If you are mourning the end of summer because it means your days (and nights) of camping with wine are over, you’re not alone. But no need to be sad – or to wait any longer to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. A winter bonfire, and your favorite Natura wines, offer just the right way to stay toasty.
Survey your surroundings. A bonfire needn’t be big – and your municipal fire authority may frown on them. In any case, if you haven’t the space or the permit for a big fire, keep it contained in a fire ring. These are decorative and useful all year round.
You’ll need seating, and blanket-covered hay bales are a rustic-chic option. If you’re fresh out of hay, use lawn chairs – but layer on the blankets. If you have trees, fencing, or porch rails nearby, try stringing fairy lights to add a whimsical touch.
Now, supplies. Have plenty of firewood, kindling (newspaper is great), and matches on hand – your party will fizzle if you can’t conjure up warm flames. You’ll also need containers for drinks. Since you’re outdoors, a simple bucket, basket, or cooler will do – and you can skip the ice.
As with any party, it’s all about the food and drinks. Banish the chill by making a big crock pot of thick, savory beef stew. Along with the fresh vegetables and tender meat, add a dash (and by a “dash” we mean a cup or two) of a red like Pinot Noir for an incredibly hearty and indulgent twist. Serve with Carmenere, which will enhance the herbs, spices, and vegetables of the stew. See how many of your guests sneak back inside for seconds. And thirds.
If you have a cast iron pot, use your fire to make a fondue with gouda, Gruyere, and a dry Chardonnay. Dip bread, vegetables, smoked meats, apple chunks, and pickles (trust us, do it!) into the gooey goodness.
When you have a few bottles of Natura wines chilling, even fire-roasted hotdogs and s’mores taste divine. Don’t let cool weather stop you from enjoying the outdoors.