Wines for Burning Man and Other All Terrain Occasions


Tis I, in pink pajama bottoms...
My one and only trip to Burning Man was in a friend’s  RV with refrigerator, shower, and  aircon system.  But many of my fellow Burners opted for the real deal … tents or canopies with sleeping bags,3rd-wheel trailers, older model cars, station wagons, or just plain thumbing it.

We poured wine from real glass bottles:  nicely chilled white wines, reds kept at a reasonable indoor temperature.  Real-deal Burners opt more eco-friendly packaging, and a price point less than $10 for the bottle equivalent.

I visited Ben’s Fine Wine & Spirits’ location on Lakeside Drive in Reno to talk to Drew Craib, the Wine Manager/Buyer.  Ben’s has several locations, some of which are closer to the logical driving route.   Ben’s is on the prep list for Burning Man.

Drew actually tastes all the wine that makes its way onto his shelves.   Okay, he does draw the line at known plonk, and some box wines fit that description.

Box wines and pouched wines are eco-friendly.  They travel well.  You can pack a trailer with multitudinous boxes and know they won’t break on the way to the Burn.   Some of them are really quite tasty.   So if you head to Burning Man in August 2013, keep this list handy. There won’t be that many changes.  If you are going camping, this list applies too.  I am concentrating on reds since ice costs real money at Burning Man.  And it’s hard to find on the camping trail. 

Drew Craib of Ben's
TOP CHOICE:  The Climber, in a pouch of 1.5 liters (2 bottles equivalent).  Drew calls it  “the all terrain wine transport” system.  Made by Clif Family Winery, the same folks that brought you Clif bars, there are several varietals available.  $16.99 the pouch.  The Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.1 percent alcohol, is tasty.  The California Chardonnay, 13.9 percent alcohol, also tasty. 

SECOND CHOICE:  Black Box wines, in a 3 liter box that’s a 4 bottle equivalent.  $20.99 for the box.  The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is 12.5 percent alcohol.

THIRD CHOICE:  Corbett Canyon’s Pinot Noir, sold in a 3 liter box.  This is a mid-grade pinot, with 13 percent alcohol.  $10.99 for the box; that works out to GULP $2.25 per bottle.  You get what you pay for.

A tip of the hat to Fred Franzia, who popularized box wines.  “They fly out of here,”  said Drew.  The Franzia 5 liter box which sells for $15.99 is a 6 2/3 bottle equivalent, or $2.40 a bottle.  Best to choose one of their “Home Wine Favorites” choices. I suggest it for dire emergencies only.

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