British tipples to take outdoors, whatever the weather
If you think anything ‘al fresco’ combined with ‘English weather’ is trouble waiting to happen: think again. June to August may be the accepted British picnicking and barbecue season, but the growing trend for firepits, outdoor heaters and pizza ovens has changed the game. Now you can enjoy changing colours of the trees and first fall of conkers in all the elements.
What better time than the present to round up family or friends for an autumnal garden party? These al fresco-ready English tipples are just the thing to keep spirits up around the campfire. We’ve tried, tested and judged each one to be perfect for enjoying outdoors, come rain or shine. Just add some homemade pizzas (if it’s warm), toasted marshmallows (if it’s not) and a few fairy lights or sparklers and you have the key ingredients for a perfect afternoon, whatever the weather. What are you waiting for?
The One For Red Wine Lovers
If you start reaching for the red wine and roast potatoes the moment the weather turns, take note. One of our favourite rainy day English wines is Shotley’s pinot noir – homegrown in Suffolk, this wine is smooth enough to give Frank Sinatra a run for his money.
Fans of a Beaujolais will enjoy Shotley’s lightness and balance, but here’s the fun part: you can also chill it. Pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours before drinking while you prep your favourite winter comfort food. To take it to the next level we’d recommend trying it with a side of toasted sandwiches or mac and cheese (but rules are made to be broken – if you prefer crumpets or beans on toast, be our guest). A cold, crisp evening out in the garden, with a roaring fire, plenty of blankets to keep away the chills, and a starry sky overhead is the perfect setting to appreciate this bright and breezy red to the full. From £16.19 a bottle for six.
The One For Al Fresco Picnics
It’s always rosé season somewhere in the world! In that spirit, our ultimate English wine for a surprise sunny day is Jenkyn Place’s Brut rosé. A refreshing, summer-in-a-glass style number – it’s a frontrunner for a day at Wimbledon watching the tennis with a picnic hamper. But you should also stock up on it for the rush en masse to the beach or park when the clouds part. Pairing-wise this is one worth rolling out the red carpet for. Our serving suggestion would be scones, high tea finger sandwiches and petit fours. Truly fit for royalty. From £31.49 a bottle for six.
The One For Sustainable Al Fresco Wining and Dining
It’s tempting to dust off the barbecue and dig out the picnic plates as soon as the sun appears – but al fresco picnics and barbecues aren’t the most eco-friendly activity. Disposable barbecues are usually single use and contain unsustainably-sourced charcoal, creating hazards for the environment and local wildlife before you even get into plastic plates and packaging.
And when it comes to the vino you’re enjoying with your al fresco spread - did you know that half of the carbon footprint of wine comes from its bottle and packaging? That’s why The English Vine has worked with sustainable packaging company, Frugalpac, to create a paper wine bottle for our own No 1 wine which has an 84% lower carbon footprint than a glass bottle. The No 1 paper wine bottle is 100% recyclable, and so is the pouch inside which preserves quality and flavour (you can read more about The English Vine’s sustainability mission here).
Along with switching to a paper wine bottle, you can also enjoy wining and dining outdoors in a more eco-friendly way by using cloth napkins and melamine plates rather than disposable, and getting creative with cooking to avoid collecting disposable packaging. Pro tip: The No 1 Bacchus pairs perfectly with spicy food, so why not give your picnic a twist with burritos, samosas or (for the truly fearless) a vindaloo? From £12.59 a bottle for six.
The One to Take to The Seaside
Sun, sand and sea lovers are spoilt for choice in England – from Whitby to Cornwall, Sussex and even up to the Highlands we have some of the most beautiful beaches right on the doorstep (and a few of them even have vineyards nearby to check out).
Forget the bucket and spade July trip. Why not avoid the crowds of sunbathers and take a well-timed road trip to your nearest beach this autumn? It’s no secret that seafood has a soulmate in dry pinot grigios and oaky chardonnays. But if an old-fashioned fish and chip holiday is what you’re yearning for, you should pack a bottle of Folc’s British-made and produced rosé to take with you.
If you’re English wine-curious – this multi award-winning rosé is a great place to start, and just happens to pair beautifully with seafood (even on the most blustery, wellies-and-waterproofs days). There’s no way to better enjoy it properly than from a cosy spot, with a view of waves crashing over the rocks and a plate of fresh catch. £17.99 a bottle for six.
Although it’s a gamble to do anything outdoors in England after August, it’s more than worth it to soak in the wonders of nature with your nearest and dearest. And you’d be mad to miss out on the beautiful surroundings and crisp evenings of the season. What better excuse to support our British suppliers and wine makers at the same time? Just make sure you wrap up warm, banish single use plastics and find some hardy wellies to tackle the mud. That’s the Blitz spirit.
Feeling inspired, then check out our Great Outdoors Collection for even more goodness.