Wine review: The Climber Unoaked California Chardonnay in a pouch

Once, at an outdoor concert, my corkscrew went missing. While my friends watched with horror, I banged the wine bottle’s butt flat against a tree until it spat out its cork (yes, it works, see this video). While it’s not the best solution to opening a bottle, desperately thirsty times created a need.

With screwcaps becoming more prevalent (at least for whites and rosés), corks are losing marketshare and there’s more competition on the way — a new packaging for the hikers, campers and picnickers who don’t want to lug a heavy bottle up a mountain or down a trail. Indeed, wine for hiking is difficult to find.

Enter the ever so portable pouch. Part jumbo juicebox, part boxed wine, the pouch houses 2 bottles of wine with 90% less waste than glass. And… it’s quite drinkable. Even tasty. What’s more… it’s affordable and 1% of sales go towards Trees for the Future organization.

Clif Family Wines, the folks behind Clif Bar, produces the Climber (I reviewed their Sauv Blanc recently), so it makes sense they would create packaging appropriate for camping… or tailgating… or hanging out by the pool.

Their unoaked Chardonnay is non-vintage dated, meaning all the wine wasn’t produced during one year. This allows them some flexibility in sourcing the juice for the wine. And the unoaked-ness allows them flexibility in pricing since oak = more cost. But you don’t miss it. This wine is utterly drinkable and refreshing, with peaches, green apple and minerals — all signs of Chardonnay without a heavy taint of oak (read my post about the fortunate rise of unoaked Chardonnay). And it stays fresh for up to one month after opening. Great value from a humble, pouched wine destined for adventures and at this rate, I might even be able to ditch the cumbersome corkscrew forever.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Price: $17
Occasion: Tasted at the speed tasting at the Wine Blogger’s Conference.
Availability: Available currently at big box wine stores in FL, WA, CA, OR or online

P.S. I also tried the Cabernet Sauvignon and, although it wasn’t as solid as the Chard, it was still an easy, everyday drinking wine for barbecue. A bit too sweet for my taste but rich with black fruit and mild tannins.



  1. Thanks for the video on opening a bottle of wine using a tree! I’m sure I will have to resort to using this technique at some point…

  2. Haha the video made me giggle, thanks for sharing that! Hm, the pouch is quite interesting but still not too convinced. I don’t mind trying it though..

  3. Love this wine got it at 99cent only for $3 what a deal got bought the whole bunch.


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