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Six Swillable Screwcap Wines to Take on Your Next Picnic

Grab-’n’-go spreads for lazy gourmands.


If you’re not a Martha or a Nigella, putting together a picnic spread can feel like too much trouble—who can remember all those minor details, like cheese knives and everyone’s favorite condiments and, arg, the corkscrew? Spend five minutes pondering logistics in the grocery aisle and you might as well just go to brunch. In the interest of spontaneous outdoor eating, we’ve matched some choice screwcap wines with to-go sandwiches in close proximity to prime picnic spots. We’d suggest checking the rules and, er, picnicker norms of wherever you go and leaving the corkscrew at home. Now all you have to remember is the blanket. 

Where you’re headed: Dolores Park
What you’re probably eating: Sandwiches from Bi-Rite or Rhea’s Deli
Wine to try: J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié 
Price: $10
Pairs well with: This wine is going to rock you with big sweet flavors of plum and black cherry, and is best served really cold. The boldness and fruit-forward nature of this unusual wine will add a touch of sweetness and moisture to the crunchy katsu chicken from Rhea’s or a savory sandwich from Bi-Rite. If you end up going the salad route, you might even consider going light on the dressing and adding a splash of the Valdiguié. Should you be buying a little something from the Truffle Man, you’re in good shape—it’ll be nice and cold and will reinvigorate your palate. 

Where you’re headed: Lake Merritt
What you’re probably eating: Sandwiches from Pal’s Takeaway
Wine to try: Qupe A Modern Red
Price: $18.84
Pairs well with: You need an easygoing and easily paired red to balance the spices and deft flavor combinations at Pal’s Takeaway. Luckily, this blend from Qupe was made to pair with a broad range of foods like Pal's tarragon chicken sandwich, sumac-roasted turkey breast, or one even the Gulf chili-lime shrimp and avocado roll. 

Where you’re headed: McLaren Park 
What you’re probably eating: Burritos from El Farolito (or, if you’re feeling organized, whatever you’re grilling)
Wine to try: Conundrum Red
Price: about $23
Pairs well with: This smooth but feisty wine from Charlie Wagner of Caymus is a blend of big reds that balances dark fruit flavors with smoke, and can stand up to El Farolito steak or just about anything off the grill. While a formidable red, it’s especially versatile—serve it chilled with red meats, chicken, sausage, and even grilled fish. 

Where you’re headed: Golden Gate Park
What you’re probably eating: Subs or salads from Irving Subs & Stuff
Wine to try: Grip Wines sauvignon blanc
Price: $18
Pairs well with: A light, refreshing, and tropical sauvignon blanc, Grip is an ideal refreshment for cyclists, rollerbladers, and active folks in general. Given that this is a crisp wine with plenty of acid, you can order anything from the spicy Warrior and Cajun chicken to the Caesar salad. 

Where you’re headed: Washington Square Park 
What you’re probably eating: Sandwiches from Molinari Delicatessen 
Wine to try: Sip rosé
Price: $15
Pairs well with: This light and sweet rosé comes in a bottle that’s as hip and modern as Molinari is old school. It may not be the perfect pairing for spicy salami, but it will cool your palate, enhance the flavors of anything you order, and suit the live-and-let-live vibe of North Beach.  

Where you’re headed: Codornices Park 
What you’re probably eating: Sandwiches from Stuffed Inn  
Wine to try: Decoy chardonnay 
Price: $20
Pairs well with: The simple, garden-fresh flavors of the sandwiches and salads at the Stuffed Inn will complement the subtle sweetness and fruit flavors of this smooth and lightly oaked chardonnay. Decoy is definitely a crowd-pleasing wine in its subtlety, just as Codornices is a crowd-pleasing park with its tree-canopied trails, streams, and 40-foot hill slide.


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