No sooner do we mention the debut of the AstraPouch in California, and a Napa winery releases their wines in the giant CapriSun-like pouches that holds 1.5 L (two bottles) of wine. It's a pretty great idea, and not because it has a one-way valve that purportedly keeps oxygen out so the wine stays “fresh” for several weeks after opening it — we have yet to go on a leisurely summer picnic and return with a drop of wine. We're more impressed with how many we can wedge between the picnic Tupperware compared to bottles. So much that we're willing to overlook the over-the-top labels/marketing gimmicks. Then again, there's probably no way to make a CapriSun look elegant, either. Which gets us to the latest AstraPounch releases, “The Climber” Chardonnay and Cabernet, from the folks behind the Clif bar, Clif(f), Climber, get it? Yeah, yeah. So how's the wine?

If this winery were owned by anyone but the Clif folks, we'd really question the marketing angle behind that backpack-friendly pouch with a rock climber scaling a cliff on the front. It makes us nervous just looking at it. But we suppose we can't blame the pouch, as it's the same label the Clifs use on their bottled wines, though the winery is pushing it's “all-terrain wine transport” pouch angle awfully hard (it seems the couple has a thing for wordplay — Kit's Killer Cab, Gary's ImProv Syrah). Regardless, we leave the responsibility of drinking and rock climbing up to you.

As for the pouched wines, that Chardonnay in particular is a great value. The grapes are from the Delta region of Northern California where Chardonnay and Zinfadel are king. The Climber is an unoaked Chardonnay, something we consider a wise game plan at this price point, with a fruity, easy-sipping pineapple edge. Brilliant, no, but exceptionally priced picnic fare as that AstraPouch version is $17 for that two bottles-worth of wine.

And of course, it comes without the carbon footprint bottle guilt since it weighs substantially less than bottles. You know, eco-friendly picnic bragging rights if you're into that sort of thing (of course the wines were released on Earth Day). Just please don't sit on our blanket. We prefer to drink our “save the world” wines — it's wine, for goodness sake — in silence.

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