6 Wine Essentials for the RV
I am an avid wine drinker, wine club member, and all-out lover of grapes. When I purchased my 2018 Travato K last year, the easiest part of the buying experience was naming my rig: 'the Wine-o-bago'. Over the first year of ownership, I have had a great time exploring wineries all across the U.S. And, in order to blend my wine hobby with my new RV lifestyle, I have also had to make several adjustments to my rig. Luckily, I have found some very handy items through my travels which have helped to bring these two passions together.
1. Wine Tumbler
First and foremost, a wine tumbler is key. The lid factor is essential for the sometimes-unstable environment of an RV and your campsite. Another key requirement is the insulation factor. Hot days and cold drinks go hand in hand ... literally.
I picked a fun tumbler up at a great private campground called the Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, CA. Added bonus - this campground was biking distance to a few local tasting rooms.
There are many brands of tumblers to choose from, but I recommend reading reviews to find one where the lid closes securely to prevent those pesky red wine stains!
2. Wine Storage
With storage, a major consideration should be the amount of bouncing around that goes on in the RV. I came across these shelf mats which work well both in my RV fridge as well as in the 'wine cellar' (aka the footlocker in the Travato). The mats prevent the bottles from rolling side to side as well as front to back, as they are a bit grippy.
The only negative with these is that they are much better suited for standard Cab/Sauv Blanc thinner bottles as opposed to a Chardonnay/Pinot Noir bottom-heavy bottle. But, I have found that if you place a dishtowel on top, you can easily hold another row on top if space allows in your fridge. The second row does tend to be a little less stable if you do this, so always use caution when opening your fridge door (items may have shifted during flight)!
3. Metal Wine Bottle
One of my favorite things to do in the Travato is visiting State and National Parks. In these types of campgrounds, you may encounter some restrictions on glass. So how do you bring your bottle of wine?!? Corkcicle has come up with a metal container which is 25oz and perfectly holds a full bottle of wine. As a bonus, it's very well insulated so you can keep your whites cold.
I have also found this metal bottle to come in handy at outdoor concerts as well. My latest use was at a pre-season Bronco's game -- no worries about breaking glass in the parking lot while tailgating.
4. Neoprene Wine Carriers
Transportation of wine is another key consideration. Neoprene wine carriers, which come in a variety of sizes, are a great option. I picked one up at a winery outside of Amarillo called Bar Z Winery.
My favorite time to use the carriers is when stopping off at a winery for a tasting -- which inevitably turns into buying a bottle or two. Sometimes, there isn't always time to put them away properly -- or make room because your fridge/cellar is already full.
With the carrier, you can leave the wine packing in the wine carrier and tucked away on a shelf or even on the floor until you have time for proper storage. The carrier ensures that bottles don't rattle around on the drive, and also makes transporting wine to a neighboring campsite very easy.
5. Canned Wine
Now what are you going to drink in your RV? I know boxed wine has been around forever and generally is good for RV life. But when you are in a Class B like me, and space in the fridge is a premium, I tend to go for cans. Canned wine options have exploded in the past couple of years.
I think the stigma previously associated with box, canned, or even screw-top wine has dissipated, quality has gone up, and the cool factor is through the roof these days. Walking into my local liquor store, there is now a whole cooler dedicated to canned wine and wine cocktails these days. One of my favorites is Pampelonne sparkling wine cocktails -- especially the French 75 which has elderflower and juniper. The perfect way to reward yourself after a hike on a hot day!
6. Harvest Hosts Membership
Last but not least, every wine-loving RVer needs a membership with Harvest Hosts. For a small fee, Harvest Hosts offers a list of over 400 locations across North America. These are primarily wineries, but also breweries, local farm stands, and small museums which allow free overnight parking. This is a great way to try wineries from different climates and regions, so you can see all of the variety out there. (Read more about this membership from a fellow GoLife Contributor).
I have found some great hidden gems -- like a raspberry farm in Wyoming, where I was able to view the eclipse this past August. Best of all, you can sample the wine all you want and won't have to argue with your co-pilot over who is going to the be the DD, since your bed is parked in the parking lot for the night.