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CAMPING

OFF TRACK WINES
Wine in a can is a very convenient way of carrying and chilling your bevvies.

 

Off Track Wines is a new wine brand and the first in Australia to be created specifically with outdoor adventurers in mind. We checked out the new range and found it very much to our taste.

 

 

 

When asked why Off Track Wines was created, company founder and co-owner Anna Fisher told Outback Travel Australia that there was an obvious need for easy-to-carry wine on bush trips. No-one thinks twice about packing canned beer, but in the case of wine, it’s either bottled, in a plastic satchel, or in a cardboard ‘suitcase’.

“As wine lovers, there are a few problems we’ve always had when camping,” said Anna.

“One is that wine is hard to carry when you are going camping or travelling by 4WD, because packing space is at a premium. 

“Glass can be a challenge to pack and protect, and bottles just don’t fit easily in a car or camper fridge. 

“Hiking or kayaking with wine is even harder!”

Wine in a can is Off Track Wines’ solution. The company was established in 2022 by the owners of Zonte’s Footstep, who bring more than 20 years of winemaking and remote camping experience to this new venture. 

The simple concept is great quality wine in packaging that is practical for taking on outdoor adventures: lightweight, compact, robust and responsible. 

Wine in a can is a rapidly growing segment globally. Between 2016 and 2020, the global market grew by more than 50 percent, to an annual value of US$75 million. The majority of that volume is sparkling wine.

 

The Off Track Wines range

 

 

At its October, 2022 product launch, Off Track Wines released five varieties: The River is Calling Sparkling White Wine; The Outback is Calling Sparkling Red Wine; The Desert is Calling White Wine; The Ocean is Calling Rosé Wine and The Mountains are Calling Red Wine.

All are packaged in 250ml aluminium cans that measure only 50mm in diameter and 132mm in height. The cans are deliberately sized to make packing in rucksacks and camping fridges easy, yet each can holds between 1.9 and 2.8 standard drinks, depending on grape variety. Each can costs a tad over $8, so that’s pretty good value for money.

The compact size means that the wine cans chill quickly in ice, a camp fridge or, at a pinch, a fast-running alpine river.

Naturally, the cans are fully recyclable and part of nation-wide container deposit schemes when uncrushed. If the cans must be crushed in the interests of space saving when hiking, they can still be recycled.

The company said that the wines feature excellent fruit purity, gentle tannins and balanced freshness. In-company testing suggested that the wines will continue to taste fresh and delicious, even after being bounced around during wild land and water trips. 

 

 

OTA taste testing

 

The OTA wine-test laboratory

 

As regular visitors to the outbacktravelaustralia.com.au website know only too well, we never take manufacturers’ product claims at face value: wherever possible, we do our own independent testing.

In one of the most pleasurable test efforts of 2022, we were forced to check out each grape variety of the Off Track Wines portfolio. We chilled all but the red wine before tasting and spaced the test over three days, to avoid any taste-bud confusion.

The River is Calling Sparkling White Wine is a not-too-sweet Prosecco style that didn’t look all that sparkling when poured into our can’t-knock-‘em-over camping wine glasses, but very fine bubbles were evident on closer examination. It had a pleasant sparkle that it retained for a half-hour in each glass. Very refreshing, indeed.

The Desert is Calling White Wine was a crisp, semi-dry white that would suit many palates, we reckoned.

The Ocean is Calling Rosé Wine was made mainly from Grenache grapes and had a lovely pink tinge. Not being avid rose fans, it had the least appeal for us, but went down smoothly.

The Outback is Calling Sparkling Red Wine was a dry, sparkling red that didn’t make the mistake of being overly sweet. It was the ideal hot-day wine for red wine drinkers and we loved it.

The Mountains are Calling Red Wine was a Shiraz, but lighter than many. Red wine drinkers tend to be fussier about taste than white drinkers, but there was no indication that this wine came from a can, not a bottle.

Our conclusion was that the Off Track Wine range is sufficiently broad to appeal to all traveling wine drinkers, but the particular advantage we saw was the ability to have chilled, sparkling red and white wine, without the compromise of having to carry heavy, bulky bottles.

Off Track Wines are available in cartons of 12 x 250ml cans for A$98.50 per carton, direct from the winery via the website www.offtrackwines.com.au, delivered to Australian addresses.

Alternatively, if you’re on the road you can buy them at the Craddock Hotel, Transcontinental Hotel Oodnadatta, Mungerannie Roadhouse, Innamincka Hotel, Mt Dare Hotel, Larrimah Hotel, Berry Springs Tavern, Bark Hut Inn and Birdsville Hotel. You cannot find them in city-slicker liquor stores – at least not for a while.

 

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