their ideal serving temperatures. While it’s nearly impossible to maintain the ideal temperature of a wine in the backcountry the list could still be helpful if you are trying to decide what wine to take on a snowshoe trip (white zinfandel, at the low range of the scale, could be a good bet).
The wine glasses are cleverly designed with stems that can be unscrewed from the bowl of the glass. The foot then snaps into the rim of the glass. The glasses are made from copolyester. Aesthetically, the material is not as nice as glass because the seams are visible on the pieces, and they seem to scratch easily. My two glasses have a scratch each after only several light uses. Even so, they still look great by the side of a lake or on top of a mountain.
The tote is easy to slip on a shoulder or could be attached with a carabiner to the outside of a backpack. The wine glasses are easy to place in the side pocket. The carafe must be folded slightly to be put into and pulled out of the tote.
For those interested in just the bag or wine glasses, GSI sells both separately. For more information about the gift set, visit: http://gsioutdoors.com/products/pdp/wine_glass_gift_set-_terroir/