At last, picnic season is upon us. Whether you're packing a hamper for a summertime event, such as day at Cowdray Polo, or planning an escape to a local beauty spot, you'll want to have the right wine to hand.

Here, Gusbourne's Laura Rhys, Master Sommelier and confirmed picnic-lover, shares her top tips for helping you enjoy every moment in the great outdoors. You have remembered the corkscrew, haven't you?

I love picnics: the spontaneity, the conviviality, the informality that comes from a meal enjoyed when you’re not sat around a table. Expectations are reset. Someone will have brought homemade sausage rolls, someone will have prepared a fancy salad. It’s all going to be enjoyed in the great outdoors and with a wonderful view or backdrop.

With the wine, it's not a question of still or sparkling. At a picnic – a really good picnic – you’ll want both. Personally, I end up leaning towards white wine, like our Chardonnay Guinevere, and rosé or a lighter red. Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2022 will work beautifully. I tend to go lighter, juicier, fruitier.

If we think of classic picnic dishes, like a quiche, then you’ll find a wine like our Brut Reserve – that blend of the three classic Champagne grapes – works beautifully. For a delicate dish, such as smoked chalk-stream trout, opt for our elegant, mineral Blanc de Blancs 2019. Sparkling Rosé can go either way – have it with the sausage rolls or with a bowlful of strawberries and crème fraiche – it will be lovely with both.

You’ll want to have something to keep the wine cool, but not too cold. You can get some lovely bottle carriers these days. Or, failing that, opt for a freezer sleeve to keep your wine at the perfect temperature for longer.

For a special-occasion picnic, you can’t go wrong with a proper hamper – complete with glassware. That’s going to raise the bar nicely. If a hamper’s not an option, I would definitely invest in some thin stemless glassware. You’ll reduce the chance of the wine getting knocked over and vastly improve the experience of drinking it.

Pour small servings, and top up glasses more often. Wine is incredibly easy to enjoy in the sunshine, but you don’t want it to get warm in the glass. Keep your bottle cool, your servings petite and refresh glasses more frequently than you might when dining indoors. 

Relax and enjoy the moment. Picnics are not the time to worry about perfect pairings or wine etiquette. Just pour a glass of something easy-to-love, like our English Rosé. Then sit back, stretch out and enjoy the company, friendships, conversations and your beautiful surroundings.

If you'd like to join us in the vineyard for a summer picnic, you can book your Picnic for Two here